I am building this retaining wall that ends with steps. The steps will be on one side against the foundation of the house.

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My question is should I use expansion joints between the step units (SRW concrete units) and the foundation or it'd be over-engineering?

The 2 options I found are:

If yes to the above question, which option is better?
Any other suggestion would be very much appreciated.

  • 1
    Yes to the expansion joint, either you do one now, or the weather will choose a time and place. I do not know what product is best, I let nature put the expansion joint for me, and have not filled it in yet. – Some Guy Mar 19 '15 at 11:43
  • I guess it is going to be the weather now :-) as I already went ahead and did not use the expansion joint. It looked odd, half inch of oddity. Thanks for taking time though. – Iulian Ilies Mar 24 '15 at 21:36
  • 1
    for what it is worth, mine took more than 10 years before I had to get serious and redo it completely. :) – Some Guy Mar 24 '15 at 22:43
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    It's not clear what the layout is to me. If the run is as short as it appears, I wouldn't bother. Concrete has a very low coefficient of expansion, and it would be extremely unlikely to cause problems over a length of a few feet. – isherwood Dec 2 '15 at 1:59

Both of your expansion joints are OK to use. And yes its not over engineering, Better to deal with it now then pay for it in the longrun.


depends on where you are. in cold climates like here in Ontario, expansion joints are gospel. when the temperature gets down to -40 c, an assembly like that without an EJ can blow a hole right through a poured wall. if its cold like it is here, pull it apart and put the EJ in before it freezes up for the winter.

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