Railroad ties, as their name might suggest, are wooden support beams that the railroad uses to support the track.
Sometimes they’re made out of prestressed concrete or even stone or plastic.
If they’re made out of wood, then they undergo some form of treatment to help them last longer outside.
Because of that, many people like to get their hands on railroad ties for use in their own homes.
Here are 10 places where you can buy railroad ties.
Where To Buy Railroad Ties (Top 10 Places)
1. Home Depot
Getting railroad ties is as easy as traveling to your nearest Home Depot.
The home improvement and lumber store offers used railroad ties for sale.
Their ties are creosote-treated.
Creosote is a great sealer and preservative for wood.
For railroad ties, it has two functions.
The first function is that it acts as a lubricant between the wood and the plate for the tracks.
The lubricant helps reduce the friction between them which makes both last longer.
The second function is that it helps preserve the wood against things like fungi, termites, the weather, and other pests.
Creosote, itself, is a tar that’s undergone a distilling procedure from wood or coal.
Since Home Depot sells used railroad ties, they’re not ideal for structural purposes.
However, they do recommend using them for nonstructural earth-retaining uses.
Essentially, they’re a good choice for helping support an embankment as long as it isn’t the main structural component to it.
Home Depot also suggests using railroad ties for decorations.
They’re a part of Americana culture and can add a rustic feel to your interior or exterior decorating.
The width of their railroad ties varies, but the general size is 6.5 inches x 8.5 inches x 8 feet.
Not all Home Depot stores carry railroad ties, so it’s worth calling your store beforehand to save a trip.
Their ties cost anywhere from $20 to $30.
If you don’t have a Home Depot close to you, then you might have a Lowe’s home improvement store close by.
Lowe’s also sells railroad ties that are a bit larger than the ones sold at Home Depot.
Their ties have a thickness of seven inches.
The width is around nine inches and the length is 8.5 feet.
They also have ties that are treated with creosote.
This will help ensure that no matter where you use them, they’ll last against fungi, water damage, and pests.
That’s an important feature, especially if you plan on having these ties close to your home.
If the tie becomes infested with termites, then there’s a chance that they might travel to your home next.
Lowe’s also recommends against using these railroad ties for structural purposes.
However, they’re ideal for landscaping and defining property lines.
They’re also ideal for rustic decorations and designs.
Lowe’s gets their railroad ties from actual railroads.
As such, you can have a real piece of Americana history at your home.
Since they were actually used on the railroad, the ties come weathered.
Some of them are extremely weathered, so it’s better to go to the store and choose the pieces you want rather than having them delivered.
Depending on your store, some Lowe’s can ship railroad ties to your home if you pay a fee for the shipment.
They’re extremely heavy, so it takes time for workers to load up the truck and head to your location.
Otherwise, you can have help loading them into your car or truck if you visit the store yourself.
The problem with delivery is that someone else is going to be picking the ties for you.
Going to the store ensures you get the ones that catch your eye the most.
Lowe’s does have higher prices than Home Depot.
Their ties cost around $35.
Another great place to buy railroad ties is Menards.
This is another home improvement and lumber store that offers great savings on its products.
Not every state has a Menards, however, so it’s a good idea to check around before you purchase any online.
Like Lowe’s and Home Depot, Menards sells used railroad ties.
These are blocks of wood that actually made up the trackbed.
Because railroad ties eventually lose their integrity, railroad workers will pull them up and replace them.
They then sell the used ties to lumber stores and private collectors.
Menards suggests using their ties for decorative purposes.
In particular, they suggest using them with other materials to create different textures that are pleasing to the eye.
Some of the projects they suggest are flower boxes, retaining walls, steps, and even borders.
These railroad ties are also treated with creosote.
Because the quality of each tie is different, it’s worth visiting the store to check them out for yourself.
You can also get help loading the ones you want onto your truck or in your car.
The size of their ties is similar to the ones found at Lowe’s.
They measure seven inches by nine inches by eight feet.
The thickness of each tie varies but it hovers around 6.75 inches.
You can save a good amount of money by buying at Menards.
For one, they currently list the price for a tie at $29.36.
