Railroad Cross Tie Retaining Wall

Discussion in 'Garden Pond Talk' started by Big Lou, Sep 23, 2012.

  1. Big Lou

    Big Lou

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    Need to ask questions about repairing, adding to small existing cross tie retaining wall.
     
    Big Lou, Sep 23, 2012
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  2. Big Lou

    sissy sissy

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    here in VA like some other states they are banning them because of health hazards .Some mortgage companies will not even give the loan after reading an inspection report stating they are on the property .My neighbor had to remove there 's after inspection report red flagged them .They had no choice or sale of the home would fall through.Some states they are even don't allow them to be sold any more .Funny thing is they still sell them here and people still buy them not knowing .
     
    sissy, Sep 23, 2012
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  3. Big Lou

    Fishylove

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    Same here sissy. They aren't band here tho
     
    Fishylove, Sep 23, 2012
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  4. Big Lou

    sissy sissy

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    Funny thing they only band them in certain areas and not fair to people who do not know but find out when they put there home up for sale or there home owners insurance company checks out the house and then get told to remove them or they will not renew there policy and they red flag them to other insurers .My neighbor paid a thousand dollars to take them out and then had to pay a 5 thousand dollar disposal fee .Hazardous waste material .They had put them up 2 years before to protect the hillside from sliding down near the basement door . :sad: Talk about unhappy people and yet they bought them locally and they still sell them .
     
    sissy, Sep 23, 2012
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  5. Big Lou

    Fishylove

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    Well that sucks! Someone drop the ball there huh?
     
    Fishylove, Sep 23, 2012
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  6. Big Lou

    sissy sissy

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    maybe the places who sell them own the disposal company and are making money on both ends of that .You never know ,they charge you to dispose of them and resell them .
     
    sissy, Sep 24, 2012
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  7. Big Lou

    Big Lou

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    Due to our neighbohood's topography cross tie retaining walls are a common feature due to the low cost of cross ties as compared for man made retaing wall blocks. Also our neighhood was built before man made retaining wall blocks were widely available.
     
    Big Lou, Sep 24, 2012
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  8. Big Lou

    Fishylove

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    Sounds like a conspiracy
     
    Fishylove, Sep 24, 2012
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  9. Big Lou

    Big Lou

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    I'll go ahead and post my situation just in case some can provide suggestions. Thanks to you all.

    _____________________

    Our cross tie retaining wall needs a bit of repair plus the addition of another row to increase the walls height.

    INFORMATION:

    1. Our approximate 4' high (current) x 15' long cross tie retretaining wall is located on the back north corner of our 60' wide x 100' long city residential lot. The length of the retaining wall lessens from top to bottom. Our cross tie retaining wall is approximately 19 years old (built when our home was built). The wall is constructed so that ground water from our left rear yard filters through the retaining wall onto the neighbors property. It was built per city code.

    2. This vertical non-offset retaining wall is on the property line between our lot and that of our rear neighbor. Our lot sits atop a hill. The back yard slops down to the same level as the neighbor except for the portion along the retaining wall. The neighbors house is approximately 5' below grade of both the street and our current retaining wall. The neighbors front lawn slopes down to their house. The neighbor has a french drain running alongside and past our retaining wall in their side yard.

    3. We need to add an additional top row because of ground height changes to the section of our yard situated along our retaining wall.

    PPROBLEMS:

    1. Our retaining wall has a slight outward lean.

    2. Approximately 6" of one deadhead has deteriorated thus leaving a crevice in the wall.

    3. We are working with a shoe string budget so the retaining wall cannot be torn down and replaced with a new one.

    ________________

    QUESTIONS:

    1. Is there any way to correct the lean or brace the wall to keep it from leaning futher out of level?

    2. Am I correct in assuming that if there is no way to correct the lean then the new additional top row should be shimmed to level?

    3. What should we use to fill the open crevice in front of the deteriorated deadhead end?

    ________________

    Thank you in advance for your help.
     
    Big Lou, Sep 24, 2012
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  10. Big Lou

    Mmathis TurtleMommy

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    I didn't know that about cross-ties [that some places ban their use in landscapes]. Never planned to use them, but you WOULD think there would be better consumer info out there. There are just some things you don't think about asking, and I wouldn't have thought to check on whether cross-ties were legal or not, especially if they are sold in my area.
     
    Mmathis, Sep 24, 2012
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  11. Big Lou

    Big Lou

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    Ours is in an isolated area so the look is not that important to us. Used railroad cross ties are low in cost and have a life span of about 20 to 30 years.
     
    Big Lou, Sep 24, 2012
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  12. Big Lou

    Mmathis TurtleMommy

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    Where in "North Texas" are you located? Is that considered the panhandle area? I'm in NW LA, which is more-or-less like being in East TX.

    Sure wish I could offer advice, but I'm construction-challenged.
     
