Not All Railway Sleepers Are Created Equal
Over the years we’ve had many landscapers come to us to buy Railway Sleepers having previously bought from other suppliers. The usual story is that the customer originally bought from elsewhere because it was cheaper, only to encounter some quality issues and have to go in search of better sleepers to replace the ‘cheap’ ones. These quality issues can range from heavily warped sleepers, ingrained mould, too much moisture within the wood or premature degradation and rotting. Those initial ‘cheap’ railway sleepers end up pretty expensive by the time you’ve bought a second higher quality set when the first load doesn’t meet requirements!
What makes a good quality new Railway Sleeper?
In terms of new timber sleepers (not the creosote treated reclaimed ones) there are several factors that make a good product that is suitable for a wide range of gardening and landscaping applications. One of the most important aspects is how the timber has been stored. Railway Sleepers that have been dry stored on racks with air gaps between them stay dry and free of mould. This means they are far less likely to degrade quickly and they are not susceptible to warping. Straight Railway Sleepers make lovely straight retaining walls and flower borders! You should also to be sure to check the origin of the wood – where was it grown? Many oak sleepers grown in Eastern Europe are prone to warping and early rot because they have grown too quickly and the wood has not had enough time to mature and harden. Whereas English, Canadian and French oak tends to grow slower and provide a much stronger sleeper. We only buy oak sleepers from the latter countries.
Our weather here in the UK is often wet and cut wood doesn’t like water too much. Where many retailers of sleepers let their customers down is by not storing them in the dry. Keeping new sleepers dry prevents them from bowing and stops the ingress of mould. This is not so important for reclaimed sleepers because of how much wood treatment they have within them but with new sleepers it makes a huge difference. We store all our new sleepers under-cover with air able to travel through the gaps in the racks – resulting in a lovely crisp dry sleeper!
For more information on our range of sleepers head on over to the Railway Sleepers category. If you have any questions about our sleeper range then feel free to get in touch with us for a natter.