First post here. I have a garden retaining wall which holds back a lawn and some flower beds. The soil is very heavy clay and saturates through most of the winter. The retaining wall is about 4 bricks high and experiencing rapid frost damage in winter. My first thought was likely improper drainage behind the retaining wall. So i decided to investigate what was there. It was loosely backfilled with shingle, but clay has migrated into the shingle mix and just blocked the drainage holes. So i dug out the back of the retaining wall and installed a french drain. Geotex fabric material encapsulating the shingle to prevent migration of the clay. This seems to be working in that the drainage is much improved and the soil directly behind the retaining wall is much drier. However the bricks continue to degrade and i think now they are already frost damaged, water entering from top is just saturating the brick and you can see them darken in winter.
I guess the problem is likely the bricks are just poor quality porus bricks combined with poor drainage and heavy clay soil. My question is, can i do anything with this? My thoughts were to seal the brickwork with a sealant, and then see if it arrests the damage. Then maybe render and paint it, but then is a render going to stick to the brickwork? If i just render it, my concerns is the brickwork will continue to deteriorate and my effort would be wasted. Is there a way i can seal it and then render if after? Am i wasting my time and the wall is just screwed? Or is there something else i should be doing.
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