How To Look At A House

McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of  

site-built, mobile/manfuactured and modular homes

How long do timber railroad tie retaining walls last?

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

The life expectancy of a railroad tie retaining wall is about 20 to 30 years, with an average of 25 years. Take off a few years for a location in a warm, wet environment like Florida, where wood rot and termites are active year-round. And, conversely, expect a somewhat longer life in a dryer and cooler location.

    Also, a wood retaining wall needs deadman anchors or geogrid mesh backing to stabilize the soil behind it, along with a footing, gravel backfill and water drainage system. These components help to stabilize the wall and extend its life. 

    See our articles How do I recognize structural problems in a retaining wall? and Do home inspectors check retaining walls? to learn more. 

    And for the average life expectancies of other parts of a residence, go to What is the average life expectancy of the components of a house? and How accurate are the average life expectancy ratings of home components? Are they actually useful?

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Here’s links to a few of our other blog posts about a home’s SITE:

• How do I look for yard drainage problems when buying a house?

 Why do so many more sinkholes open up after a hurricane?

• What is batter in a retaining wall? 

What is the difference between soil subsidence, heave, creep, and settlement?

How much is the ground required to slope away from a house? 

What are the warning signs of a sinkhole? 

How can homebuyers protect themselves against buying a house over a sinkhole?  

Which trees are most likely to fall over on your house in a hurricane? 

     Visit our SITE page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

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