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Default Retaining Wall

I have a property on a corner lot which has a perimeter on two
street-facing sides of more than 300 feet. The lawns on these two
sides slope down to sidewalks on a steep enough angle that it makes
lawn mowing and erosion a problem.

I would like to build a small retaining wall, and I am looking for
suggestions on how to keep the cost reasonable. One contractor gave me
a price of $40K for a 3 foot wall using natural field stone. I'm
hoping I can get something attractive for less. I don't particularly
like the look of manufactures blocks. I have seen some decorative
poured concrete which looks pretty good driving by at 25 mph.

Any ideas/suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thanks....


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Default Retaining Wall

To a fair approximation, you have about 1,000 sq ft of "wall" you want
built. Your contractor has quoted a price of about $40/sq ft.

That seems a bit on the high side.

First step is to find the cost drivers. Possibilities a 1)
contractor greed in his hoping you don't get other bids; 2) cost of
materials; 3) basic cost of installation.

Frankly, I would take a second look at those stackable concrete blocks.
The material cost for the wall itself (the foundation/base would be extra)
would be on the order of $4k. They "come in colors" and you can mix and
match to create either a patern or a "random" look.



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Default Retaining Wall

A concrete block wall should be less expensive than a concrete wall.
You could put a stone or stucco veneer on the concrete wall to make it
look better. Both concrete and a concrete block wall needs a concrete
footing. The concrete block wall will need to be reinforced with
rebar and those cells filled with grout (a fluid concrete).

The segmental block wall (the manufactured look you don't like) is
probably going to be the cheapest. It doesn't require a concrete
footing, but only a 4" to 6" base of crush and run stone. There are
companies out there that make (in my opinion) a very attractive
segmental block... some of the blocks are tumble to look like natural
stone. A 3 foot tall wall shouldn't require geogrid reinforcement,
but segmental block walls are proprietary products that have there own
earth reinforcing requirements.

No matter what type of wall you decide to build, make sure you provide
adequate drainage behind the wall (ie. layer of #57 stone behind wall
with french drain, or weep holes, etc.). Also, make sure the backfill
is compacted. Uncompacted fill with rain can can overload a wall and
make it fall...I have seen this before.
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Default Retaining Wall

John Gilmer wrote:
To a fair approximation, you have about 1,000 sq ft of "wall" you want
built. Your contractor has quoted a price of about $40/sq ft.

That seems a bit on the high side.

First step is to find the cost drivers. Possibilities a 1)
contractor greed in his hoping you don't get other bids; 2) cost of
materials; 3) basic cost of installation.

....

The likely problem here is 2) -- a real fieldstone is likely pretty
pricey compared to some options.

One thing you might look at is the "fake stone" veneer--there is some of
it now that looks just pretty doggone good and is a significant cost
factor cheaper and easier to install as well which will translate into
lower labor costs.

Again, a block wall w/ the veneer should be cheaper, too...

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Default Retaining Wall


"matt.inked" wrote in message
...
A concrete block wall should be less expensive than a concrete wall.
You could put a stone or stucco veneer on the concrete wall to make it
look better. Both concrete and a concrete block wall needs a concrete
footing. The concrete block wall will need to be reinforced with
rebar and those cells filled with grout (a fluid concrete).

The segmental block wall (the manufactured look you don't like) is
probably going to be the cheapest. It doesn't require a concrete
footing, but only a 4" to 6" base of crush and run stone. There are
companies out there that make (in my opinion) a very attractive
segmental block... some of the blocks are tumble to look like natural
stone. A 3 foot tall wall shouldn't require geogrid reinforcement,
but segmental block walls are proprietary products that have there own
earth reinforcing requirements.

No matter what type of wall you decide to build, make sure you provide
adequate drainage behind the wall (ie. layer of #57 stone behind wall
with french drain, or weep holes, etc.). Also, make sure the backfill
is compacted. Uncompacted fill with rain can can overload a wall and
make it fall...I have seen this before.


And separate all gravel in the stone footing and the gravel back fill from
the dirt with textile landscaping type cloth.




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Default Retaining Wall


"lanman" wrote in message

I would like to build a small retaining wall, and I am looking for
suggestions on how to keep the cost reasonable. One contractor gave me
a price of $40K for a 3 foot wall using natural field stone. I'm
hoping I can get something attractive for less. I don't particularly
like the look of manufactures blocks. I have seen some decorative
poured concrete which looks pretty good driving by at 25 mph.

Any ideas/suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thanks....


