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Railroad Ties for Landscaping & Termites

evantwheeler

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I started some landscaping last winter that got shut down right around Christmas due to the wet winter we have had. I've got some stairs to build off of a patio, and probably 150' of a 2' tall wall that I want to build. I hate the idea of putting in all the effort only having the shit deteriorate into nothing in a few years. My first thought was to use railroad ties, but am concerned about termites. I just tore down a shed that was beyond repair due to termites destroying all the posts.

Will termites go after railroad ties or does the creosote keep them away?
If the creosote won't keep them away, is there anything that will?

If money was no concern, I'd pay someone to form it up and pour it all, but that's just not an option. Maybe I should price out a DIY block wall....
 
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wzuber

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Termites will not attack rr ties from the outside, however they could penetrate the core wood if it's untreated and exposed. They will rot in time if exposed core is buried in soil but if they were sound/good qualty when installed they should last 15-20 yrs pretty easily.
 

monkeyswrench

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Not much to add about longevity, but don't plan on planting vegetables in the planters. Not a big deal for most, usually just flowers and groundcover. There are some toxins in the creosote that leach into veggies though.
 

WYRD

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We did railroad ties at our old house and did not have a problem with termites. But we did get infested with cockroaches and black widows. All the little cracks and crevices make for a great place to hide for those kind of Critters. In my opinion you'd be better off going with the stackable blocks but if you do that get the solid bottom ones. The ones that have a big hole in the bottom has the same issue for Critter hiding spaces. Might be a little more money up front but if you plan on being there any length of time gives you a much cleaner look
 

Mandelon

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Treat the ends and any cuts with Copper Green or Copper brown. They do wear out over time. I have a few in my yard as a bit of a retaining wall. The tops are exposed and are slowly failing down inside.
 

scottchbrite

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All my neighbors use RxR ties vertically with 2x8 to make ranch style fencing.
Ive done several stack stone style projects myself. It’s not difficult. The hardest part is digging the footing and making sure the first course is level. After that, it’s just stacking and backfilling as you go. Look up “Stanley the Dirt Monkey“ on YouTube. He has several decent vids on walls. These are old pics but I did this one 2+ years ago. I have the walk way on top done and I’m finally getting around to the lower concrete pour. If youre near Murrieta, you can use my plate compactor if you decide to do it
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evantwheeler

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All my neighbors use RxR ties vertically with 2x8 to make ranch style fencing.
Ive done several stack stone style projects myself. It’s not difficult. The hardest part is digging the footing and making sure the first course is level. After that, it’s just stacking and backfilling as you go. Look up “Stanley the Dirt Monkey“ on YouTube. He has several decent vids on walls. These are old pics but I did this one 2+ years ago. I have the walk way on top done and I’m finally getting around to the lower concrete pour. If youre near Murrieta, you can use my plate compactor if you decide to do it View attachment 1354337
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I saved some of your photos from previous posts, you did fantastic work! Beautiful property. Appreciate the offer on the plate compactor. I've been hunting facebook but haven't found the right deal. I've spent $500 on plate compactor and jumper/whacker rental from HD rentals over the past couple years for various projects. Fkers are expensive to rent.
 

Mikes56

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I have them in my backyard. They were here when I moved in 16 years ago. I had to repaint them a few years ago. I used a little diesel fuel and old engine oil mixed together. They look new again and no termites.
 

Orange Juice

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TripleB

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I did some steps with rr ties, it been 4 years and no issues
If using r ties you can not cut them with a chain saw, I used a carbide blade circular saw making 4 cuts and sawed the rest with I long carbide saw sall
 

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Nanu/Nanu

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I would totally use RR ties. However i would explore a way to stabilize them if your making a retention wall. Like drilling and driving some rebar through them.
 

rivrrts429

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Appreciate the offer on the plate compactor. I've been hunting facebook but haven't found the right deal. I've spent $500 on plate compactor and jumper/whacker rental from HD rentals over the past couple years for various projects. Fkers are expensive to rent.


They’re definitely not cheap. The rental rate factors in maintenance costs and they’re high maintenance items. They’re literally designed to destroy themselves but are great tools.
 
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