That’s cheaper than Lowe’s, at the very least.
Also, Menards allows you to do a mail-in rebate which can put a few more dollars back into your wallet.
Menards does not deliver these to your home.
4. Bridgewell Resources
If you need railroad ties in bulk, then you should consider shopping at Bridgewell Resources.
This company actually produces railroad ties, so you can get them both used and brand new.
They sell to private users as well as the actual railroad companies in your area.
They often have contracts with local municipalities as well.
Because they sell their railroad ties in bulk, you’re able to get them at wholesale prices.
However, this is only ideal for those who need ties in bulk.
That said, it’s also worth reaching out to them to see if they’re able to sell you a few.
In most cases, however, they probably won’t be able to sell you a few since they sell them by the truckload.
According to their website, a truckload is about 250 ties.
That said, Bridgewell Resources offers some special services that you can’t get anywhere else.
For one, they both treat and pressure-treat their ties.
That makes them last a lot longer than the used ties at the home improvement stores.
If you know that you want good-looking ties at the front and center of your home, then it might be worth buying the ones from Bridgewell Resources.
Another advantage is you can buy brand new ties.
They’ll see a lot of use in your home and will likely last far longer than you’ll be there.
They can also custom cut and treat your ties to ensure you have the exact lengths that you need.
For those who want to use them for stairs or to make a border of their property, custom cutting is ideal.
If you want to save money, then you can also buy their wholesale used railroad ties.
Finally, if you want a little something different, they also sell railroad bridge timbers.
5. Rural King
Another online store that you can shop at is Rural King.
This website has tons of Americana and rustic products for sale.
They also sell used railroad ties.
In particular, they get their ties from the National Salvage & Service Corporation.
The company is one of the largest that recycles and salvages railroad ties.
They remove over half a million ties every year.
Rural King suggests using their railroad ties for landscape purposes and defining property lines.
You can also use them in other decorative projects.
Their ties measure seven inches by nine inches by eight feet.
The width and appearance of each also vary.
Rural King doesn’t deliver to your home address, so you’ll need to live near one to get your ties.
You can, however, order them online, then go to the store to pick them up.
It’s a better idea to shop at the store itself, however.
This allows you to pick the ties that you want.
You may find that some colors go better with the design you have in mind than others.
Rural King lists the Grades of their railroad ties, too.
Most of their ties are Grade 2.
This means that the wood has started to split.
It may also have missing edges and there may be some wear, particularly where the plate rested.
Some might also have dry rot.
To determine the state of the wood, you should visually inspect it to determine its value for your needs.
Rural King also sells them at great prices.
A single tie costs just under $20.
They’ll also help you load the ties into your car or on your truck for you.
If you have a Rural King store near you, then it’s worth checking it for railroad ties.
6. Facebook Marketplace
One of the most convenient places to buy railroad ties is on Facebook Marketplace.
One of the benefits of using Facebook Marketplace is that it shows you local people who are selling ties.
You can modify your search area, but at the very least, you can see if anyone around is selling used ties.
People who want to switch up their landscaping, for example, may be looking to get rid of their old ties.
You can buy them for prices that are usually cheaper than most home improvement stores.
Keep in mind that their ties may be in worse condition since you’re unsure how long they’ve been in use.
If you don’t see photos of the ties on Facebook, then you should ignore the post and look elsewhere.
Facebook Marketplace makes it easy to reach out to someone and inquire about their ties.
You can make an offer then and there or schedule a visit to inspect them in person.
Because railroad ties are extremely heavy, you should consider how you’re going to get in your truck or car.
While the seller may be able to help, they might not be able to lend much assistance.
When heading to the seller, you should make sure that you have a team ready to help carry the ties to your truck.
Facebook Marketplace is a great place to buy railroad ties because you can find great deals in areas that aren’t too far from you.
Another independent marketplace is OfferUp.
This is an app that people can use to list things for sale that they don’t want anymore.
While the app is popular for things like clothes, toys, and other similar products, you can also find railroad ties on it now and then.
These are usually interior decorators, Americana enthusiasts, or just people who are renovating who are selling them.
The prices on OfferUp can vary, but you can usually find a pretty good deal.
