Deck / Retaining Wall

Rather large deck structure at the rear of the home.

Deck supports are resting atop a 20-25 foot high retaining wall.

Wall is bowed outward mid span with additional indications of settlement / movement.


Hi Joe,

In this part of the country a retaining wall is not considered a foundation for anything, and of course a wood retainer is even crazier to be considered for a supporting foundation.

But you knew that…:wink:

Additional photo of the deck itself…

It is a nice deck Joe…I would just jack it up, pour a wall, and feel safe having a beer with a nice view…:smiley:

Hey…did you take that picture recently?

You know, there are places in this country with leaves on the trees in May…:smiley:

And some places they never fall off…:smiley:

Beautiful country there though!

I can picture myself now swatting things with wings and teeth…!!!

My thoughts are the the owners had better take some appropriate corrective action or they will find themselves…decked!:mrgreen:

The last photo was scanned from the advertisement left at the home.

That picture was taken at the time of the listing…


You know I’m just harassing you…:smiley:

in the last photo of the series of 4, i don’t see any tie-backs that would anchor the ret. wall back to the earth. so it looks like a non-standard construction that should be evaluated by a structural engineer.

was the wood punky? it would be hard to verify that it was treated for contact with earth unless you could see a tag or stamp that said as much.


That railing has some issues also that are especially important considering the height of the deck: More than 6" clearance beneath railing, climbable railing, railing possibly less than 36" high.

Jim King

There was only 1 tieback and that is pulled back from the center of the wall. It may not be visible in the photo.

Lumber is pressure treated timber.

Should it not have looked something similar to this?


We can see the crib butts clearly on this one that tie backs the pressures of the backfill.

Marcel :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

Since both structural columns or walls greater than 10 feet high and retaining walls greater than 4’ high are required by Code in Pennsylvania to be engineered, your best approach here is to refer your clients to a structural engineer for an appropriate assessment.

More importantly what provisions have been installed for drainage? Weeping tiles, proper backfill (stone), fabric filter…?

Hey Joe,
Nice deck but like everyone else (especially at a party of 50 or so) I’ll have my beer inside thank you very much ! :smiley: My concerns are the size of the deck with relation to the size of the floor joists, beams and posts and what the posts are resting on. In my area anything over 1 story some inspectors require post to be made of 6 x 6 (4 x 4’s are like tooth picks), and like somene else mentioned not resting on a retaining wall unless supported by a solid foundation. Also what kind of support is under the nice rock decoration?:shock:


They look like 6x6 posts to me.

Posts were 6x6.

The Rock Fountain was supported by a single 6x6 post under the structure.

Need I sy more?

Sorry Ray & Joe, I was a bit quick in my reply. After carefully examining the pics I can see the ways of my error. Message boarding is like speaking -
“engage brain before engaging fingers!” :idea:
I’ll get better, Thanks