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Railway Sleepers.

Train related I suppose.
When I had the garden done I had a raised flower bed and modest retaining wall made of railway sleepers.
My project this week is to paint the shed and suss out what to do with the fence panels to spruce up and preserve, but wondered what to do about the railway sleepers.
I read that creosote or whatever is not a good idea, and suggestions ranged from simply leaving them, to applying decking oil whatever that is.
I would be grateful to read about suggestions and experiences from anybody who knows about this kind of stuff.

Comments

  • Niche!
  • seth plum said:

    Train related I suppose.
    When I had the garden done I had a raised flower bed and modest retaining wall made of railway sleepers.
    My project this week is to paint the shed and suss out what to do with the fence panels to spruce up and preserve, but wondered what to do about the railway sleepers.
    I read that creosote or whatever is not a good idea, and suggestions ranged from simply leaving them, to applying decking oil whatever that is.
    I would be grateful to read about suggestions and experiences from anybody who knows about this kind of stuff.

    Leave them as is. That’s what I would do and let them weather in. I doubt they will rot away before you do, if they are real sleepers they will be impregnated with preserving stuff. I don’t think you can you can buy actual creosote anymore due to its nasty contents. If you want to freshen them up you could jet wash them.
  • Old engine oil is great for them. Looks good and preserves them.
    Good recycling too.

    Terrible for the plants though, especially any edibles.
  • seth plum said:

    Train related I suppose.
    When I had the garden done I had a raised flower bed and modest retaining wall made of railway sleepers.
    My project this week is to paint the shed and suss out what to do with the fence panels to spruce up and preserve, but wondered what to do about the railway sleepers.
    I read that creosote or whatever is not a good idea, and suggestions ranged from simply leaving them, to applying decking oil whatever that is.
    I would be grateful to read about suggestions and experiences from anybody who knows about this kind of stuff.

    Leave them as is. That’s what I would do and let them weather in. I doubt they will rot away before you do, if they are real sleepers they will be impregnated with preserving stuff. I don’t think you can you can buy actual creosote anymore due to its nasty contents. If you want to freshen them up you could jet wash them.
    This
  • Creosote is no longer available.
  • PopIcon said:

    Old engine oil is great for them. Looks good and preserves them.
    Good recycling too.

    Terrible for the plants though, especially any edibles.
    Don't pour any on your edibles, then.
  • PopIcon said:

    Old engine oil is great for them. Looks good and preserves them.
    Good recycling too.

    Terrible for the plants though, especially any edibles.
    Don't pour any on your edibles, then.
    Don't we all oil our edibles?

    Or is even that denied us by pc gone mad.
  • I think old engine oil is carcinogenic. I'd leave them be.
  • I often used to nod of on the Piccadilly line and wake up in Rayners Lane for a long walk home.
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  • edited July 8
    IdleHans said:

    I think old engine oil is carcinogenic. I'd leave them be.

    Best you don't lick the sleepers, then.

    And that includes those fellas at Ladywell.
  • Crusty54 said:

    Creosote is no longer available.

    Wilkinson's sell the replacement called Creocote, its not as good of course but better than nothing.
  • Crusty54 said:

    Creosote is no longer available.

    Remember when my father stained a new fence with creosote, he had blisters all over his face and hands, nasty stuff.
  • Crusty54 said:

    Creosote is no longer available.

    Wilkinson's sell the replacement called Creocote, its not as good of course but better than nothing.
    These water based products seem to sit on the wood rather than penetrate, you’re right they aren’t as good.
  • I used to love the smell of creosote.
  • Don’t climb ladders.
  • edited July 8
    I just worked on a job removing a couple of thousand tonnes of soil as part of removing an old rail siding. The soil was contaminated with PAHs (which are carcinogenic) all of which had leached from creosote treated railway sleepers.

    Out here, if you’re disposing of old sleepers they are supposed to be to be taken to a proper disposal facility for chipping and incineration or for recycling only as replacement for existing damaged creosote treated sleepers.

    As others have said, I don’t think you can get creosote anymore but I’d definitely advise against using old engine oil because you’ll potentially add heavy metals as well as PAHs to your soil.
  • Thanks everybody.
    Just the shed and fence panels to do I reckon.
  • I’ve got quite a few in my garden, every few years I stain them with decking oil, seems fine.
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  • Crusty54 said:

    Creosote is no longer available.

    Wilkinson's sell the replacement called Creocote, its not as good of course but better than nothing.
    Using this at the moment.
    Does the same, still very potent, and smells the same.
  • edited July 9
    Doubt they are original railway sleepers. If they were they would be years old and beyond rotting at this stage. More likely to be garden sleepers created to do what you have done Seth. Sawn softwood. The sides of the sleepers in contact with the soil will rot. Even if the timber has been pressure treated. Unless you want to dismantle, treat and reinstate I wouldn’t bother.

    You could try the elixir of life that you invented if you want to increase their longevity?
  • Elixir of youth dear boy.
    Which I created in 1861.
    Anyway thanks to advice here it means less work and expense.
  • edited July 9
    Unless your fence panels have concrete posts, I wouldn't bother with them either.

    If they have got concrete posts still don't bother with them just slot in a new panel when the old one rots and falls out.

    For sheds, etc, Sadolin is the best imo. Expensive but it goes a long way and they know a thing or two about preserving wooden structures those Scandinavians.
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