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Old 02-10-2019, 06:21 AM
MikeSuvivalist MikeSuvivalist is offline
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Default Hesco / Gabion style perimeter wall build -- How to make it cheaper ideas

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NOTE: Please focus the discussion on getting the CONSTRUCTION of the hesco-type barriers cheaper given the design parameters and about reducing COST (please share actual prices and supplier lists). Also, discussing minimum requirements (any engineers)

Overview - skip to next section if you want

Inspired by the Defensive Wall Build I have been brain storming how to create a defensive wall.

The concrete panels used in the Defensive Wall Build had an estimated cost of $15.00 per linear foot. That is very good. The problem is that the thin, poorly reinforced panels that weren't set in a concrete footing do not provide any obstruction to vehicle entry. And, they do not provide much bullet resistance. Concrete, when hit with bullets, spades and cracks very rapidly. So, a few repeated fires into that wall and it would deteriorate.

Hesco Style Walls to the Rescue

The solution to lack vehicle obstruction is to either add a foundation and more reinforcement OR to add mass. Hesco walls have a LOT of mass and therefore are good at stopping vehicle entry.

Stopping bullets is also a question of mass. Hesco walls are built with 3+ feet of aggregate. That is more than enough to stop even the highest caliber bullets. Unlike with concrete there is no spading and crumbling. The dirt mass that absored the bullet force will re-compress and form a solid surface waiting for the next shot. To ruin the integrity of the wall would require hitting a significant number of the metal holding bars, which considering the percent open area of the wall that would be hard to do.

What Exactly is a Hesco Barrier?

In simple terms it's a barrier that is filled with earth and as a result has a high mass which can stop vehicles and bullets. Analyzing the specifications for Hesco bastions they are created with gauge 9 welded wire in a 3 inch mesh. They connect via a spiraled joint which enables them to lay flat when shipping. The steel is class III galvanized with tensile strength of 95000PSI+. The in-fill material is prevented from seeping out of the containment via a non-women polypropylene fabric with 85lb of break force strength.

Gabion bastions are designed for not just bullets but blasts and even more often for flood control. Flood waters place a lot of lateral pressure on walls, so my guess is that given these two factors the Hesco bastions are far sturdier than what we would need. Plus, not needing to fold flat means we don't need joints, etc, which are points of weakness hesco had to engineer around by using thicker high tensile steel.

A further weakness to the hesco barrier beyond having to design around the lay-flat concept is the polypropylene inner-lining. This material only has a 5 year shelf life when exposed to UV radiation. For a temporary barrier that is no problem, but for a homestead / SHTF cabin, etc, 5 year life span is way too low. This wall needs to last 25-50 years with little maintenance requirements.

Building Hesco-type Wall

Design Parameters
  • Height of wall needs to be 7 feet or higher
  • Needs to be cheap enough that a 1000+ foot wall perimeter wall is not too cost prohibitive for a some friends to join in on
  • Needs to have a 25+ year life-span
  • Needs to look reasonably well and not like a military base
  • Needs 3-5 feet of in-fill material
  • Low maintenance

Okay, there are basically three components of a hesco wall 1) The containment cage 2) the in-fill separator 3) the in-fill itself. Each of these needs to last 25+ years. The containment cage needs to be capable of holding form even under high-wind pressure.

Building the Containment Cage

To successfully build this we must know 1) how much force does the wall need to withstand 2) where is that force mostly applies

I am not sure of the question to #1 (Any engineers please advice). Looking at clay and retaining walls the force could be up to 3.5 PSI for clay. Add in 1-1.5PSI for wind pressure due to high-wind and the wall could need to be built for 5 PSI. However, I suspect the earth pressure on walls with 3-5 feet on in-fill will not be the same earth pressure found in basements. If we knew more about the design loads, then we could better optimize the materials. As far as where the force applies that is generally on the bottom 1/3. As someone would intuit, the force is stronger at the bottom than that the top.

