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Deadmen tell the tale

Isn't it supposed to be:
"deadmen tell no tales?"

Over the years we built a few new walls and repaired some existing walls. I've also attended a half dozen clinics hosted by companies like Techo-Bloc (thanks Paver Pete!) on proper wall construction techniques, right down to what type of gravel to use for the base.

When dealing with the heavy clay soils prevalent in our part of western Pennsylvania, along with our typical freeze-thaw cycle that makes soil move, proper construction techniques are critical for any sort of long term success.

Bottom line:
Walls tend to fail.
The force is against them!

Three basic keys for success with a timber wall include:
1. A good compacted gravel base below the 1st course of timbers.
2. Good drainage behind the wall, including gravel behind the wall and a perforated drainage pipe behind the lowest course of exposed timbers.
3. Deadmen (or tiebacks) to strengthen a timber wall (prevent 'tip-over' like you see in the photo below)

We recently spotted a rapidly failing timber wall not more than a few years old. Reasons for failure? The most obvious was no 'deadmen' (tieback timbers extending back into the soil bank being retained). It also appears no gravel drainage was used behind this wall.

timber wall failing

It's obvious deadmen DO tell tales, very sad ones indeed!


VIDEO: Timber wall construction

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