Pine sleepers are a great cost-effective choice for landscaping jobs, however, there are a few tricks of the trade that you should know to keep your sleeper projects looking great for longer. Remember, sleepers are a landscaping product and as such, they should not be used in structural applications.
1. Use a quality supplier
There is no Australian Standard grading requirement for landscaping timber products, so the quality of sleepers can vary significantly between manufacturers. To ensure they are of consistent quality and appearance, always chose a reputable brand such as Timberlink Australia.
2. Always use either hot-dip galvanized or stainless-steel fixings with sleepers
As with all outdoor treated timber, only zinc galvanised or stainless-steel fixings should be used otherwise the fixings will corrode. At the very least, this will reveal rust marks on your paintwork, whereas failing fixings could ultimately result in your project collapsing.
3. Fix your sleepers into place well
Pine sleepers are a ‘wet’ product. This means they haven’t been re-dried after treatment, which is partly what makes them such a cost-effective option.
This also means pine sleepers contain a lot of moisture they can twist and move around as they dry over time, acclimatising to the environment. To prevent this, use quality fixings of a suitable size placing them at regular intervals along the sleeper.
Remember, sleepers are big, heavy pieces of timber so the fixings need to be able to hold that weight in place. Also, make sure you don’t span sleepers too far without using suitable support posts.
4. Apply a Finish and Maintain it
Sleepers are treated so they can resist termite and fungal attack, but not long term exposure to weather. Applying a good quality finish to your outdoor projects will help protect them from UV damage. Remember to re-apply as recommended by the finish manufacturer.
5. CCA treated sleepers can’t be used for certain jobs
Copper Chrome Arsenate (CCA) treated sleepers can’t be used for jobs where there is likely to be “frequent and intimate” contact with the timber such as playgrounds, tables and seats.
We don’t use CCA to treat any of our products in Tasmania, so by using Timberlink sleepers you don’t need to worry about what can be used where.
If your sleepers have been treated with CCA, the words “treated with copper chrome arsenate” should be clearly written on the treatment tag. To better understand treatment tags, read our article – Look for a Treatment Brand When Using Treated Timber.