All Access Construction

Category: Retaining Walls

Concrete Retaining Wall using 2*12’s

You may have read our original blog on How to build a concrete retaining wall. This one will explain how to build a retaining wall part 2 using Doug Fir 2*12’s system. This system is used the majority of the time on our projects.

Think of this retaining wall like an old school basketball court back in the ’70s. Where there were only hard fouls and if you hit the concrete wall you knew you were out of bounds.

Also, the finish on this wall offers a unique wood look. Using this system also gives you time to plan the final look.

After we excavate and get our footing to the size and depth that we want. Most cases are footings are at least 3 feet wide and 18 inches thick with rebar 12 inches on center.

We start by making wood stakes and placing them approximate 4 to 5 feet on center making sure each one is plumb.

After the wood stakes are in place its time to start setting our 2*12’s. Once the back is framed up we start installing either #4 or #5 rebar 12 inches on center. This can change depending on the wall height or engineer drawings.

Once the rebar is in place we add wall ties and wedges to help hold the wall together. Then repeat the same process to close up the front. Once the front is close up it’s time for the fun part CONCRETE!!!!!

Check out our blog on the importance of concrete framing

Who is All Access?

From concrete to retaining walls, modern landscape to pavers. All Access is one of the Bay Area and Northern California’s most well–respected hardscape and landscape contractors. Contact us for your next project by making an appointment online or the old fashion way 510-701-4400

Waler Concrete Retaining Wall Forming System

How to build a retaining wall: We won’t bore you with all the technical jargon that structural engineer’s use. Just know the waler forming system is one of the many ways to form a concrete retaining wall the right way.

This slide show will walk you through the process.

We start by drilling multiple  ¾ inch plywood  We drilled approximate 18 – 9/16 holes in ¾ inch plywood. (picture 1)

Once concrete footing is poured we snap a couple chalk lines to place our footing plates using 2*4 doug fir. This allows us to erect our plywood and prevents blow outs during the pour.. While plywood is going up its very important that the plywood is plumb and true. (Picture 2 & 3)

For walls over 6 feet and up we’ll place the plywood vertical. (Picture 4)

Once we get the back side erected. We start placing our snap ties, wedges, as well as 2*4. As you can see we use a lot of lumber during this process.

The snap ties helps hold the wall together while the wall is being pored.

snap ties for concrete pour bay area

The wedges we use are made from high carbon strength and heat treated for added strength. (Pictures 5, 6 & 7)

One of our final things we do to help better secured the wall is installed form aligner braces with the 2 *4’s. This also helps align the retaining wall. (Picture 8 )

We repeat the process for the front side.

Check out the video to how to build a retaining wall.

Here is another retaining wall we built using the waler system

Who is All Access?

From concrete to retaining walls, modern landscape to pavers. All Access is one of the Bay Area and Northern California’s most well–respected hardscape and landscape contractors. Contact us for your next project by making an appointment online or the old fashion way 510-701-4400

Excavation contractor San francisco bay area

Compaction, Geo-grid , and proper drainage,  important factors that’s makes a retaining wall last forever.  IF ANY OF THE THREE IS NOT DONE CORRECT YOUR WALL WILL COME DOWN !!!!

So What is Compaction?

Compaction is the process of rearranging soils to consolidate the space occupied by  the soil particles while forcing out excess air and water.

Why is it important?

Properly compacted soils help to strengthen the internal strength of the soil mass by aligning the soil particles together and increasing the coefficient of friction when a load is applied to the soil, and reducing undesirable settlement. Most compaction must meet the the so called standard proctor test of 90-95%.

Howards Earth Boring Excvation

So what type of equipment do you need to pass this test?