As of now, I am thinking that 2" 11ga chain link fence with chain link posts are the best. I looked at knot-tied high tensile fence, but I am unsure how the weight distributes if one of the horizontal strands gets cut. Chainlink fence can be had for $0.75 a square foot. High tensile strength knot tied deer fence can be had for $0.15. Obviously a big difference.

The best material is what Hesco is using. Welded wire. This is good because if a single mesh square gets cut the load force still distributes nicely to the other areas due to being welded. I am not sure how much load the weave in chainlink and the knot in high tensile wire can withstand when one of the horiztonal lines are cut.

Question: Does anyone know the price of 2x2 or 3x3 welded wire mesh GAW at 12 gauge or lower? If it's high tensile strength (90,000 PSI +) the better.

Regarding the posts, this is another area that could be optimized. I was originally thinking about these posts: https://www.hooverfence.com/hf40-rou...osts-and-pipes

The 2.5" 11' to 12' poles. The fabric will have pressure from the in-fill against it. This weight will transfer to the posts. So, the posts need to be sturdy enough to withstand this pressure plus any wind pressures. Just the cost of the posts at 10' spacings cost $4.80 per linear foot, which is pretty big (since you need both sides that is $9.8 per linear foot). That is excluding the digging the hole and concrete.

In other words, anything to reduce the number of posts would save quite a bit of money. The posts are used to 1) take the weight being placed on it by the fabric transfering weight to it 2) prevent the fence from sagging which sense the chain link is not high tensile strength steel it can sag easier so has a max pole distance recommendation of 10'

If we found a good supplier for welded wire and if it was higher tensile strength like 100,000 PSI then I think post distance can be expanded.

In addition, if there is a good manufacturer of welded wire who can make some custom the welded wire could be 2x2 or 2x3 near the bottom 1/3. In the top 2/3 it can be 2x4 and even 2x5. This will basically save the metal costs of some horizontal strands.

Preferably materials that are class III galvanized would be best for longevity. Repairs on a fence filled with tons of dirt is not exactly easy so preventing corrosion is optimal. The chainlink parts previously discussed are only class I galvanized, so that is a downside of that specific supplier.

Which liner to use for the containment cage

Because this is a permanent structure and not a temporary structure it MUST be anti-corrosive and have high-UV stability. As a result, ungalvenized steel, plastic fabrics, etc, are out.

Here are some usable materials and their costs:
  1. Aluminum insect screen - $0.26 sqf
  2. Vinyl-coated polyester screen - $0.56 sqf
  3. fiberglass screen - $0.15 sqf
  4. 23 ga 1/4” chicken wire - $0.45 sqf
  5. 27 ga 1/8” hardware cloth - $0.54 sqf
  6. polypropylene non-woven - $0.07 sqf

Question: what is the minimum pore size needed to stop clay from escaping a containment? Most people will likely be in-filling with clay as that is what most soil is when you dig below a few feet. Clay is a very fine particle. However, it tends to stick together. As a result, clay may be able to be contained with 1/8 inch or even 1/4 inch mesh. Does anyone know? Unlike hesco we do not have to contain the in-fill in flood conditions.

The polypropylene is not UV stable enough to last 25+ years, but I included it just for reference as that is what Hesco uses. The tensile strength of the geofabric that hesco uses only has tensile strength of 85lbs. So, even though some the above listed items are thinner like the screens I think they can be used for the same purpose.

This material really only functions to keep the in-fill inside. The in-fill will rest against it and apply a force to it. However, the force just gets transferred to the containment cage. Other than when the cage is first filled there should not be abrasion, etc, against the material.

The primary force the material will have to contend with (other than pressing up against the moist soil and whatever chemicals are in it) is stuff like rodents. etc. 25 years is a long time and rodents / small animals could gnaw or scratch the surface of the material. The pressure is greater in the 1/3 bottom that is where the soil is applying the most pressure. And, that is exactly where rodents / small animals would be applying pressure.