OfferUp isn’t as popular as Facebook Marketplace or some other marketplace platforms, but that just means the seller might be more eager to sell.
OfferUp also shows you products for sale in your area.
This ensures that you don’t accidentally buy ties that are located across the country.
However, it’s always worth double-checking the seller’s location.
You’ll also want photos to ensure that the ties they’re selling aren’t too old or cracked.
If you don’t have a lumber supplier or home improvement store near you, then OfferUp may be a great place to buy railroad ties.
8. Railroad Companies
Considering that railroad ties come from railroads, it makes sense that you can also buy them from actual railroad companies.
Although many third-party companies remove old railroad ties from the tracks and replace them, railroad companies also do that.
They send out workers who drive along the tracks and check the ties for durability.
When they start to become too old, the workers remove and replace them with new ones.
They then have old railroad ties that they can sell to interested parties.
Depending on the size of the company, they might be able to sell you a few ties or a lot of ties.
Their prices will vary, too.
You can usually find them cheap if the railroad company has them in bulk.
They’re eager to part with them to make some room for more in the future.
Since these ties come directly from the railroad, they might even be able to give you some history about the particular ties.
Your local railroad company could be a great resource for buying ties.
9. Local Lumber Stores
While the big-chain lumber and home improvement stores sell railroad ties, they’re not the only ones.
You can also find railroad ties at most local lumber stores.
Independent lumber stores also get their hands on railroad ties because they know that people like to use them for landscaping and other decorative purposes.
The great thing about local lumber stores is that they tend to be a bit cheaper on their prices.
They also can be a bit pickier with the railroad ties they choose to sell.
This enables you to find some decent-quality railroad ties at a fair price.
Besides your local lumber store, it’s also worth checking any wood stores in your area.
Whether they sell wood products, lumber, or other types of wood, they also likely sell railroad ties.
You can usually buy ties in bulk or singles at these types of stores.
They’re also usually happy to help load them onto your truck or into your car.
If you want to support local businesses, then it’s worth checking a local lumber or wood store.
10. Estate Or Garage Sales
A final place where you can score railroad ties is at a garage or estate sale.
If the home in question has a lot of rustic things for sale, there’s a chance that you can ask them about the railroad ties in their yards, too.
Estate sales, especially, may be willing to negotiate on prices.
One of the best neighborhood sales to hit is when there’s a moving away sale.
In this instance, the owner is usually looking to get rid of any excess that they have.
Since they’re moving away, they likely don’t care about selling certain parts of the property, too.
You may be able to ask them about any railroad ties that they use in their home or on their property.
Since they’re moving away, they may be happy to sell them to you, especially since the house is already sold or in the process of selling.
It’s worth taking a drive around when a garage or estate sale is going on to spot a great deal on railroad ties.
Tips To Use When Buying Railroad Ties
Depending on how you intend to use railroad ties, it’s a good idea to know a few things before you put your offer in to buy them.
Here are a few tips you should use when buying railroad ties.
1. Consider Grade
One of the most important things you need to consider is the Grade of the railroad tie.
You should rarely buy below a Grade 2 railroad tie if you want to use it aesthetically.
Anything below that is going to have too many imperfections to look nice.
More importantly, it means that it has a lot of damage already.
It may have serious dry rot or splitting that will only grow worse with time.
Anything below Grade 2 basically means that its treatments have worn off and it’s subject to serious decay.
The age of the tie is also important.
The older it is, then the less treatment it has.
In particular, the less creosote it has.
If its creosote is basically gone, then that means it’s going to wear down a lot faster.
Water will make it split and make it heavier since it will soak into the wood.
Pests will also start to infest the wood.
Try to buy newer railroad ties to ensure there’s still some creosote in them.
3. Ease Of Access For Pickup
When going to someone’s house, you need to consider where the ties are and if it’s possible to drive your truck to them.
If you plan on buying a lot of ties, then you’re going to have to haul them all the way to your truck.
That’s exhausting work.
Being able to pull your truck up to where the ties are can make it a lot easier.
Railroad ties make for great rustic interior and exterior designs.
