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New Patio has that sinking feeling

In the summer of 2011 we hired a contractor (very well researched) to build a retaining wall in our back yard. It extends from the foundation of our house to approx. 18 ft. in length and is no more than 4 ft high. It is not straight...kind of curves out a bit after about 4 or so feet from the foundation of the house. Our intention was to build a deck on the upper level of which the wall retains and have a hot tub as the main feature. After the wall was built we decided against the deck and went with a paver patio. Same contractor built this as well.
It came out beautiful...we absolutely loved it. First winter with a hot tub was great. Summer of 2012 with patio was awesome.
A few days ago, after our big blizzard of 2013, we noticed the wall has moved over an inch away from the patio floor near where the hot tub is...like it's starting to lean out. Some of the patio pavers are tilting up...almost like frost heaving but it looks like the hot tub is sinking and pushing the pavers upward.
We called our contractor who tells us we may have to tear a good portion of the wall out and remove the patio to install geo-grid.
We are looking at a very costly repair and I just cannot accept that this is the solution to the problem yet. Has anyone ever experienced this? The height that this wall retains is less than 4 feet. The displacement of the weight of the hot tub should not be affecting the wall like this. I am baffled.

Re: New Patio has that sinking feeling

A retaining wall is not like a regular masonry wall/fence. If you go to your local building dept, you can find specific requirements for a retaining wall, including what goes into the footing under the grade and inside the wall.

My intuition tells me that the contractor didn't do a perfect job on the footing of the wall. If the wall is out of warranty, you are stuck with the repair bill.

Re: New Patio has that sinking feeling

Hi dj1,
Thank you for responding. The requirements were met for the installation of this wall as per the stone manufacturer.This is a manufactured stone wall with Granite topper. All of the blocks have an adhesive on them which is why it may be so costly to repair. We just cannot dismantle it and reuse the stone again. It most likely will have to be broken apart.We have the correct amount of base. The recommended type of graded base was used and the drainage etc. When we first built the wall we had no intention of doing a paver patio with it. If we had that plan first, the contractor would have used the geo-grid in the building of the wall to allow for any weight baring areas. But we did a calculation of the weight of the tub with water by the square footage it covered and we felt we were more than safe. It seems weird after all this time that it would move. Last winter was very mild in New England and we literally had NO snow. This year is a different story. We have had very cold and then warmer and snow and melting etc. We have had no standing water and we shovel off the Patio when it snows to have access to the hot tub.
Just such a bummer. I was hoping to get some ideas for fixing other than what we are doing to curtail some of the expense.
If you think of anything else, it would be appreciated.
Thank you,

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