Retaining Wall Tips from a Professional
Top 6 Retaining Wall Defects that could save you big money when buying a home in Cairns
Buying an existing home? Don't miss out on a prime opportunity to negotiate a potential $10,000 plus on the list price, saving you money on the purchase, to put towards improving the property or preventing potential building hazards.
Here are our top 6 defects to look for in an existing retaining wall structure:
Termites: don't be fooled, these little buggers don't discriminate between types of timber. Whether hardwood or pine timber is used, they will make a meal out of any timber retaining wall, and once they've started, it's only a matter of time until they compromise the structural integrity. Yes, timber can be treated with chemicals to prevent termite inundation, but this is merely a delaying process as these chemicals don't last forever.
Drainage: No matter what material is used to build a retaining wall the drainage system installed behind the wall is the most important aspect to the entire structure. This is also the most overlooked aspect. Because you cannot see the amount of drainage gravel, geo-textile fabric or type of drainage pipe installed often contractors will skimp on these to save a buck. The law states that despite the height of the retaining wall it should as a minimum have behind it a 65mm slotted agi-pipe running the full length of the wall and protruding 300mm out each exposed side. It also must have geo-fabric laid along the entire length and height of the wall to prevent seepage between the sleepers or boulders and finally the drainage gravel must be 20mm in size and be installed at a depth of 200mm from the top of the retaining wall and at a width of 300mm.
And finally: if only one or a few retaining wall posts are failing/leaning in the wrong direction, it's not a matter of just replacing those posts or bays. This is a major indicator that the retaining wall is on its last legs. Yes, you can patch the problem by replacing those parts, like so many contractors do, but you are merely delaying the soon to be failure of the rest of the structure. You are far better off financially, replacing the entire retaining wall all at one time than having trades come back time and time again. Which is why Cairns contractors are quite happy to perform a repair job.
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