Fieldstone is by far the best looking. Alternatives are a poured concrete
or block wall with a facing of real stone or brick. As for the manufactured
block, some are better looking than others so take some time to see if there
is one you like at a reasonable price.

Comes down to aesthetics versus price. You should be able to get a fairly
good looking wall for $20k less.


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Default Retaining Wall

lanman wrote:
I have a property on a corner lot which has a perimeter on two
street-facing sides of more than 300 feet. The lawns on these two
sides slope down to sidewalks on a steep enough angle that it makes
lawn mowing and erosion a problem.

I would like to build a small retaining wall, and I am looking for
suggestions on how to keep the cost reasonable. One contractor gave me
a price of $40K for a 3 foot wall using natural field stone. I'm
hoping I can get something attractive for less. I don't particularly
like the look of manufactures blocks. I have seen some decorative
poured concrete which looks pretty good driving by at 25 mph.

Any ideas/suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thanks....


Footer
Block
Stucco (optional) colored or not
Cap
Paint (if no colored stucco)

Where I live you could get that done for about $3000 if you paint it
yourself

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Default Retaining Wall

lanman wrote:

I have a property on a corner lot which has a perimeter on two
street-facing sides of more than 300 feet. The lawns on these two
sides slope down to sidewalks on a steep enough angle that it makes
lawn mowing and erosion a problem.

I would like to build a small retaining wall, and I am looking for
suggestions on how to keep the cost reasonable. One contractor gave me
a price of $40K for a 3 foot wall using natural field stone. I'm
hoping I can get something attractive for less. I don't particularly
like the look of manufactures blocks. I have seen some decorative
poured concrete which looks pretty good driving by at 25 mph.

Any ideas/suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thanks....


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I'm puzzled.......a retaining wall, apparently, will solve the erosion
problem. What about mowing? Is
landscaping a consideration? 40K will buy a lot of plants ) How long
and steep is the slope that
is eroding? Something simple, like islands with or without some rock or
other obstacles, along with the right
plants, can slow the flow of water enough that erosion won't take
place. A good extension service likely
would offer good suggestions if you are interested. Islands would
probably cut down on mowing, too.
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Default Retaining Wall

In article ,
lanman wrote:

I have a property on a corner lot which has a perimeter on two
street-facing sides of more than 300 feet. The lawns on these two
sides slope down to sidewalks on a steep enough angle that it makes
lawn mowing and erosion a problem.

I would like to build a small retaining wall, and I am looking for
suggestions on how to keep the cost reasonable. One contractor gave me
a price of $40K for a 3 foot wall using natural field stone. I'm
hoping I can get something attractive for less. I don't particularly
like the look of manufactures blocks. I have seen some decorative
poured concrete which looks pretty good driving by at 25 mph.

Any ideas/suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thanks....



Hardscape is the most expensive part of landscaping, and a retaining
wall that actually retains things can be a big chunk of change, largely
because it will have extensive footings. The aesthetics of the finished
design are up to you, but for cost, 40k doesn't sound a bit unreasonable.

I'd get some other estimates, but make sure they're all from licensed
landscape architects. Any fool with a pickup truck can stack bricks or
even pour a concrete wall.

The intellectual part is the engineering. The expensive part is the
below grade footings. Without those, the wall will come down when the
dirt comes down. A handful of highly detailed engineering blueprints
should be available for your review before the shovel hits the dirt. (In
my area, a building permit is also required.)

Of course I'm assuming you really are asking about a retaining wall. If
you just want a decorative border that you don't have to mow beyond,
that's a different story.
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Default Retaining Wall

You will need a surveyor to layout exactly where your property ends and the
city's property starts or you could be ordered to tear it down. Some people
think the sidewalk delineates the edge of their property, it may and it may
not, you need to know. You will also need to know where underground wires,
pipes and other items that need to be located so that you don't damage them
when you dig and build.

"lanman" wrote in message
news
I have a property on a corner lot which has a perimeter on two
street-facing sides of more than 300 feet. The lawns on these two
sides slope down to sidewalks on a steep enough angle that it makes
lawn mowing and erosion a problem.

I would like to build a small retaining wall, and I am looking for
suggestions on how to keep the cost reasonable. One contractor gave me
a price of $40K for a 3 foot wall using natural field stone. I'm
hoping I can get something attractive for less. I don't particularly
like the look of manufactures blocks. I have seen some decorative
poured concrete which looks pretty good driving by at 25 mph.

Any ideas/suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thanks....


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