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treated pine vs railway sleepers

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  1. #1
    TK1
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    Default treated pine vs railway sleepers

    Hi,

    We are planning to use sleepers as a small retaining wall in front of a vege garden. I have heard that you shouldn't use some sleepers around vege (or other) gardens as the chemicals can leak into the soil. This wall will be holding back a grassed area with the garden below, and we'll have drainage pipes but some seepage will get through to the garden.

    I know treated pine sleepers are bad, but were the old railway sleepers treated with anything (to prevent rolt, termites, etc) that I should avoid? I figured second-hand ones would be cheaper than new, but not if I'm going to poison everything!

    I did a search here and couldn't find an answer, although I thought it had been bought up before.

    Thanks,

    Darren

  2. #2
    2K Club Member seriph1's Avatar
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    personally I wouldnt use either. Treated pine is made using copper arsenate and is rapidly going out of favour worldwide due to the leaching fears.

    Sleepers are whiteant magnets as I have unfortunately discovered. They also rot and fail within 5 years or so I think. Perhaps let us know what the dimensions of your project needs to cover and post a pic if possible.

    have fun
    Steve
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  3. #3
    TK1
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    Default Garden bed

    Hi Steve,

    The proposed garden bed is around 5m x 1.5m. The slope of our land isn't great, but we want to level off the back yard for the kids to play on and it dips down near the rear fence - about a .5m drop so we're only looking ar 2 - 3 sleepers high.

    Maybe bricks or those interlocking retaining wall things would be better - no arsenic!

    Thanks,

    Darren

  4. #4
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    if you really want to use sleepers, use red gum. I just pulled up 75mm ones that had been in the ground out the front of the shed and after 8 years there is a bit of rot but not too bad, you'd get 10 years out of the easy.

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    3K Club Member johnc's Avatar
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    I've used bricks and bluestone around the vegie patch to replace rotted redgum sleepers that lasted around 15 years and had a bit of age on them when they went in. The bluestone was lying around otherwise I would have simply stuck to bricks as either way there is no intention to redo the area, ever.

    John

  6. #6
    Pancakeus Incredibulus vsquizz's Avatar
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    We have been removing treated pine structures from Day care and Playgroup centres.

    Have a look at reconstituted or natural limestone.

    Cheers
    Squizzy

    "It is better to be ignorant and ask a stupid question than to be plain Stupid and not ask at all" {screamed by maths teacher in Year 8}

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    TK1
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    Default Thanks

    Hi,

    Thanks for all the replies. I'll look at the costs of redgum sleepers vs limestone and bricks.

    I tend to steer clear of treated pine as much as possible, so will definately be going for something else.

    Thanks again!

    Darren,
    Melbourne

  8. #8
    Senior Member soundman's Avatar
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    I did see a display of cast concrete sleepers at a garden show once & the idea I thaught was great.
    These were very convincing I think they had been cast from life. Came in a variet of colours & they wont rot.
    Any thing with sharp teeth eats meat.
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  9. #9
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    you'll find that the concrete sleepers are 3 times as expensive as timber, either red gum or cypress sleepers will be your cheapest, quickest and easiest option.

  10. #10
    Jon
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    What about "real" sleepers, that is used sleepers that have been retired from service from under tracks. A few years ago I did a wall and found these the cheapest, and the heaviest, and the hardest to cut..... The only thing is they are not as pretty as brand new imitation ones but they have character. The concrete fake sleepers look like concrete fake sleepers, yuk.

    Jon

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