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4' Earth Berm one wall? How do I keep the building from leaning?

 
Meagan Poisson
Posts: 17
Location: Alberta, Canada
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I totally get that earth-berming two opposing walls would somewhat cancel out the pushing forces...but I have cut into a hill (dirt pile) on the North and the East, and only want a berm on those sides. Currently, I have 2' of working space between the building and the 4' high dirt (That slopes nicely away from my building). I am planning on doing PAHS, digging the top 2' off the dirt hill, poly, insulation, poly and replacing the dirt. I was planning on backfilling the space beside the building at the same time. The building is built on concreted posts but if I backfill 4' of dirt on one side, the whole thing is going to lean! I cannot berm the opposing side. There is no space for it on that side...and I don't want it there. I have thought of adding temporary braces on the non bermed side and of using high tensile wire to tie the top of the building walls to an L shaped brace placed so that dirt will go on top of it...thinking that the weight of the soil pushing down on the brace will stop the building from leaning (See picture).
Questions: If I brace the non bermed side...say with 2x4s braced on the ground and the wall, can I take them off in a week or two or do I need to build them in permanently? And, what do you think of my high tensile wire idea or is their a better way to brace walls for earth berms that do not have berms on the opposing sides.
Thankyou very much for your opinions.
Earth Sheltered Q.png
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Bill Bradbury
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Meagan,
I think the idea is sound, but implementing this in a meaningful way would be expensive.

What kind of building is it?

Large stones can displace the weight downward, minimizing the amount of soil pushing laterally on the wall.
 
evan l pierce
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I would consider some kind of permanent diagonal bracing, preferably from the bottom corner of the open side to the top corner of the bermed side, at least. But I think I saw a video where mike oehler used big post-sized 'X's on the inside of his ridge house.
 
Meagan Poisson
Posts: 17
Location: Alberta, Canada
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I have been reading about earthbag retaining walls and I think perhaps I will build some earthbags (native fill) at the same time as backfilling...If I offset each layer of earthbags 1.5" towards the dirt pile, I should be able to stop the dirt from wanting to push my building over. Of course this solution is high on the labour, time consuming and arduous, so it should fit in with the rest of my building projects....
 
Dave Dahlsrud
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If you haven't back filled yet you might consider installing something like a deadman or ten into the hillside to counter the forces pushing the wall in. This is pretty common technique in retaining wall construction. If you Google it you should find lots of information, but basically you attach/pour/mold support perpendicular to the wall extending into the hillside. The key is having a good bond to the wall so that the pressure of the hill pushing down on the deadman counter that of the hill pushing in on the wall. I'll try to attach a pic:
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Glenn Herbert
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Location: Upstate NY, zone 5
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If you do the earthbags, make their top surfaces slope slightly back into the hill, as well as setting each one back a bit. That way, gravity is assisting the earthbags. How moist can the clay/earth get in the wet season? If there is groundwater in the soil, it might move even with the deadmen. I would feel safer with heavy bracing from the top of the retaining wall posts to the bottom of the next one; X-bracing here would be even more secure. How long are the walls in the dug-in area? If the roof framing and sheathing are not strong enough, you will need bracing on the intermediate posts, not just the end ones.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/cards
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