Your retaining wall or garden wall isn't truly complete until you've capped, or topped it, with a layer of finishing stones, bricks or blocks. Wide, smooth-topped blocks or stones set atop the wall create a place to sit, while blocks of a complimentary color will make the wall more interesting and attractive.

Additionally, the capping protects the bricks, blocks or pavers below it from water infiltration and debris.

Here are 3 things to remember when capping a retaining wall yourself:

You'll need a way to cut the blocks or bricks to fit.

You'll have to measure and cut some of the capping in order to make ends, curves and corners fit. You've got several options when it comes to cutting tools. Rental companies have concrete saws available, but this can become expensive if you're doing the job over several weekends.

You can use your own circular saw or angle grinder when you fit them with a diamond blade made for clay and concrete cutting. If you use a circular saw, set it to cut at its shortest depth at first to avoid bending the blade, then make subsequent cuts deeper.

Stone chisels and hammers are a final option. Use a light touch to tap a "fault" where you want the block to split. Remember that the straight edge of the chisel goes toward the side you want to keep, while the angled edge is always directed at the unwanted side.

Be sure to glue that capping to the top of the wall.

Applying concrete adhesive to bond the capping to the wall is a final step. This prevents the capping from being shoved out of place and from falling off the wall. Be sure the wall is clean, level and free of dust and debris before you start.

There are 3 ways to apply the concrete glue. You can use a caulking gun, a paint roller or a brush. The caulking gun is the best option since you will use the least adhesive and make the least mess.

You don't have to cover the entire surface of the last layer of block. A simple zigzag pattern is enough. Press down on the capping a bit as you firmly set it back on the wall. This will help the glue adhere to the capping.

Protect yourself from unintended injury.

To avoid any of the myriad injuries this job can cause, be certain that you have the safety equipment you need to protect yourself.

When cutting blocks with a blade, a lot of dangerous concrete dust will be flying around. Wear an approved safety mask to protect your lungs, and wear safety glasses to keep flying debris from getting into your eyes. A full face mask isn't necessary, but it will allow you to get closer to the cut to see what you're doing.

Steel-toed boots are a must to avoid injury to feet if blocks or capping are accidentally dropped. Heavy work gloves protect your hands when cutting and laying the blocks, and rubber gloves will protect you from the chemicals in the concrete adhesive.

If you have an extensive block wall, or you're not experienced with the tools required, consider hiring experts to lay the capping for you. They'll do a more precise job far more quickly, and they'll know about the many options available in capping materials, textures and colors. Contact a local landscaper, such as Dansons Landscaping Inc, with any questions.

Share