Mortar Free CMU wall

Final job of the day, CMU retaining wall, Dry stacked WITHOUT mortar between them, then filled with 8 Sack grout mix. Contractor told me “Real professionals build them this way!” Uhhmmm, well alrighty then… In nearly 30 years in construction, I have only seen something like this 3 or 4 times. Usually it was a DIY farmer adding on to his house out in the country or an newbie landscaper trying to save a few bucks…

Just curious on what your reaction would be if you came across this…

That’s how you build a wall WITHOUT paying a Mason!!


I don’t like. At all….


Most is gonna be below grade anyway, so… :no_mouth:

Exactly, with NO tie in to the house foundation, deadman, or counter fort.
Not to mention, irrigated landscaping above the wall with expansive soil.


Any horizontal reinforcement? Hope they clean the top of the wall or is there something else going on?
You’ll find out next year if it works. LOL


Ahahahah - I guess in all my years I’ve neve met a real professional before?

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Nope. Just vertical rebar in every other cell, loosely and not tied at the bottom to the footing. I’m not sure what they are doing with the top…

Who needs a mason, just stack 'em up boyz!


:roll_eyes::roll_eyes: I would have told him you are not a professional mason. A professional mason would be embarrassed by that!


Interesting read, Simon

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Having been a “professional” mason for a number of decades I’m calling :racehorse: :poop:. There have be a couple of dry stack systems that have come and gone throughout the years. This isn’t one of them.


well if they are completely filled with concrete, it should not need mortar in the joints. the exterior will most likely be water proofed and will be covered up. the part above grade may get a skim coat. so who cares if it ugly. it is still going to be solid.

But at this point should have just done a poured foundation. would have been cheaper.

I no longer flip unused breakers off. No real reason to do it.

I believe that is a different thread!


Considering the stories I have heard about this particular contractor and what I personally have seen on this job and others, I highly doubt any of that will happen. Besides, even the strongest wall like this will succumb to the inevitable if it’s not properly tied in to the foundation, which this one is not, and it has no tie back, no Deadman, no counter fort, etc. …