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Besser/Cinder/Masonary block retaining wall footings

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2015

    Default Besser/Cinder/Masonary block retaining wall footings

    I have to put in a few besser block retaining walls. Most will be about 500mm high (back of house) or 1000mm high (front go house) (height is from ground level). I was thinking the 500mm walls will not need to be reinforced with vertical and horizontal rebar that much (maybe a few pieces of rebar), but the 1000mm wall will be well reinforced and core filled with concrete.

    I am wondering on the depth of the footings for both. I am guessing the 500mm wall will not need as deep a footing as the 1000mm wall?

    Any suggestions on footing and using lesser blocks for retaining walls.

    Also, in the end I plan to render the walls if that means anything.

    Thanks as always for comments.

  2. #2
    4K Club Member Marc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003


    Depth of footings is related to vertical loads. A retaining wall footing needs to support its own weight of course.However, and this is the reason most brick or block retaining wall fail and start leaning is because people make footing that are way too narrow. Considering the massive horizontal forces a one meter high wall will eventually endure, think very wide footings and very well reinforced concrete, linked to vertical rods and core filled. And don't forget draining, a lot of it.
    Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance

  3. #3
    1K Club Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007


    I did a wall 4 blocks high across the back of the storage room behind the garage. Previous owner who dug it out merely "rendered" the remaining dirt (clay/shale) around 20mm thick, which promptly cracked & allowed a mini-landslide.

    As it was only 4m across, I turned the wall 90 degrees at each corner & continued it for around 800mm (2 blocks, or 2.5 blocks on the intersecting corner), to add strength.
    My footing was 600mm wide, and about 400mm deep, with trench mesh laid into it.
    I hung timber props from the floor joists above to attach the upright reo bars to, which were bent in a J shape & wired to the trench mesh.
    Once the footing concrete was set, the timber was removed to allow the blocks to be slid down over each bar.

    Each block hole (2 per block) had a vertical bar in it, and I core filled each one (advice was to do every 2nd or 3rd, but I wanted a strong wall).
    I ran a horizontal bar across the top of the 3rd course, tied to each vertical, and ground off those uprights to finish about an inch from the top of the last (4th) course.
    It was a pain in the butt, but we mixed the core-fill in the mixer, and poured it one bucket at a time down each hole, working it well with a rod to "settle" it well.
    Bottom row was laid with gaps between each block.

    I put a thick PVC (an old billboard banner) behind the wall & backfilled it with gravel up to the top, then concreted by hand from the rear of the wall, back to the original ground level behind the wall, just to flush it off neatly.

    I get a bit of weeping coming through the gaps after a decent amount of rain (groundwater/seepage) so I'm glad they are there.
    The wall is extremely solid, and worth the effort.

    On a longer run, I would consider a couple of engaged piers or runners back into the area you are trying to retain - like I achieved by having a 90 degree corner at each end that continued for a bit.

  4. #4
    2K Club Member barney118's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008

    Default Besser/Cinder/Masonary block retaining wall footings

    It's cheap to have an engineer design footings for you, I had one done for $250

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    cheers Look out if I have a tape measure in my hand.....I'm upto something

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