You can find them at most lumber and home improvement stores as well as at railroad companies.
If you’re buying from a private seller, then make sure you follow the tips above to buy the best ones.
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# 1: Wooden Ties
They have since remained the most popular option in railroad construction. Wooden ties are hardwood, because this material offers sturdiness and durability. Untreated hardwood rots somewhat easily when exposed to the elements. To prevent this, suppliers typically treat wooden ties with creosote.
How much do Railroad Ties cost? A typical price for Railroad Ties is $23 but can range from approximately $22 to $24.What is a good substitute for railroad ties? ›
Landscape timbers are naturally rot and insect resistant – which comes in handy for outdoor projects exposed to the elements. They are a great non-toxic alternative to railroad ties, so you don't have to worry about chemicals seeping into your vegetable garden or your kids' playground.Can I buy untreated railroad ties? ›
For Landscaping, Fencing, Gardening, Retaining Walls, Shoring, Lagging and Dunnage. Bridgewell sells treated and untreated used railroad ties in bulk for a broad range of applications.What color ties are best? ›
For a classic, conservative look, you should always choose a tie that is a darker color than your shirt. So you can wear a tie that is the same color as the shirt you are wearing, as long as the tie is the darker of the two.How long will railroad ties last in the ground? ›
Benefits of Treated Railroad Ties
It has great compressive and yield strength and, when treated with a wood preservative, can last 30 years or more.
Every EPA site said the same thing about the main preservative in old railroad ties: "Creosote is a possible human carcinogen and has no registered residential use." So it's actually illegal to use old railroad ties in a home landscape.What is a #1 railroad tie? ›
#1 Railroad Ties are exceptionally strong, substantial and durable timbers, ideal for many landscaping projects.How do you know if a tie is valuable? ›
A quality tie is usually made of either 100% pure silk or wool, and while blends of various materials can be found, it's best to steer clear of any man-made fibers such as polyester. Don't just trust the label on the tie, take the material in hand and if it feels luxurious and expensive, then it probably is.Is it OK to use railroad ties in a home? ›
Gases released from creosote are also harmful in a closed space, so railroad ties should not be used in a greenhouse or indoors.
1, or premium grade railroad ties are relay grade railroad ties that aren't good enough to be relay grade. They have 3 or 4 good sides and may have some cracking, slight warping, or minor splitting on the ends. No. 2 (good) grade railroad ties look good on 2 or 3 sides and may have some warping.Will termites eat railroad ties? ›
The use of insecticides like borates (disodium octaborate tetrahydrate) and/or pressure-treated wood (chromated copper arsenate) protect against termites and wood decay fungi. However, even railroad ties, telephone poles, and pressure-treated wood can be subject to termite attacks over time.What happens to old railroad ties? ›
The majority of railroad crossties in North America are treated with creosote to extend crossties' useful life. But what happens to crossties when they reach the end of their service? The majority are recycled and reused.Do old railroad ties still have creosote? ›
Of the wooden ties purchased, 98% are either creosote or creosote-borate treated. Approximately 2% of wooden ties are copper naphthenate or copper naphthenate-borate treated. This paper explores the reasons why railroads continue to specify creosote preservative treated wood for their ties.What is the problem with railroad ties? ›
Long-term exposure to creosote-treated railroad ties may also cause cancer. Creosote-related cancers may include skin cancer or cancer of the scrotum. Exposure to the chemical may also damage the respiratory tract, kidneys, liver, and nervous system.What does a grey tie mean? ›
Classic and Formal
If you're planning a board meeting or presentation, you may want to leave the black tie and go with gray instead. Black is usually reserved for classy and formal events. Gray is a softer and safer choice and you can choose a unique style to match your personality.
A general rule when it comes to picking out the perfect tie is that your tie should be darker than your shirt. This way, it will stand out against your chest, and draw attention to the fact that you've made that extra effort.How many ties should I own? ›
For each suit (whether business suit or a casual suit), you should own three neckties. If you own a tuxedo or dinner suit, one similarly coloured men's tie will do, but if you're adventurous, go all out with a bow tie.How heavy is an 8 foot railroad tie? ›
Railroad ties typically weigh between 100 and 200 pounds, but some can be as heavy as 300 pounds.Are concrete railroad ties better than wood? ›
Concrete ties have a longer service life and require less maintenance than timber due to their greater weight, which helps them remain in the correct position longer. Concrete ties need to be installed on a well-prepared subgrade with an adequate depth on free-draining ballast to perform well.
