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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,

I am a general contractor / carpenter in Oregon. I am going to build a green house for a friend of mine. Although I know a couple of masons around here, I thought it would be cool to see what the CT guys had to say.

My questions is this:

My friend had someone do the building pad, footings, and a small split face block retaining wall for the greenhouse already. The block looks like it was not fully grouted at all seams, just in some random corners. Then filled with concrete in all bays. I don't know if there is rebar, and the waterproof membrane is a mess and is pretty much doing the opposite of what it is supposed to do. So imediatley I feel like this is a hack job.

Should the seams always be grouted? OR is this OK for this application? It is probably a 10'x20 building with one of the 20' walls the retaining wall against the dirt.

This guy is a friend, and I was going to build the greenhouse T&M. My gut tells me the block is a hack job, but his buddy I don't know installed it. I want to make sure he didn't get screwed. What should I tell my the guy?

Thanks ahead of time.

Dan
 

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Offhand, I'd have to agree with CJ.....by seams, you mean joints? No mortar?And I'm guessing this is split face block and not a mortarless retaining wall system? When you say, "the waterproof membrane is doing the opposite of what it was intended for"....??? I'm guessing that a) there is a waterproof membrane, and b) water is coming through? I just need a little more clarification before I call someone who I've never met a hack...But, like CJ said, as a greenhouse, it may be perfectly acceptable....they are one of the few buildings that moisture is not a real enemy....
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Offhand, I'd have to agree with CJ.....by seams, you mean joints? No mortar?And I'm guessing this is split face block and not a mortarless retaining wall system? When you say, "the waterproof membrane is doing the opposite of what it was intended for"....??? I'm guessing that a) there is a waterproof membrane, and b) water is coming through? I just need a little more clarification before I call someone who I've never met a hack...But, like CJ said, as a greenhouse, it may be perfectly acceptable....they are one of the few buildings that moisture is not a real enemy....

Rockmonster,

Yes I mean joints. No mortar, except for a little hear and there. You are correct that it is split faced CMU block. the split face is facing the interior of the greenhouse. The bitchathane is about 12" away from the top of the wall, peeling away, and there is dirt and water behind it already. Looks like they installed it, then covered the whole top exposed edge in dirt!?!? I have not seen any water come through yet, but we have recently got a lot of rain, so we will see....

I understand that the wall doesn't HAVE to be perfect for a greenhouse. I am a realistic guy.

At this point I think I have to at least tell him I think it is not a very well done job. Otherwise I will go crazy. But I am curious if anyone thinks it is worth having it redone? I hate to see someone get screwed. Is there any concern for the future of this? This is the house my friends will be in forever. If there is no rebar, I could almost see knocking it down. It's only 4' tall and about 20+ fee long.

I am probably worrying too much about it. But it's great to hear the feedback.

Thanks

Dan
 

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Yeah, pictures will help. But I do think with the info at hand, tearing it down is maybe a bit drastic. You said, I think, that the cells were filled with grout/concrete, so that helps. Maybe there is some rebar, that also would be good. It is, what, 4' high, and I'm guessing glass from there, so it shouldn't be life threatening. How big a deal is it to remove the backfill? Then you could alleviate the water infiltration issue with maybe some FSB, Thoroseal, etc. You could also add a couple of pilaster/buttresses on that wall for peace of mind. Those generally go on the inside, but you could add them to the outside as deadmen, keeping them below grade. I am perplexed by the lack of joints, one usually learns that you want full joints on day one of your apprenticeship. But hey, maybe he only charged a beer and a sandwich...keep us posted, thanks
 

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if there's a waterproof barrier, it obviously was meant to be waterproof. So, they're definately not weepholes. Even if you're building a block tomb for your mother-in law, you should still make sure all joints are filled solid
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for all the good advice.

I will try and post some pics soon. The wall probably isn't worth tearing down. It is full of concrete and stable enough for the greenhouse. It is good to hear your opinions though. Now I can at least let my friend know NOT to hire this guy again, and know myself that this is hack work.

It is tough telling your HO / friends that they paid their hard earned money for D- or C work.

The water barrier does need attention. Let me know what you think after some pictures. Well I can already tell you you will think........That's crap, replace or fix......


Look for pics over the weekend.
 
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