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How to Repair A Block Retaining Wall

Updated on June 28, 2012
Photo A
Photo A
Photo B
Photo B
Photo C
Photo C
Photo D
Photo D
Photo E
Photo E
Photo F
Photo F

Preparing the Wall

The winter weather in South West Pennsylvania is usually fairly cold and we sometimes have lots of snow. At time people use a good bit of salt and when that happens you end up making Cement start to crumble and crack. Especially if the road salt sits on it long enough. I also understand that people don’t want to slip and slide on the sidewalks so, when you salt you pay the price. See Photo A

Tools Needed

Level 4’ or longer

Concrete Trowel

Wheel Barrow or Mixing Box

Mortar Mix


Stone Chisel (For removing old Block)


The first thing that you have to do is remove the bad and crumbled Block. In this case all that is bad is the solid Block on top of the wall. Using the Chisel and the Hammer remove all the bad block.

After removing all of the bad block the next thing that you have to do is to determine the size of block that are needed to replace the ones that you removed. In this case they were 4” x 8” 16” Block. See Photo D

I used a Bag of ready mixed Mortar Mix because, there is no reason to buy Sand and Mortar separate and mix it yourself this job was to small for that. If it was a real big job then buying sand and mortar would be a more reasonable thing to do.

First dump a bag of premix into a suitable container where it is easy to mix. In this case I like to but the plastic mortar boxes, because they are easy to clean and are reusable. Dump the bag in and remove the paper. Add enough water to make it a smooth consistency of mud. If it is too wet then let it sit or reserve enough dry mortar in the bag to add if needed. Lots of times I start out with half a bag. If it should start to dry out just add some water and remix.

Start on one end of the wall and start putting the mortar mix down on the outside edges of the block in two even lines. Using a level make sure that the first block is level and plumb to the block wall below it. See Photo E. Continue across the wall laying a block at a time checking to make sure that you stay level and plumb. It will not look right if the block, are sticking out a different distance. Keep adding block along the top of the wall till you get to the end. Sometimes you may have to cut a Half of block to make it work out right, always add that block out in the middle or if you have to use it as the last piece then put the cut part inside with the finished part out. If you do then put it on a hard surface, take the Chisel and tap the whole way around the block at the spot that you want it to break keep tapping it till it breaks.


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