If 1/8" hole size is sufficient, then I would probably utilize the 1/8" hardware cloth as $0.54 sqf. If not, I would probably use the chicken wire + fiberglass screen ($0.6 sqf) Different materials could be used depending on area. For example, a more robust material on the 1/3 bottom as that has more pressures (animal and soil pressure) and is also harder / impossible to fix. The top has less pressures and is also easier to repair so can be a cheaper material.

In-fill material

The in-fill is only economical if it comes from your property. if you have waste on your property you would have to pay to haul away ( such as from building your house) then use that.

For me, I want to build a 1 acre pond on my property. So, the in-fill will be dirt that is taken out of the pond. It will be mostly clay which I think most in-fill will be clay as most regions have clay a few feet under the soil. If you have a hill you want to flatten you can also take this opportunity to flatten it by using it for in-fill.

How to make the wall look nice?

No one wants an ugly wall especially if they are living in a place. It should be fairly straightforward to turn it into a green wall. Especailly considering the wall is semi-porous so will be leaking moisture for plants. Here is an example:https://www.pinterest.com/pin/312085449157782162/

No one has to know it is a hesco barrier style wall.

What's the cost so far per linear foot?

This ignores a lot of costs like labor, concrete for the posts, fittings, high tensile wire to distribute load better in certain places, etc. But, this covers the 70% of the cost (if you do the labor yourself of course) of the materials and most importantly the parts of the fence that we can potentially find cheaper suppliers / better materials for:
  1. 11 ga chain link fabric - $11.44
  2. Posts to chain link fabric - $9.61
  3. Aluminum insect screen - $4.2

Total: $25.25 per linear foot*

This covers the containment fabric, the containment posts, and the in-fill containment. Now, what would be nice is if we found a much cheaper fabric cost such as high tensile welded wire that also let us reduce our post cost too.

* Note: Remember that linear foot of a caged fence means there will double the fence fabric, double the posts, etc. As the fence is basically two fences with in-fill in-between.

Please do not comment on the usefulness of having such a wall.

The Defensive Wall Build thread was filled of people commenting on limitations. We all know the limitations. Yes, the wall can be cover for enemies, for example. Anyone who would build this wall likely has other defenses or notifications (radar, camera, etc) to mitigate some of those issues. Someone may just want this wall to prevent their house from being accidentally shot by a hunter or simply because they think it is cool.

Let's keep the discussion to creative ways to build the wall fitting the design parameters.

Regarding IBC totes: I am aware of IBC totes. It will be very, very hard to get sufficient IBC totes in a specific area to build this type of wall at scale. Shipping in IBC totes cost a lot because they take up a lot of room. Even assuming you can get them at $80 average price used. That would be 2 of them needed for every 4 feet. That is $40/linear foot cost for a lesser wall. I know you can occasionally find a tote for super cheap on craigslist, but when you need 1000 of them you will need more volume than the occasional Craigslist freebie gives.

The plastic in IBC totes cannot be in the UV or it turns brittle and cracks and fails. To stop this you need to wrap it in UV resistant plastic sheets that you then change every few years. So, it is not a low maintenance.. Also, you won't be able to do a "green wall" to hide it. You will have to spend big money covering it up somehow unless you want your property to look like giant IBC warehouse. Lastly, I am not sure what kind of wind-pressure stacked IBC totes can take without tipping over. When hit with wind or for example a vehicle the force does not transfer to adjacent totes or to the ground.
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Old 02-10-2019, 07:35 AM
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In addition, if there is a good manufacturer of welded wire who can make some custom the welded wire could be 2x2 or 2x3 near the bottom 1/3. In the top 2/3 it can be 2x4 and even 2x5. This will basically save the metal costs of some horizontal strands.
This is commonly sold everywhere as 'field fence' Its 2x3 at the bottom to keep out smaller animals and higher up its 6x6.

14 gauge 2x2 fencing is extremely common, you can find prices online at places such as Lowes.

As for longevity, I suppose that would depend on your climate. Its dry where I am and I have found barb wire that I know is at least 80 years old that is still strong even though all the galvanization has worn off.

While I fully support a wall, I think unless you have a catwalk to stand on that you don't want to make it taller than about five feet. I would not a want a wall I couldn't look or shoot over.

