Sturdy Solutions: How to Successfully Fix Your Wooden Retaining Wall
Repairing a wood retaining wall can be a daunting task, but one that is a necessary part of upkeep and maintenance on any property that has one. Pressure treated lumber and galvanized or stainless-steel hardware is needed, to ensure the wood will last without having to be replaced soon. With attention to detail and patience, these steps will have your wood retaining wall looking good as new in no time.
Start by first taking inventory of what exactly needs to be replaced and related elements. This will likely include the vertical support posts, as well as the horizontal wood retaining wall slats. Then, dig out soil from behind the damaged wall section, and prepare an area for this removed dirt; spreading a large tarpaulin can help protect the ground cover from becoming too cluttered.
Once all of the soil has been taken away, you can now dig out a new trench for the wall in order to help with water drainage. This trench should be filled with about 6 to 8 inches of gravel that’s two inches below the surface. If for some reason you are only needing to replace a post, but not a wall section, nail a vertical cut of lumber to the planks of the already existing wall. This will help secure them together while you replace the post.
Unbolt the wall planks from their support posts, so they can be removed and replaced. If any of the carriage bolts are not in good condition, it is best to just discard and replace those with new. To ensure the post is standing up straight, fill the hole that had the old post in it with a mix of quick drying cement; once set and settled, running a string line across from the other posts, along with a carpenter’s level, will help you find the proper height for it.
To add the planks back to the wall, measure from the midpoint of one post to the midpoint of the next, or to the outside edge of the end post. Then, cut the planks to the proper length with a circular saw, and attach them in place with common nails and carriage bolts. Make sure to place holes at least an inch away from the edge of the planks, and tighten the washer so that it is just starting to penetrate the plank.
Once all of the planks have been securely added back, you can move on to filling in the hole. Make sure it is level with the top of the wall, and pack down the soil in order to compact it and avoid any possible future sinkholes or water retention. With careful attention to detail, your wood retaining wall will look good as new once all is said and done.