Wonky Wall

Hi
An outdoor garden wall, 8' high, supporting a heavy load on one side, (part of it is a retaining wall) is leaning over, the top has moved by itro 3 inches. The wall has also split, further along, from top to bottom, with each side of the split out of line with the other. And there is a horizontal crack running much the length of the wall, about half way up, above the higher ground level.
vertical split X <- at this point top leaning by itro 3" | : | |....:.............| <- horiz crack running most of wall length |____:_____________| <- level of ground on other side | : | |____:_____________| <- level of ground this side
This is a mostly single block thick partly-retaining wall, with a couple of piers. I'm not famililar with construction of such walls, but my gut feeling is it looks a bit lightweight.
It has been suggested that a good sound repair would be simply replacing the blocks that have broken, and leaving the thing leaning and cracked. I gotta say, I dont think so. The cause of the problem is foundation movement, the cause of which is hopefully solved.
What's you take on this? I'll tell you who said what when I get some more feedback, I'd appreciate an initial impression on the propsed repair first.
Thanks, NT
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It's odd that the wall, from what you say, appears sound from the bottom up to above the highest soil level. However, is it the case that the part under the ground has shifted away from the load taking the bottom of the above-ground part with it so that it has cracked because the piers are holding the above-ground part back? This would be indicated if the crack is wider on the side of the wall away from the high soil than on the other.
It sounds as though it has 'bent' as described above. One way of stopping further movement is to put 1" iron rods, say 10" long, into the soil just below soil height at right angles to the wall and through it, with a nut welded on the end and a 9" 'washer' between the nut and the wall, the other end going through a 'dead man' of some sort embedded in the soil. The theory is that if the wall is then to move out further it will have to take the dead man with it, which if the latter is big enough it won't be able to do.
The alternative to this is to rebuild the wall with adequate foundations and of sufficient depth so that any leaning is resisted by the 'low soil' side and with sufficient strength, by being say two bricks thick and with reinforcing bars set vertically in the middle to prevent it cracking. But method A above is relatively quick, cheap and easy in comparison and might well work in the long term if you could live with the crack..
Rob Graham
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Hi Rob.

Well its not sound there, in 2 respects. First its leaning over, piers and all, from top to bottom. Second the vertical split is full height, top to bottom.

yup.
The piers are moving with the rest of the wall, and are on the wonk top to bottom.

With the horizontal crack this is so, so the bottom half is leaning at a bit more of an angle than the top half. Presumably this is because the wall is restrained at one end by another wall.

right. they haven't proposed anything like that.

Right. So I guess you also think the method that has been proposed is inadequate. Thats the first thing I need to establish, that the proposal is no good, then of course knowing what actions would work is the next thing.
Thanks for your input Rob, appreciated.
Regards, NT
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A 3" rotation in 8' is excessive - even more so for a single skin block wall. If it is standard blocks, ie 9" deep then there are too few mortar joints to accomodate the movement that a brick wall could.
The wall should be rebuilt. Its not worth messing about with trying to repair or strap it. You will never be able to improve the wall by piecing new blocks into it - it will crack again. And a 3" rotation from vertical may mean it is about to topple anyway
Your new wall should have adequately deep and wide foundations and if it is supporting a load like you say, then it should be thickened to 9" (215mm) thick to prevent any future vertical buckling.
dg

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Thanks dg, I'm inclined to agree 100%. The wall is nearly all 4" blocks btw, only a very small amount of it is 9"
Thanks, NT
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They want to replace the broken blocks where the vertical split is, and leave it at that, not even repoint the horizontal split. I think they must be mistaken on this one.

Just checked... nope, I'm gnot.

no, its all hard surfaced. No provision for drainage at all - at least nothing visible on the surface, so I asssume none.

I didnt know. Theres nothing like that. Thanks for the tip.

AIUI the claim covers the cause of the wall problem, and if its in such a bad state as a result they should rebuild it. However, should and will are 2 different things.
I'm not sure if thats what you mean tho - perhaps if your question were clearer I'd be more sure what you meant.

the council.

no. definitely not, no way.
Thanks, NT
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