I started out with a fence of 2x4 galvanized wire, supported every 6 feet by a railroad tie fence post, with the idea to turn it int a dirt filed barrier later. Once I looked into it more I discovered that concrete block construction would be significantly cheaper, faster and easier, and if filled with dirt/rubble would provide as much ballistic protection as I want. Vehicle protection is not needed in my location due to other factors.

On of my projects for this year is to start replacing the wire fence with concrete block.
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Old 02-10-2019, 07:55 AM
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Some of the local have used hog wire or reclaimed chain link fence to make the rock baskets. Mostly they are used as road bed on side hill. I have seen reclaimed barb wire made into such baskets - when you have time but no money.

Out back I want to do a sand bag root cellar with stucco. The plan is to go get the sand at the local reservoir for free. I want to run it over a gravity table to see if I can collect the micro flower gold, then let it dry in the summer sun before stacking the bags. Lot of free old barb wire about to use with the project.

I haul decomposing granite in 5 gallon metal buckets. I stab the the bucket into the hill and use a hoe to pull the sand/gravel down into the bucket. Then put the bucket into the truck. I can load 12 buckets in about 20 minutes without killing myself. I pull the buckets out and pour the fill into potholes, then use a garden rake to level it out.

A wood stand and a inverted traffic cone is an awesome sand bag filling station.

Lots of rocks in my area. Basalt and gold dredge piles.

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Old 02-10-2019, 10:41 AM
AZ_HighCountry AZ_HighCountry is offline
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I will tag this and come back later; for a Gabion-style perimeter wall you will need a good supply of rock. A very good supply.
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Old 02-10-2019, 01:00 PM
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I offer a couple random comments.

Polyethylene fabric will completely disintegrate after a few years. Dacron or Nylon would last longer.

Not sure where you are, or what the frost depth is, but you should put the foundation below the frost depth.

I would also consider seismic forces. Google should turn up your local seismic conditions.

Personally, not a fan of galvanizing. the zinc is sacrificial. it is designed to disintegrate. Then you are left with unprotected steel. I prefer a 2 part epoxy paint, or coal tar coating.

I only skimmed your specs, so probably missed some stuff.

How about a flat rock wall? they look nice. Probably won't be the height you want though.
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Old 02-10-2019, 01:51 PM
WilliamAshley WilliamAshley is offline
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Originally Posted by MikeSuvivalist View Post
NOTE: Please focus the discussion on getting the CONSTRUCTION of the hesco-type barriers cheaper given the design parameters and about reducing COST (please share actual prices and supplier lists). Also, discussing minimum requirements (any engineers)

It is all about the terrain available. ---- use dirt alah
however, better yet if you have river clay available dump that in and burn it and it would turn it into a ceramic. sheet, or yet make hollow clay burn it from the inside and infill with dirt/rubble. you could add cement to the mix but I would imagine it would cost more. The angle of the wall could also matter if the wall is solved. Any defensive line with the wall should have foxholes that are drilled out of the cermic layer. as firing positions ideally using camera guided firing rather than visual firing.
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Old 02-10-2019, 04:34 PM
Steve_In_29 Steve_In_29 is offline
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Keep in mind that HESCOs were designed as a TEMPORARY barrier.

As to your liner....
1:NONE of the listed "screen" materials will work as they are all EASILY damaged and have pretty much ZERO structural strength.

2: The "chicken wire" and "hardware cloth" are too porous unless you are utilizing stone as infill. Though then again I am concerned as to their structural integrity for holding back such a large mass.

3: Pretty much NO material (nylon, polyester, etc) is going to last 25 years exposed to the weather. At least not any that it sounds like you could afford to use.

An appropriately sized mixed rock/dirt mound, covered in grass for strength and then in dense thorny vegetation for barrier would meet your needs at a lower cost as well as being basically maintenance free.
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Old 02-10-2019, 05:00 PM
steve marshall steve marshall is online now
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Waste Blocks from your friendly concrete supplier.
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Old 02-10-2019, 05:12 PM
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