1. Vibratory plate: Vibratory machines send waves of motion through the soil to re position and consolidate the soil particles. Vibratory machines work well in non cohesive soils; soils comprised of at least 50 percent sand or gravel. Walk behind one’s can weigh from 250 pounds and up..

vibar plate compaction All Access

2. Jumping Jack: (check out the video) This piece of equipment is not for the weak . It will give your arms a true workout. This is use best for cohesive soil such as clay. As the video shows above it jumps up and down about 700 times a minute and weighs about 150 pounds. We always flip a coin on who is going to use it for the day…lol

retaining wall contractor uses jumping jack

3.Sheep Foot: This beast can weigh up to 5000 lbs. (check out the video)This machine is also use for  cohesive soil such as clay. You normally can compact dirt in 8 inch lifts. When using this machine is best to stay at least 2-3 feet from the wall the vibration can push the retaining wall out some.

Retaining wall company using sheep foot

4. Equipment: Sometimes the sheer weight of the equipment will compact the soil. We use the excavator along with a sheep foot roller  (check out the video)to get to our 95%: This excavator weighs close to 19,000 pounds.

Retaining wall compaction sf bay area

This is how it looks after the equipment went back and forth. We back fill and compact over 1000 yards. For every 13 yards of fill dirt it compacts down to 10 yards !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Who is All Access?

From concrete to retaining walls, modern landscape to pavers. All Access is one of the Bay Area and Northern California’s most well–respected hardscape and landscape contractors. Contact us for your next project by making an appointment online or the old fashion way 510-701-4400

Contact All Access for free estimate



Drainage System and the importance of it ….

We all know the damage water can do. When designing a retaining wall there are many factors that goes into it .One of the most important parts is a drainage system other’s include compaction, geo-grid and leveling pad some times called the footing   Without proper drainage this WILL happen and cost you this $$$$$$…..

Retaining wall failure...

Notice no drain rock or drain pipe…

  • improper drainage will cause your retaining wall to fail...

No drainage : This will happen

In order for any retaining wall to function properly and remain sound ,a drainage system should be a integral part of the wall. Drain rock and perforated pipe should be used to create an effective drainage system.

With our retaining walls we add a minimum of 12 inches of drain rock from the back of the wall to the top of the wall . The perforated pipe is use to divert the water away from the retaining wall .

So as my friend Bruce at  http://www.davisons4seasons.com/ look at it as very cheap insurance….

All Access 510-701-4400

Need Drainage Bay area All Access 510-701-4400

Drainage contractor Bay Area All Access 510-701-4400

Over 100 tons of drain rock

At All Access we try to keep it as simple as possible. Remember any of our retaining walls can be built using Baselite Allen block, Belgard ,Redi-rock block system , Versa-Lok or any other system you may think of.

Who is All Access?

From concrete to retaining walls, modern landscape to pavers. All Access is one of the Bay Area and Northern California’s most well–respected hardscape and landscape contractors. Contact us for your next project by making an appointment online or the old fashion way 510-701-4400

 Need Drainage contact All Access 510-701-4400

GeoGrid what is it ?

Geogrid is a geosynthetic material used to reinforce soils and similar materials. Geogrids are commonly used to reinforce retaining walls, sub-bases or sub soils below roads or structures. Soils pull apart under tension. Compared to soil, geogrids are stronger in tension. This fact allows them to transfer forces to a larger area of soil than would otherwise be the case.

Ok… Ok…. that’s the technical term…Hell I don’t even understand it (lol).

Retaining wall Contractor oakland

Geo-Grid All Access Construction

You may have to cut the geogrid at different widths depending on the plans…

When the weight of a retaining wall units along is not enough to retain soil loads geogrid will provide the additional soil reinforcement necessary for your wall stability.  A properly design wall can be constructed to heights exceeding 30-40 feet.

Retaining wall Contractor oakland

That’s still a little too technical so here it is….

It’s safe to say pretty much any retaining wall over 4 feet or with special requirements might need geogrid (Check with your local building department or engineer).

At All Access we try to keep it as simple as possible. Remember any of our retaining walls can be built using Keystone, Baselite ,Allen block, Belgard ,Redi-rock block system , Versa-Lok or any other system you may think of.

Retaining wall Construction

Who is All Access?

From concrete to retaining walls, modern landscape to pavers. All Access is one of the Bay Area and Northern California’s most well–respected hardscape and landscape contractors. Contact us for your next project by making an appointment online or the old fashion way 510-701-4400

Need A Retaining Wall Contact All Access 510-701-4400