How We Build Wood Retaining Walls
How to properly construct a pressure-treated wood retaining wall is a question that many contractors probably don’t have the answer to. But here Fairfax Contractor we have the ability to build a code compliant timber retaining wall that will certainly stand the test of time. If your project for a new pressure-treated wall is less than 3 feet according to the Virginia universal building code, no permit is necessary to build such a wall. The first step in constructing a wall built of timber to retain earth is to determine the location. Working with our design team we will explain you just how we go about building these wood retaining walls. There are two main elements that keep this retaining wall system in place, one is that the retaining wall utilizes gravity to keep hydrostatic pressure away from the wall. The second element is the pressure-treated retaining wall is pinned back behind the wall with a series of dead men and whalers. These dead men and whalers anchor the retaining wall into the soil behind the retaining wall to create a very stable wall. It shall be noted that all lumber used in construction of a wood retaining wall according to local codes shall be 6 x 6 pressure-treated lumber in accordance with the American would observers Association standards for ground contact. Typically, we utilize pressure-treated southern pine six #2 or better in building our retaining wall systems. We construct the 6 x 6 is which are spiked together with 60 D hot dipped galvanized, or stainless-steel nails. All member joints are anchored so that the spikes are driven into the adjoining wood, with a minimum of 2 inches of penetration. Typically, the dead men are installed every eight but on center. And as the wall is built up these dead men are staggered on each course as the wall is built up. Dead men and whalers need to be tied back into the area behind the wall at a minimum of 6 feet. Once the wall has been constructed, and if it is over 3 feet in height, a backfilled inspection will be required by most Northern Virginia counties. To pass the backfill inspection we will install a 4-inch perforated pipe, wrapped in filter, with a little bit of #57 stone in place. After a positive backfill inspections been done we will install 12 inches behind the retaining wall with # 57 stone to the water away from the wall, placing less hydrostatic stress on the structure. Final step is cleanup, topping off the 57 stone with dirt, and a final inspection. Once your wall has been final out by the local Northern Virginia building authorities you will have a legal retaining wall system.
Permit Requirements and For A Wood Retaining Wall in Northern Virginia
If you’re pressure-treated wood retaining wall is over 3 feet tall we will need to obtain a building permit to construct your retaining wall in Arlington County, Fairfax County, Loudoun County, Fairfax County, in the city of Alexandria. As long as there are no conditions, such as problem soils, or setback requirements, getting a permit is quite easy. This in the end, will assure that your retaining wall is a legal structure, and is gone through all of the inspection process to make sure that it is built correctly. To obtain a permit for a pressure-treated wood retaining wall over 3 feet requires us to go through zoning, health if you are on a septic system, site, and plan review. In the permitting process the engineers in your respective counties will check our plans to make sure that they are code compliant. There are many contractors in Northern Virginia that will request the homeowner to pull the permit for the retaining wall project. This is a red flag, if you pull the permit for your retaining wall you will be liable for any code violation. It’s important to hire a professional that is properly licensed to build, and get the permit to build a wood retaining wall project.