How To Lay Sleepers For A Driveway

How To Lay Sleepers For A Driveway
  • Author: Amanda Arnold
  • Posted On: August 25, 2022
  • Updated On: August 21, 2023

The sizes of sleepers vary and come in both new and restored hardwood. Usually used to support rail tracks, restored sleepers acquire a faded appearance that makes them ideal for the traditional textured aesthetic.

A modern hardwood or wood pellets system would benefit more from new, huge rectangular sleepers.

A stunning and durable driveway can be made by laying lengths of sleepers similarly to how you would install tiles. It would help if you embed the sleepers and lay them out in a design that appeals to you and is wide enough for all vehicles that frequently use the driveway.

You don’t need to require foundations if your construction is one or two sleepers high. Therefore, you can put your railway sleepers directly on the ground. Softwood sleepers made of pine are noted to be less resistant to decay and require maintenance after purchase.

However, you may expect softwood sleepers to live for more than twenty years with proper care and maintenance.

What Are Sleepers: An Overview

Sleepers are the rectangular beams that support the rails on train tracks and are typically constructed of wood. They ensure the tracks are spaced properly and remain upright by being laid horizontally and perpendicular to the rails.

However, sleepers are now a common feature of driveways and gardens in addition to their strictly practical usage in the railroad sector.

Things To Consider Before Laying Sleepers For Driveway

Railroad sleepers have resented their versatility and durability in landscape design projects. Plantations are frequently shaped using them. They are ideal for wall upkeep and function as ornaments. Building and stair terracing frequently use reclaimed railroad sleepers.

Wooden beams must be installed on a concrete sheet with a complete hunch to the uphill side and a small amount of downhill hunch, sufficient to hold the sleeper in place, notwithstanding the possibility that they will cause more problems than they solve.

Add additional protection in front of the wall by inserting steel or wooden poles. This is particularly crucial when the ground is damp since it could weaken the wall.

Another way to strengthen the wall is to scatter coarse grey sand on the ground or cut shallow slots into the top lip of the sleeper’s wiring mesh.

Make Sure To Bolt The Sleepers

Even though it may not be as aesthetically beautiful, employing over-the-top straps is considerably safer than taking the risk of getting hurt. This is especially crucial when young children, sick or disabled people, or older people are present.

Over-the-top straps are available in various colors, so you can still give your decor a unique touch. Usually, the bolts are block-sunk. Such casts are typically coarsely mounted on either side of a piece of wood, with the other casting in the center.

Fix The Sleepers With Steel Braces

A concrete sheet is placed on which the first sleeper is placed, followed by other sleepers being heaped on top until they are touching. The top sleeper is then punched with holes using a machine so that they align with those in the bottom sleeper.

Up till every sleeper is in position, this process is repeated. The use of steel braces for non-critical reasons is another method of repair. The edges are connected using right-angled fastening, but they can also be attached from the sides and vertically spaced apart.

These sheet metal clasps can be secured using clamps as needed and are readily available from many other Builder’s suppliers and several larger DIY sheds.

Is It Possible To lay Sleepers Without Concrete?

When it comes to securing garden sleepers, using concrete is the approach that is generally suggested, but there are a few other choices as well. To give the heavy sleepers time to settle in, you can place your sleepers directly onto the ground.

It is important to remember, though, that this approach can result in water collecting around the edges of your sleepers, thereby hastening the decay of the wood. Concrete is frequently substituted for gravel or sand for securing sleepers.

Sand foundations are something to consider, whether you’re building a raised planting bed or utilizing sleepers to create new edging around your garden. The ability of these materials to drain extra water well means that moisture is less likely to collect around your sleepers, preserving the timber.

Utilizing sand or gravel also makes it much simpler to move and level your sleepers while being laid. Be aware that further installing steel corner brackets to support the sleepers may be required when building raised planting beds to create a strong structure.

How To Maintain Sleepers?

Again, it depends on the kind of sleepers you pick. Traditional sleepers salvaged from the railroad are typically constructed of sturdy oak and frequently coated with tar or creosote.

Even though this makes plants incredibly resilient and likely to live for decades in any garden without further care, it is important to remember that creosote may be toxic to skin and should not be used in regions where human contact is frequent.

Wooden sleepers should be considered a durable addition to your garden, even though the lifespan of sleepers is mostly dependent on the type of timber used in their construction.

According to consensus, classic hardwood sleepers will often endure the longest, with recovered oak railway examples having a projected lifespan of more than a hundred years.

On the other end of the scale, a softwood sleeper that hasn’t been treated will often only survive two to five years. Nowadays, carefully treated softwood sleepers are typically used for roads and landscape gardening. With proper maintenance, these sleepers may last for a very long time.

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Author: Amanda Arnold

Amanda has been working with ConstructionHow since 2021. Her experience spans over 5 years in the creative niche such as home decor and trends, landscaping, renovations, and custom architectural values. As a home designer expert, she has a keen eye for the latest home improvement trends with accurate facts that readers find impossible to ignore. Being invested in home-building trends is how she has gained her lucrative expertise exploring more to bring a positive ambiance for all homeowners (and even tenants!). Currently, she lives in a beautiful beach home, a source of fascination for her.