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I have a 5 foot high retaining wall, made with CMU blocks, built in 1962. I don't have much information about (e.g. the shape of the footing, depth, etc) other than that it seems to be just a gravity wall, and doesn't even seem to have drainage behind it.

I've recently started measuring the plumb of the wall, and it seems to be out of plumb by about 4 inches in the worst spots (5 degree lean).

A surcharge (about 3 feet) of backfill (with its own retaining wall) seems to have been added onto on top of the original retained earth in 1972, about 2 feet back from the first wall.

Is fixing this wall/reinforcing it something I should be prioritizing within the next 15 years, or would you say it should be at the bottom of my priority list? If I were to try to fix it, what would the the most cost effective way to do so?

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  • are there any cracks in it
    – Traveler
    Feb 21, 2023 at 7:31
  • Yea. Pretty big cracks. There's 3 cracks about 0.75 inch in diameter in different places in the wall.
    – Dong Shi
    Feb 21, 2023 at 7:47
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    If it failed, would there be damage done to structures or landscaping? That is something you may wish to consider as you decide your priorities. Feb 21, 2023 at 12:02
  • A 5 ft tall CMU wall near me collapsed after leaning more and more over time. It was along a sidewalk near an elementary school that kids would walk along and adults would push baby strollers. I used to walk my dog along it until I got concerned. The collapse happend at night during a heavy rain so no one reported on the timescale of the collapse. New owners of the property replaced it with a proper block wall that looks great and is staggered back. Feb 21, 2023 at 12:03
  • Don't forget, @JimStewart, that when it was built, that 5' tall CMU wall was a "proper block wall". Understanding increases, technology changes and things improve. Just because it doesn't meet current standards doesn't mean it wasn't done well for the time.
    – FreeMan
    Feb 21, 2023 at 13:25

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