How to make Railroad ties last longer?

   / How to make Railroad ties last longer? #1  

HawkinsHollow

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2019
Messages
1,220
Location
SE TN
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Branson 3015R
I am filling in a little area in my mom's backyard to build her a shed. To accomplish this I had to create a 2 high railroad tie retaining wall to hold back the dirt on the low end. What have y'all found help the longevity of railroad ties? I am not looking to spend a bunch of time on this, but if there is something easy to do to help them last longer I am all ears. I was thinking putting some plastic between the ties and dirt. Maybe slathering some used oil on the ties before backfilling. Whatcha got?
 
   / How to make Railroad ties last longer? #3  
Maybe a little gravel or drain rock next to the ties to help keep moisture away from the ties. Newer ties don’t seem to last like the old creosote treated ones did.
 
   / How to make Railroad ties last longer? #4  
railroad ties are already treated with creosote or equivalent so it is seal, it won't absorb the oil and you are making a garden so adding motor oil is probably not the best idea... putting plastic can be a double edge sword because it will retain moisture but towards the garden side it could be a good idea but not on all side it need to breath, minimizing the ground contact on the ties will increase its longevity.
 
   / How to make Railroad ties last longer? #5  
My uninformed opinion is to backfill with gravel and make sure the bottom of the gravel can drain. The plastic barrier might trap water eventually. That said, ties on tracks still need to be replaced despite being well drained. (surrounded by gravel) I think they dry out and split rather than rot. Maybe your used oil would delay that.
 
   / How to make Railroad ties last longer? #6  
for the parts below grade, if really concerned you could go foundation waterproofing membrane (or shower tile under layment) on the sides and gravel on the base will give you great lifetime drainage. Cheap and easy.

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   / How to make Railroad ties last longer? #7  
I put some RR ties back near my now dead gas well. I had used then as a border for a forgotten flower bed for the wife, and they were used when I got them. That was 39 years ago. They are still there in all there glory.
 
   / How to make Railroad ties last longer? #9  
I gave up on ties for retaining walls and now use the concrete retaining wall blocks. I have a few ties left in dry spots with little dirt contact.

Bruce
 
   / How to make Railroad ties last longer? #10  
When we bought our first house in '84, it had a 3 to 4 high rr tie retaining wall running front to back along one side of the property. We still own that house (kept as a rental) and the same wall is going strong.
 
 
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