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Rock Wall Q's & A's

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Rock retaining wall

Our home is in western NYS with heavy winters. We have a rock retaining wall in our front yard that has fallen to pieces. What would be the most effective footer treatment and re-assembly method to obtain the best looking and most lasting results?

There are two basic types of retaining walls wet (bonded with mortar) and dry (without mortar). The dry wall can be built without going down to the frost line because the stones will move with the rise and fall of the earth they are holding back. To build this type dig a trench about 6" deep at the back of this install a continuous drain surrounded by gravel and begin your wall with the biggest stones.

Walls of this kind more than 2' high require a slope or batter toward the earth they are holding back of 2" per foot of height. The wet wall must have a footing below the frost line and weep holes or ropes installed to allow moisture to escape. Dig below the frost line and lay block up to grade start with a block wide enough to allow for the set back needed for the veneer of brick or stone above grade. This type of wall also requires drainage at grade and a cap or coping on top. There are also special retaining wall block made of concrete that can be purchased that anchor or lock together some with pins some by their shape. These walls are of the dry type and do not need footings they can be painted or ordered already colored. Check your local yellow pages under concrete blocks or concrete shapes for a supplier Keystone is the main one here.

 

Rock wall

I'm planning on putting lime stone on my retaining wall. Could you please give me some instructions on how to go about it?

If what you are putting on is cut limestone (polished on one or more sides)it can be set on nylon shims and then grouted or caulked. Usually it is held to the wall by stainless anchors in the joints. Nail these to your backup material with drill in anchors or expanding bolts. Hope this helps get you started.

Old Stone Walls

I just happen to find this site while looking for HELP in regards to my basement walls. My wife and I are in somewhat of a panic. Three years ago we bought a large two and a half story home in Central Wisconsin. The house is over 100 years old. We have spent over 150 thousand dollars on repairing and fixing the old place up. We thought we were finally finished putting money into the house and then this morning I had a problem with my sump pump. While trying to fix it I stuck the hose outside and turned on the pump. The water ran right back into the basement through the old stone walls as fast as it was pumped outside! These walls are all made of just sand and rock. There doesn't seem to be much cement. Is there a way to have "NEW" cement walls put in our basement? If so, is it very expensive? and who would a person call to have this done? I'm beginning to think we bought the money pit! Any info would be very much appreciated. We're thinking if we don't do something our house will eventually fall in!

Nah... your house stood this long right? Those old stone foundations may let water in, but that doesn't mean it is ready to fall in.

To solve the water problem, make sure the sump pump discharges far away from the house. Make sure you direct all roof gutter far from the house, and keep the sump pump working. But to answer your question.. yes, you can support your house, remove the foundation and pour a new one and then lower the house onto the new foundation. I have helped an ambitious friend with a project like this once. Check for contractors in your area that do foundation work. You may have to call around a bit, but it is not that rare an operation.
But... I would check first.. your present foundation may be stable enough as is.


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