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?

  • 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
  • 4
    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


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.