Waterproofing a retaining wall

apewranglerJuly 16, 2013

I am currently building a retaining wall from creosote timbers. I want to put some sort of waterproofing material on it, but I am concerned that the creosote might eat through it. The best idea can come up with is to apply some 30# organic roofing felt to act as a buffer from the creosote and then some 6 mil plastic over that.

I have seen some of the that aluminum radiant barrier wrap, but it seems pretty delicate and would probably tear during backfilling. I am just trying to find something readily available.

Any suggestions?

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Don't do it! It costs a ton of money for it's disposal. Use cement units (like Keystone - for a large wall)

Here is a link that might be useful: Health problems caused by creosote exposure

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 9:12AM
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Sophie Wheeler

Retaining walls should never be "waterproof". It's the fact that they are designed to allow water to pass through them via proper drainage backfill that allows them to remain in existence at all. The pressure of just a simple 1/4" rainfall can collapse an improperly created retaining wall because of the tons of weight it creates behind it from the wet soil. This isn't an area to guess what you are doing. The consequences of not doing it correctly can be severe.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 10:52AM
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Although hollysprings is generally correct, he/she might be an alarmist for your particular installation as we have no knowledge about the height or purpose of the OPs proposed retaining wall.

Retaining walls can be designed to resist hydrostatic loads (you can design for any loading condition you want), but usually they are free draining to preclude the build up of hydrostatic forces.

Questions for OP:
What is the wall for?
How high, how long, and what is at the sides?
Why do you want it to be waterproof?

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 11:25AM
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And barriers less than 2'6" in height are generally not considered retaining.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 9:22AM
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