    Mmathis, Sep 24, 2012
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  13. Big Lou

    Big Lou

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    We live in a suburb of Dallas. Here is a good explanation of the Texas panhandle. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_Panhandle

    Btw, my wife is from St. Landry Parish in SW Louisiana. I absolutely love the French Acadiana region. We lived there for the first 15 years of our marriage. In October we will celebrate our 33rd anniversary.
     
    Big Lou, Sep 24, 2012
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  14. Big Lou

    Big Lou

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    I meant "Ours" as in "Our retaining wall".
     
    Big Lou, Sep 24, 2012
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  15. Big Lou

    Mmathis TurtleMommy

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    OK, thanks! I didn't realize Dallas was considered "north." Duh! When we tell folks where we're located [or do "searches" via zip code], it's actually more accurate for us to say that Shreveport, "is about 3 hrs. east of Dallas," as that's closer & more direct than New Orleans or Baton Rouge.

    Congrats on 33 years! Hubby and I will be @ 24 yrs. in April. It seems like just yesterday :)
     
    Mmathis, Sep 24, 2012
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  16. Big Lou

    Big Lou

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    Big Lou, Sep 24, 2012
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  17. Big Lou

    HARO Pondcrastinator

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    Lou; if I were you I'd be asking those questions of the local by-law enforcer. Laws are different in different areas. I've seen the rotted ends you speak of filled in with concrete, while in other areas any wood-to-concrete application is banned. As for correcting the lean in the wall, there is only one solution; dig out behind the wall, straighten it with new "sleepers", (deadhead?) and replace the soil behind it. Easier said than done!!
    John
     
    HARO, Sep 24, 2012
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  18. Big Lou

    Big Lou

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    Thanks John. A sloping yard, garden pond, flower beds and below grade neighboring property adds to the complexity. One lesson I learned was that years ago I should have listened to my wife and NOT planted trumpet vine. That &$);/! vine is to blame for our leaning fence problem. That's another story for another time. :)
     
    Big Lou, Sep 24, 2012
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  19. Big Lou

    Craig58

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    Trumpet vine! Yeah., that's a very invasive plant. Took us several years, (maybe 5), to actually get rid of the one plant we had put in. Sucker kept on coming back.

    The wall problem you have seems pretty serious and with a shoestring budget it's even tougher to solve.

    A shovel and a strong back is probably going to be the best solution. Any chance of renting a small excavator for a weekend? Maybe hire a few hardy under the table day laborers? Most towns have a place you can drive by and pick up a few workers on any given morning.

    Then just replace the whole thing.

    If that isn't in the budget you could try this.

    The only thing I can think of is to get some steel galvanized pipe like the black gas pipe. You can usually purchase 4' precut sections with threads on each end for end caps. Get some 5x5 or 6x6 steel plates with holes in them to accommodate the pipe. You might have to get a metal shop to cut and drill the plates for you. Get a post hole digger and drill a series of post holes about 3-4 ft behind the wall, about 2 - 3 ft apart. Drill a hole in the front of the ties, even with the post holes. Take a pipe and insert into hole, slip on plate, screw on end cap. Now sledge hammer the pipes through the hole in the ties and into the hillside until the plate is flush against the tie. You want to measure the holes so that the pipe ends on the backside of the posthole. Put on the end caps once they are in the post hole. You should maybe have 2-3 pipes come through each post hole. Now fill the holes up with concrete. On the tie side you would have a plate and the end cap on it. In the post hole, a solid post of concrete that the pipe passes into with the end cap that prevents it from sliding out of the concrete post.

    This idea isn't much different then they use on old row homes here in Philly. When a middle home collapses or burns, and the house is torn down, they often run rods through the joist spaces and to the outside of the house where large plates and bolt are bolted on. This helps keep the walls from falling down since the wall wasn't originally an exterior wall.

    Also see this link for suggestions: http://www.ehow.com/how_7536569_retain-walls-made-railroad-ties.html

    You can also maybe reinforce the front wall by drilling a vertical hole down through the ties and pounding a some long rebar down through the ties and a foot or so into the ground. Do this every 2ft or so along the wall.

    I don't think there is a good solution though for the rotted piece of wood. If its only 6" you might be able to reinforce the wall first, into hill, then cut out the rotted piece. Use a small bottle jack in the space to lift the tie(s) above it, (cut a piece of oak to place between the jack and tie so the jack doesn't just punch through the tie), lift the tie just a tad, enough to put in a small metal shim. Custom cut a new piece and slip it in. Remove the shims. drill a hole through the ties above and through the new piece. Drop in some rebar. Cut and seal the hole with some epoxy or plastic wood.

    This might not be a perfect solution, but it will probably last as long as the ties will since it sounds like they already have quite a few years on them.

    Craig
     
    Craig58, Sep 25, 2012
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  20. Big Lou

    Craig58

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    After looking at some links, you might want to use 8ft pipe. Many sites suggest the segments into the hillside should go back 1.5 times the height of the wall. So for a 5' wall, that would be 7.5 ft.

    Craig
     
    Craig58, Sep 25, 2012
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