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  1. #11
    Super Member JerryG's Avatar
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    MF 1440-4 PowerShuttle

    Default Re: Can I use railroad ties for piers on my house

    Maybe there is something that I don't know. But it looks to me like creosote treated oak would work better than cca treat soft wood. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif[/img]

  2. #12
    Veteran Member Birdhunter1's Avatar
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    Murphysboro, IL
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    Ford 3910

    Default Re: Can I use railroad ties for piers on my house

    Steven,
    Why not pour concrte pillars about a foot or so out oft he ground and then use your RR ties on top of that. I have built many decks this way in the past, they make a post bracket to mount on top of the pillar and it's ppretty easy. Then again I think your best bet would be a concrete pillar and then blocks above that.

  3. #13
    Veteran Member
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    Default Re: Can I use railroad ties for piers on my house

    They will no doubt work, but ……. I can not picture cutting 55 creosote RR ties with a chainsaw, that stuff is toooo [img]/forums/images/graemlins/mad.gif[/img] abrasive. KennyV.

  4. #14

    Join Date
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    Houston, TX.
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    2001 TN65, 1951 8N Ford

    Default Re: Can I use railroad ties for piers on my house

    Interesting question. There are piers in fresh and salt water that have been around for a long time that are made out of creosoted timber and the wood is still solid. I imagine that it would depend on the penetration of the creosote in each particular tie. The outside piers would be exposed to more water from the eaves so they migh rot out first, if ever. Maybe you can stop by your local electric company's shop and ask some old timer what the average age of replacement was for creosoted poles in your area. They probably have statistics on that and it might take some of the guesswork out of it. I'm sure timbers under a house would last longer than a 40 foot tall pole channeling rainwater down to the base every time it rains.

    Why do you need 3 feet of crawl space? Are you on a flood plain or are you going for air circulation? Most of the pier and beam houses I've seen use 16" x16" x 4" base pads with double jamb blocks stacked on top. The house isn't going to fall off, it weighs too much. It also would make it easier to relevel if the ground heaves.

  5. #15
    Platinum Member
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    Winchester, New Hampshire
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    Kubota L3000

    Default Re: Can I use railroad ties for piers on my house

    I built a 20 X 24 gambriel roof barn / garage with a wood floor using old railroad ties for piers. I cut each one in half and buried them about 3 feet in the ground about 6 feet apart and then built a 4" X 8" grid on top. That was 15 years ago.

    At the time I couldn't afford to pour a cement foundation and the RR ties were available for free from a friend who needed them moved. I have parked a 3/4 ton truck on one side and the 8N in the other for a while after first building it then two horse stalls occupied the tractor side for the past 12 years.

    The upper floor has had as many as 425 bales of hay stored there to feed the horses below and the truck still got parked on the other side in the winter. The only problem I have had and you may also is a little settling.

    Most of the land I built on was filled in over time. If I had provided a larger footing or bearing area under each pier I think everthing would have stayed put. The square inch area of the end of a RR tie is not enough to support all the weight I put on it for the soil conditions I had.

    The ties seem to be in decent shape, no decay problems yet. I think telephone pole sections would be better as they tend to be larger in diameter. If you could pour a concrete pad about 3' X 3' for each pier to set on I don't think you would have any problem.

    Just my two cents.

    Randy

  6. #16
    Super Star Member
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    Triangle Of North Carolina
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    JD 4700

    Default Re: Can I use railroad ties for piers on my house

    Stevenf,

    I forgot to add some info in my previous post. One of my uncles used to work with the phone company. He built a house years ago in a swamp. He did the work. Since the area was a flood risk he build a pole house using utility poles from the phone company. I have not seen the house in 24 years but it is still there. Most of the house is well off the ground with only limited space on grade. When it floods, he repairs the grade level space. I would guess that the poles are creosoted pine.

    I don't like wood in contact with earth. Water kills wood. I'm back to having to plan a pole barn and if it gets built it will have concrete piers holding 6x6 PT poles. Lots of people build pole barns/houses with the wood buried below grade and they last a long time. I'll put in tubes, cut them off level as required, and pour concrete. That way I won't have to worry.

    Later,
    Dan

  7. #17
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    Thurmont, Maryland
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    TC35D w/ SS

    Default Re: Can I use railroad ties for piers on my house

    I'm using a lot of used railroad ties.. for fence post.. what rots first is the "insides" of the posts. I would agree w/ what others have said.. make the piers out of concrete or block.. dig the holes and use those cardboard tubes they sell at home depo /lowes.. use some rebarb.. you'll have piece of mind for years to come.

  8. #18
    Platinum Member
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    Boerne, Texas
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    Default Re: Can I use railroad ties for piers on my house

    KennyV, OK I've read the post on the site about cutting RR ties and this does sound bad is it just that they are oak or is it the creosote that eats chain saws. Also for all the code and bank questions like I said I am in TEXAS and the house is far enough out in the sticks that the only code inspections that are required are for the septic which I've already had the perc test done for and since my field lines are unlimited in size it isn't a problem as far as the banks well in one of the post I said we had sold the house in town which we owned outright so I'm leaving the bank out of it although with the new tractor to help with some of the heavy lifting and drill the piers I'll only have about half of money from the house left although I do have other sources of income if it gets tight but all I'm trying to build is something pretty basic. The wifes requirements (my inspector) is she must have a seperate sewing room, a real nice bathroom, a well equiped kitchen and a big laundry room but frankly how I do it or what construction method I use she could care less not to say that she won't pitch in every chance she gets but she figures that I'm capable of the small stuff and she'll just offer her admonishments if I get off track. I have enlisted the advice of plumbers and electricians who are friends and they are going to come out and check and see that i've got everything laid out correctly, funny what FRIENDS a little BBQ and BEER can do that my limited finances can't.

  9. #19
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    Default Re: Can I use railroad ties for piers on my house

    I've had RR ties in verticly supporting the gates at my shop for 15 years now.......They were like new when I put them in and still look like new now. I have used the treated pine fence posts for the perimeter fence of my shop property, and had to replace them 2 years ago as most were rotted off at ground level. What are my new fence posts ??? RR ties !! I don't plan on replacing the fence again while I'm still alive !! I know good ties have a real long lifespan............Tom

  10. #20
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    Default Re: Can I use railroad ties for piers on my house

    Stevenf creosote eats chain saws… it is VERY abrasive. KennyV

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