What is a railway sleeper?
Railway sleepers are usually made from timber, either softwood or hardwood, depending on the purpose. Traditionally, a railway sleeper was used on to correctly space train tracks, providing a smoother and more comfortable journey. However, the main use of railway sleepers today is in landscaping and gardening applications.
Railway sleepers can be used for a number of purposes, namely, raised beds, lawn edging, retaining walls, garden steps and furniture such as benches and tables. They create a long-lasting and beautiful aesthetic that can help create the perfect outdoor space.
How long do railway sleepers last?
Treated softwood railway sleepers can last around 8 to 10 years due to the pressurised treatment, or if left untreated, around 2 to 5 years. Hardwood oak railway sleepers will last for around 20 years, due to being made from a slower grown timber that is naturally dense and strong.
What are the different types of sleepers?
Railway sleepers can be purchased in a variety of wood types and sizes. Within our railway sleeper collection, we supply green treated softwood sleepers, brown treated softwood sleepers, UC4 treated softwood sleepers, hardwood oak sleepers, European hardwood sleepers and specialist sleepers including charred brushwood sleepers. All of these railway sleepers can be delivered nationwide, with craned delivery available across the South East of England.
What are the best railway sleepers?
The best railway sleepers depend on the application and there are a few kinds of sleepers on the market. New sleepers can last a lot longer than used or reclaimed sleepers and oak in particular last the longest and weather the least. If you are looking for a lower-cost alternative that is great for everyday landscaping and gardening, treated softwood sleepers can be a great replacement.
Charred brushwood sleepers will also last a long time, and are the Rolls Royce of the collection, due to their size and beautiful finish having been treated with fire. The best of both worlds!
How big is a railway sleeper?
The most popular railway sleepers measure 1.2m x 200mm x 100mm and 2.4m x 200mm x 100mm. Within our range of railway sleepers, we also supply lengths up to 3m, and widths/depths from 75mm x 150mm up to 240mm x 120mm to suit a variety of landscaping applications.
Can you use sleepers as a retaining wall?
Popular in both traditional and modern garden landscaping, new railway sleepers are ideal for creating retaining wall dividers and garden steps. They can also be used for raised beds, garden borders, lawn edging, and one customer has even used them to build a swimming pool for summer!
Do railway sleepers need treating?
Oak railway sleepers are made from a naturally strong and dense timber that is slow-grown and therefore does not require any treatment for its 20-year lifespan. Our softwood railway sleepers, on the other hand, are tantalised treated to offer protection against rot, giving a life expectancy of 8 to 10 years. Without treatment, softwood railway sleepers will last around 2 to 3 years.
Can you use railway sleepers for raised beds?
Railway sleepers are ideal for building raised beds and make an excellent alternative to using bricks, concrete or stone. The natural aesthetic of our sustainably-sourced railway sleepers makes them a popular choice for raised beds, garden borders and lawn edging.
What do you put under railway sleepers in the garden?
Railway sleepers can be placed straight onto the ground, providing it is a flat and stable surface. For raised beds or borders, we would recommend lining the sleepers with Weed-Defenda 50 or Weed-Defenda 70 to prevent weed and Rhizome growth. This weed control fabric can be secured to the sleepers using staples, or secured to the ground using ground fixing pegs.
How do you secure railway sleepers to the ground?
Railway sleepers can be secured to the ground using wooden stakes, or our Concrete-In Base Anchor Bracket if being secured to concrete.
What should I bed railway sleepers on?
Due to the weight of railway sleepers, they can mostly be placed straight onto the concrete or soil you wish to have them on. However, they should be bed on a flat and stable surface.
How do you fix sleepers together?
Made from natural, organic timber, railway sleepers are known to shrink over time, so securing them tight is essential. We recommend using railway sleeper screws, angle brackets and flat connector plates to fix sleepers together – with stainless steel screws best suited to oak railway sleepers. Depending on the application, these fixings may need to be changed over a few years to keep them as secure as possible.
How do you stop sleepers from rotting?
Our softwood railway sleepers have been treated with a wood preservative to ensure a long-life outdoors. This process should prevent any rot without the need for extra treatment. However, if you wish to cut the sleepers, the ends will be exposed and therefore, will require a preservative treatment such as Barrettine Wood Protective Treatment.
Our oak sleepers are made from naturally dense timber, meaning they do not require any treatments. However, to keep them in the best condition, we recommend treating them with exterior wood oil to protect them from all weather conditions. If left alone, they will silver beautifully with age to give a rustic appeal.