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SDF Construction
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I am thinkning of building a Railroad Tie Retaining Wall to level off my sloping yard. The largest section of the wall will be aprx: 80' long and 5'-6' high. My question is>>> Does anybody have any knowledge of using I-beams driven vertically in the ground and slipping the ties between the beams? Is there a particular name for this type of wall? Would it be worth it cost-wise for retaining that much earth or should I go with the standard stacking system using rebar and nails? I don't build a lot of walls so any input would be great. TY, Shaun

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I doubt it, but is there a block wall system that would be cheaper than tie wall system. No labor cost, I will be doing this myself with friends\family.
 

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I am thinkning of building a Railroad Tie Retaining Wall to level off my sloping yard. The largest section of the wall will be aprx: 80' long and 5'-6' high. My question is>>> Does anybody have any knowledge of using I-beams driven vertically in the ground and slipping the ties between the beams? Is there a particular name for this type of wall? Would it be worth it cost-wise for retaining that much earth or should I go with the standard stacking system using rebar and nails? I don't build a lot of walls so any input would be great. TY, Shaun

P.S.
I doubt it, but is there a block wall system that would be cheaper than tie wall system. No labor cost, I will be doing this myself with friends\family.
Are you really a General Contractor? Lot of things make me think not, biggest one is that you have friends. :laughing: Seriously though try a diy forum.
 

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Wood, of any kind, makes for a sorry retaining wall. I won't build one. Use an engineered concrete block and build it to ICPI standards. You'll enjoy it for many years to come.
 

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I hope you know that the code will not allow a retaining wall higher that 4 ft. unless it is engineered. If you are a contractor you should have known that.
 

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SDF Construction
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks people, I know what deadmen are. Anyways, I am a contractor, but I NEVER build walls. Thats why I don't know what I'm talking about here. Tough crowd...
 

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Terracing might be more practical. I would be worried about ties stacked that high. Much would depend on soil. I would seriously look to block. Even if you laid it yourself and it looked like crap. Sometimes something is better than nothing. That brings us back to the ties. They are cheaper where the cost of block can be prohibitive. The I beam method sounds workable if footers were used, but unless you really like the look of ties the price would go up. I-beams aren't cheap.
If you're going by code, a tie wall would have to be engineered, where many jurisdictions have engineered details readily available for masonry walls. Often online. Orange county block Orco has stamped details online as well that many cities will accept here.
Ties won't last.
 

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I’m surprised you can build one this high without an engineer. In my area this would require an engineered set of drawings and county permits.
 

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yea the old used ties rot pretty fast and if you use new ones that need to be cut watch out the creosote will burn like fire on your skin for hours
 

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Here is the problem with RR tie walls. So many claim they are cheaper to build than SRW but in reality they are not if you build them properly. Most RR tie walls are slapped up with a few dead men, no drain field, no filter fabric, etc that are required for SRW.

If you add all the items together and get decent rates for your block, the RR ties walls are only a few bucks less. Add in the fact that RR ties look like crap no matter who builds them and it is a no brainer.

If you build this project with one wall then it will need to be engineered. However, most city/counties will allow a tiered wall if the tiers are far enough apart. The standard rule is the upper wall most be offset from the lower wall by twice the height of the lower wall. If this distance can be achieved then the walls will act independently and therefore do not need engineered design.

Good luck as these blocks are heavy and back-breaking!
 

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Like others said any wall over 4 ft high has to be engineered. RR tie walls are cheaper to install but they wont last very long, no matter what you do. I always try to sway customers towards an srw block wall (btw retaining walls are SRW, ICPI is interlocking concrete pavers) anyway goodluck with your project, its a big undertaking for a homeowner
 

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Dear SDFConstruction

Hello SDF,

I do not want to bash on you like some people here :p but in my most honest opinion.... hire somebody.

6' tall retaining walls are no joke. If you screw up the drainage, levels, set backs or anything like that it will be a pain in the ass to fix it down the road (not to mention if it collapses).

At the very least, you need a permit for that wall (not to mention that you might need engineered plans like we do in MD, or fencing on top). So I would hire somebody to either build it, or help you.

And no, any gravity wall will be more expensive material wise than timbers. They look better though...

Here is a 5'-5" tall wall we did where we required permit, plans, fencing and a 1.5' of gravel back up behind the wall....


(click to make bigger)

Search a little more on the internet so you do not put on your mouth more than you can chew....

Let me know if you want more specific help.
 

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I know it looks like you are going with block now. I live in N Wi frost and have done a dozen R/R tie walls look good 1st. and 2nd. year after that they start to lean and tip the dead men start to move dirt behide the wall starts to settle go with concrete.
 
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