When you think about retaining walls, maybe they seem like a simple concept. Perhaps even a project you could tackle on your own. However, many factors need to be considered when you build or replace them. Without the appropriate steel placement, waterproofing and drainage system, its only matter of time before issues will appear.
This client came to us for the replacement of existing retaining walls. The walls were showing signs of age, which put them at an increased risk of failing. In addition, the drainage system was inadequate, and the driveway deteriorating. Depending on the circumstances, it is best to replace these items at the same time because they are all interconnected. This will save you tearing up perfectly good concrete when you go to replace the other portion later, saving you money and headaches in the long run.
The client hired Schaefer Engineering to design the replacement. Licensed structural engineers are required by code to design any retaining walls exceeding four (4) feet in height.
Using the designs created by Schaefer Engineering; first we removed the existing concrete and excavated the area where the walls would go. Then we installed our steel to create the internal structure of the footer and wall. Then we poured our new footer. The depth and width of the footer as well as steel placement are all calculated by the engineer and are based on the pressure the walls must be able to withstand.
After forming and pouring our retaining walls; we used drainage board as well as gravel and soil to waterproof the wall and properly direct all excess water into a four (4) inch diameter Weep hole centered above the existing drain. We also installed a new trench drain, which we tied into the existing drainage system. Drainage is a great example of one of the considerations that engineers must take into account in order to create long-term solutions.
The client opted to replace the deteriorating wood on either side of this garage door with eight (8) inch Concrete Masonry Units (Concrete Block). This was an optional component of the project that the client moved forward with. While not required, this aspect helped to seamlessly blend with surrounding concrete adding aesthetic value as well as providing structural stability that will last. Using designs created by a licensed structural engineer, Hughes Construction provided the homeowner with long lasting solution while also meeting their immediate home improvement goals.
Finally, we poured and finished the new driveway and applied seed and straw to the area of the embankment we had excavated.
Do you have a wall that you have questions or concerns about? We invite you to reach out to our office. Our staff will review your project and be in contact to discuss within one to two business days.