Walls and Fences
Walls and Fences photos: P 165-P 167, P 225-P 227
Retaining walls are used to support the soil in areas, such as driveways or yards, which are dug into the earth. Some different types of retaining walls are: stone and cement walls, dry stone walls, gabion walls, concrete block walls and wood timber walls.
Stone and Cement walls have mortar between the stones to hold them in place. Check the condition of all mortar joints.
Dry Stone walls don't have mortar to hold the stones together. This is because they are carefully placed so that the weight of each stone supports one another. Dry stone walls are expensive and time consuming to build.
Gabion walls are stones in a steel wire covering. The steel covering holds the stones in place.
Concrete Block walls need to be checked for deteriorating mortar joints.
Wood Timber walls need to be checked for rot and wood destroying insect infestation.
Retaining walls should have weep holes at the base to allow any water that builds up behind them to drain away. Wood timber, dry stone and gabion retaining walls don't need to have weep holes because there are spaces between the construction materials to drain the water away.
Check to see if any retaining walls are leaning. Any leaning conditions indicate that repairs must be made to prevent the wall from moving any further or collapsing.
All fences need to be checked for sturdiness. Tell the client to check with town hall to find out if the fence is within the subject property line. Often the homeowner, or a neighbor, will have a fence, wall, driveway, or shed installed and the contractor will just guess where the property line is. This can lead to an encroachment on someone else's property. Chain link fences will rust with age and wood fences will rot. So look for these signs of aging.