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Oak sleepers for retaining wall and patio to sit on

Also shown in “problem solving"…. Hi all, I hope someone can give me some advice? we’ve moved into a house where the garden is about 320mm higher than next doors garden. we want to create a patio area, but need to create the retaining wall first to lay the patio over the top. We were going to use sleepers, but at the moment trying to get old railway sleepers that are creosote are like gold dust… if we use new hardwood sleepers, should we use a barrier and gravel to keep the moisture away from the sleeper when we back fill, and will they last 30 years or more? Or do we wait to get old sleepers ?

Posts

  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Bath, SomersetPosts: 7,968
    Hello @knixon8
    I'm not sure you can still get old creosote sleepers any more, it's a banned substance. Anyway, you might not want them as the creosote tends to ooze out in very hot weather.
    New ones will be fine and are much lighter to lift as well which is good. They should all be pressure treated so should last a decent amount of time - most people these days do not stay in a house for 30 years so it shouldn't be a problem. It is better to use a waterproof barrier between the sleeper and the soil but gravel's not usually necessary.
    Good luck with the build.
  • knixon8knixon8 Posts: 5
    Thanks Lizzie for the reply…

    you can still get the creosoted ones, but everyone is taking them at the moment. These won’t be seen, as once in position with the patio on top, the boundary fence will hide the sleepers, so it was just a case of making sure they last 30 year… I’ve no intention of moving, and trying to future proof the garden for when they get the house…
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Bath, SomersetPosts: 7,968
    That's interesting, are the old ones cheaper than the new ones then? I understand the old ones are extremely heavy so hope you have some help lined up. My sleepers have only been down for 3-4 years so can't help on how long they last.
  • AstraeusAstraeus Posts: 199
    We've done very similar.

    We used old creosoted sleepers from Jarabosky/Railwaysleepers.net to retain the top of our garden and built a 35m2 patio on top of it, with more sleepers to build a retaining wall to a 1m height to keep back the garden at the end of our garden. To be doubly certain that the sleepers will last 'forever', we built a French drain behind it with concrete rubble. For the same of the £30 it cost, it'll help and it gave us somewhere to dump over 2 tonnes of concrete rubble.

    Be cautious which new hardwood you choose if going that way. The North American oaks are nowhere near as slow-growing as other hardwoods so not nearly as strong. The trade off is they are lighter to handle - ours we're 95kg per 2m length!
  • knixon8knixon8 Posts: 5
    That’s exactly what I want… creosoted I think is the way to go, but it looks as though you just can’t get the due to demand…
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 72,895
    Speaking from experience here … if you want to sit on them I would not use creosote sleepers.
     No matter how aged they are, I have found there are times in hot weather when the creosote will mark clothing, and it’s virtually impossible to get it out of most fabric.  
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • AstraeusAstraeus Posts: 199
    Speaking from experience here … if you want to sit on them I would not use creosote sleepers.
     No matter how aged they are, I have found there are times in hot weather when the creosote will mark clothing, and it’s virtually impossible to get it out of most fabric.  
    I had to re-read the first post as that's what I took from it initially, but I think it's only the patio that will be sitting on them!
  • AstraeusAstraeus Posts: 199
    knixon8 said:
    That’s exactly what I want… creosoted I think is the way to go, but it looks as though you just can’t get the due to demand…
    Where are you based? I know two suppliers in Yorkshire/North Derbyshire with plentiful stock. National delivery might be pricey but you could arrange palletised delivery.
  • knixon8knixon8 Posts: 5
    I in Sunderland, and everyone in the area has none… delivery from others areas are from more than the cost of fifteen sleepers to the ridiculous….
  • AstraeusAstraeus Posts: 199
    I think it'll be prohibitive for the ones I know, it was £120 to ship them 40 miles to me.
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