Question regarding retaining wall
Esther Lira Barajas
September 9, 2012 in Design Dilemma
Hi. Can anyone tell me if its possible to take down/flatten out about 6 feet of the sloped wall with the white retaining wall? Would I need an engineer? Any ideas regarding cost? Im in California. Thanks.
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Vikrant Sharma Homez
Check with a Contractor in your area and take three quotes .
September 9, 2012 at 10:50pm   
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Custom Home Planning Center
Most slopes are stable if under 45% and are planted with something with good root structure. So if you are looking to get rid of the wall all together this will tell you how far back you could go to increasing flat space in the yard. You can always build a retaining wall 6' back from the current wall. Something like the keystone system is relatively easy to install if not inexpensive. http://www.keystonewalls.com/
September 9, 2012 at 11:35pm   
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Walsh Krowka & Associates, Inc
Leave the existing retaining wall?
September 10, 2012 at 2:24pm   
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K.O.H. Construction Corporation
Yes, you can remove a 6' section and it will be expensive and probaly not cost effective. It would help if we knew why and what you are wanting. There are many ways of getting things done.
September 11, 2012 at 5:09am   
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Esther Lira Barajas
The purpose of "pushing back" the retaining wall around 6 feet would be to free up some space and give me more room for kids to run around, patio furniture and such. My plan would be to still have a retaining wall like the one currently in place or something similar.
September 11, 2012 at 10:40am   
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Walsh Krowka & Associates, Inc
It can be done but it will an expensive piece of playground. You will be paying to demolish & remove the existing wall, remove existing dirt, build new retaining wall. The new wall will have to be higher to hold in the slope. Plus, you will have to remove around three feet of dirt behind the new wall to put in the toe footing for the new retaining wall. Perhaps the foundation would not need to be as wide with the keystone system, but would suggest you research that aspect.
Best suggestion would be to consult with engineer who is familiar with both traditional retaining walls and newer keystone system.
September 11, 2012 at 11:07am     
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Esther Lira Barajas
What about not pushing back 6 feet but instead, "cutting into" to make a the area actually usable such as this picture?
September 11, 2012 at 12:42pm   
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larryhinkle
Jeff Lewis did something similar to that on his Design Therapy show. The space created didnt really add much usable space but did improve the design.
September 11, 2012 at 12:47pm   
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Esther Lira Barajas
Any idea if this current concept is cheaper than pushing back the retaining wall 6 feet? Ball park guesstimate?
September 11, 2012 at 1:02pm   
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Esther Lira Barajas
Anyone know any good contractors in the Whittier/La Habra, California area?
September 11, 2012 at 1:36pm   
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K.O.H. Construction Corporation
To remove the wall, regrade and install another wall 6' back. I would estimate the cost in my state of Indiana at 40k to 45k
September 11, 2012 at 1:36pm   
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BeautifulRemodel.com
Hi Estherlira, yes you would need an engineer for this, because that hillside is at a minimum supporting itself, and potentially other items such as a fence or other structures at the top. One of the reasons for the high cost is the temporary support needed (shoring) of the hillside as the work is completed, and the fact that this very much structural. (The higher the wall/larger the load, the more concrete /reinforcement needed, most of which is hidden in the hillside)

Drainage work will also have to be integrated into the project, both for the hillside and the lower area. Chat with a few engineers over the phone and use one that specializes in this type of project. You usually have to pay for any information that will truly be useful to you, well worth the minimum cost. They can typically ballpark the project cost for you as many have contractors they can recommend to do the actual work. (Some GC's have a licensed engineer on staff too)

Steve
September 11, 2012 at 2:26pm     
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Esther Lira Barajas
Thank you all for this valuable information!
September 11, 2012 at 2:34pm     
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larryhinkle
seems like it would easier and cheaper just to build some kind of raised decking
September 11, 2012 at 2:59pm   
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simplyeclectic
California. The land of fault lines and sometimes torrential rains that cause mudslides. My first concern can only be answered by a structural engineer. If I was to consider buying your home a structural engineer would be the first person I'd call! As you already own it, if I were you I'd still want to know what he has to say about it! I'd do that first!!!

There are several comments regarding call an engineer and its worth the money. I wholeheartedly and completely agree! Even if the cost of your dream has already discouraged you, I would still be interested in a structural engineer's opinion of the present retaining wall and if there is anything you should consider about your swimming pool.

Lynette
September 11, 2012 at 5:35pm   
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Esther Lira Barajas
Well, this home has been thru plenty of earthquakes and flood rains since it was built in the 40's so Im not worried about mother nature or the well being of the house or pool. Furthermore, if an earthquake hits hard enough, it will take down anything and everything regardless of where its at or how well its built. So, thats not my concer. BUT THANKS!
September 11, 2012 at 7:07pm   
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