Retaining wall finish question

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PNWgal
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Retaining wall finish question

Postby PNWgal » Sun Feb 26, 2012 12:16 pm

Hi all,

We just built a retaining wall and can't decide how to finish it. Our landscape architect wanted to build a gabion wall, but neither my husband nor I liked the look.

I am really leaning toward Arizona sandstone ashlar pattern to match the fireplace in our living room. I know the exterior wall and interior fireplace don't need to match, but we do like the look of the ashlar pattern and the mid-century feel of it.

Fireplace:
Image

Retaining wall (currently just CMU):
Image
(And yes, it is snowing right now.)

Also, we are going to build a cabana with a fireplace between the play set and office, pictured above. We want the fireplace and counter to match the wall, as well.

Thanks in advance for feedback.

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scowsa
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Postby scowsa » Sun Feb 26, 2012 2:30 pm

I have always been a fan of that narrow, stacked stone used on a lot of MCM fireplaces.

Here it used in the outdoors, with this one apparently being a veneer.

Image


More info available at this guy's blog.


scowsa

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STLModern
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Postby STLModern » Tue Feb 28, 2012 11:07 am


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PNWgal
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Postby PNWgal » Thu Mar 01, 2012 10:47 am

Hi Dan,

We hired someone to build the wall and I have pictures of the process around here somewhere...

As I recall, he poured a footing, stacked the CMU, then filled it with concrete and rebar. We were going to tackle the project on our own, but are glad we didn't.

Let me know if you have other questions and I can give you more details.


Does anyone else have any feedback for finishing the wall?

egads
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Postby egads » Thu Mar 01, 2012 11:30 pm

I did type out a whole response/opinion a couple of days ago, but the site was acting up and it was lost. Here's what I remember of that:

I would totally use the pink sandstone if you can afford it. There are some cultured stone products that come pretty close and would probably save a bundle. But of course what you really want is out of style so there's not much choice beyond the real thing. I would avoid the Tuscan look if at all possible.

You can also use a smooth stucco in a pink color and just cap the wall with sandstone. The smooth stuff is called "Santa Barbara" To stucco a wall, a scratch coat must be used first or the CMU will telegraph through.

STLModern, CMU retaining walls need a foundation, the depth being determined by how high the wall will be. Your local building dept. probably has specs for what they require. It's also a good idea (often required) to provide drainage behind the wall (like a perforated pipe covered with a dirt blocking sock covered in gravel) Weeping holes are also left by not mortaring between the first course. The foundation needs rebar done a certain way, the vertical rebar gets tied to the foundation rebar. As one goes up, one adds additional rebar, often horizontal rebar is added, wired to the verticals. The rebar spacing is determined by how high the wall is.
One also has to fill the blocks that have the rebar in them. When building a CMU wall of any kind, you can only do 3-4 courses a day. Otherwise the weight presses out the mortar of the lower courses.


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