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Thread: Retaining Wall

  1. #1
    R Chorey's Avatar
    R Chorey Guest

    Default Retaining Wall

    Have this home, it was built in 2006. It is a zero lot line home. There is a retaining wall that has not been filled. I have not seen this before. I think the retaining wall is built out of block that has been covered with a cementatious type product. My question is shouldn't the fill be gravel for proper drainage? There are a few cracks, should I call out for a structural engineer? And shouldn't the exterior wall itself be coated with something so that water can not eventually get through?

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: Retaining Wall

    Retaining walls don't matter if they are waterproofed or not.

    However, that looks like a foundation wall and part of the garage wall, and it does matter if they are waterproofed or not.

    If that foundation wall/part of the garage wall is not designed to be backfilled against, then no waterproofing is required, however, when backfill is to be placed against the wall (as it appears to be in that photo), then, yes, waterproofing is required.

    Not only that, but the wall itself needs to be designed to withstand the additional pressures of both the soil and hydrostatic pressure of water in the soil.

    Thus, the question becomes, *is that intended to be backfilled* to the height of that bottom screed for the stucco? Along with *is that bottom screed a weep screed (if the wall above the screed is a frame wall)?

    Based on that is a garage door on the left of the photo, 'it looks like' the grade level should be down level with the garage floor level, which only raises more questions.

    Not really enough information to address this properly.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  3. #3
    R Chorey's Avatar
    R Chorey Guest

    Default Re: Retaining Wall

    Hi Jerry,

    I guess it isn't a retaining wall it is a foundation wall that goes across the home from front (garage) to the rear (dining area/kitchen with a laundry room inbeteen). So it should be water proofed. What typically is used? I have not run across this before. Maybe I should call for a structural engineer as this is beyond my expertise.

    Other homes in this area have been constructed this way but the landscaping has been done to the weep screed and it is not possible to view these walls on other homes from the street.

    I think this wall has been built with block because of the crack I see towards the rear of the home. I don't know if it was built with re-enforcing steel or not.

    My worry is when the lot next door starts to be built on and they fill in next to this home. Is there a potential for damage or water entry.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    26,248

    Default Re: Retaining Wall

    Based on a visual of that stone faced wall in the background, are you sure they are going to fill to that stucco stop?

    Regardless, you should bring it to their attention, at least something like:

    Side of garage wall has not been stuccoed all the way down to the footing, this makes it appear as though the soil in the lot to the right will be backfilled against this right side garage wall, in which case this wall is required to be waterproofed, and it is not.

    Also, there is cracking in that wall, cracking indicates movement and movement issues should be addressed by a structural engineer to design appropriate repairs. This needs to be done before waterproofing that wall and before backfilling of soil against that wall.

    Have builder advise regarding probable backfilling, followed by a structural engineer, then waterproofing/finish stuccoing wall depending on if backfilled against (requires waterproofing) or not (requires being stuccoed to footing or covered with some other type of wall cladding). This should not be left as it currently is, regardless of whether or not this wall is backfilled against.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  5. #5
    R Chorey's Avatar
    R Chorey Guest

    Default Re: Retaining Wall

    Thanks for your thoughts Jerry.

    I have talked with another inspector here in town that I know and who does mold testing and many of these homes in this area, which are built similarly, have had mold issues. The landscaping gets put up against the walls then when we have our heavy rain storms, the water comes in over the foundation wall and into the homes about 3-4 foot above the floor.

    He told me that one home had to have all the drywall removed to include the tiled shower and there was mold throughout the house on the side where a similar wall had been built.

    A structural engineer should look at the crack, I have always been told cracks are caused by movement of some sort.

    I think they were going to water proof it today,but that is not my problem. I have the pictures of the cracks, and knowing the type of work done here they may just apply a coat of Thomsons water seal. Ha Ha

    Thanks again for your thoughts.


  6. #6
    R Chorey's Avatar
    R Chorey Guest

    Default Re: Retaining Wall

    Found out what the builder is going to do. Fill cracks with concrete and water proof and then push the soil/sand back up against house. Well I have the pictures and will recommend a structural engineer evaluate.

    Listing agent told buyers agent that it is scheduled for Saturday and she doesn't care if house gets sold or not.

    Just gotta love realtors.


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