A railroad Tie Fire is classified as a Class A type fire (tie). It is best to use a water extinguisher on this type of fire as water will penetrate deep into the burning tie.Can you cut railroad ties with chainsaw? ›
It is not recommended to use a chain saw for cutting railroad ties as this can be very damaging to the chain and bar from the large amount of dirt in the wood. If you attempt to cut railroad ties you should understand you will ruin your chain and maybe the bar.How much does a 12 foot railroad tie weigh? ›
The weight of a railroad tie depends on their size and specifications. They can range anywhere from 100 to 300 pounds. The majority of railroad ties weigh close to 200 pounds.Why are railroad ties black? ›
Creosote is derived from the distillation of tar from wood or coal and is used as a wood preservative. Pesticide products containing creosote as the active ingredient are used to protect wood used outdoors (such as railroad ties and utility poles) against termites, fungi, mites and other pests.How many ties are in a mile of railroad? ›
On average there are around 3,200 ties per mile on a railroad, so a fair estimate is that the LBC had around 28,400 ties.What wood is railroad ties made of? ›
Many railroads purchase oak and mixed hardwood ties and some buy ties made of softwoods such as south- ern pine, red pine or Douglas-fir as well.Should you buy an expensive tie? ›
The answer is an unequivocal “yes.” The essential component in a tie is a piece of pretty fabric, usually silk. In a cheap tie, this silk is of poor quality – less attractive, prone to damage, lightweight, poorly printed. In the best ties, the silk is richer, thicker and more attractive.How do I know what tie to buy? ›
The size of your necktie's knot should fill the empty space between your collar. Bigger tie knots require more tie, while smaller knots require less. Larger knots like the Full Windsor are are better suited for spread collars and semi-spread collars; they also work well with standard width ties.Why shouldn't you burn railroad ties? ›
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers creosote (a coal-tar product used to protect wood from insects and rotting) a possible cancer-causing agent and warns the public not to burn it in fireplaces at home due to risk of releasing “toxic chemicals.”How long does creosote last in railroad ties? ›
Thus, a simple approximation of 1 percent loss of creosote per year of service and an average service life of 35 years supports an estimate that 35 percent of the creosote initially injected into the ties is lost during the use life.
The wood used for railroad ties iss treated with creosote. Creosote is a known carcinogen. However, the carcinogenic effect is from handling, inhaling or ingesting the creosote. Old, weathered railroad ties present an extremely low level of risk to you.Are railroad ties expensive? ›
Compared to the cost of retaining walls made from other materials, railroad ties are relatively affordable. A high-end material like steel or natural stone could cost as much as $100 per square foot, while the average wall made from railroad ties costs $27.50 per square foot.What are the rocks between railroad ties? ›
The crushed stones around train tracks are what is known as ballast. Their purpose is to hold the wooden cross ties in place, which in turn hold the rails in place.Do railroad ties attract snakes? ›
In gardens, snakes will often make shelter in rock walls and under railroad tie borders. In yards, they may seek out debris, sheets of building materials and woodpiles, Amarello said.Are railroad ties toxic for dogs? ›
Your children and pets may prove especially sensitive to tactile exposure to the chemicals, meaning that even playing around old railroad ties might harm them.How do you get the creosote smell out of railroad ties? ›
For creosote odor removal and the dramatic reduction of the harmful vapors that emanate from creosote-treated wood, the best solution is CreoShield™, an easy-application coating that's available only from EnviroShield.Are there different grades of railroad ties? ›
There are several grades of railroad ties: Relay, No. 1, 2, and 3 grades comprise the whole of grades.What is the difference between treated and untreated railroad ties? ›
Railroad ties or creosote-treated lumber options can leach chemicals into the soil and the vegetables in your garden, whereas pressure-treated lumber will not. Railroad ties should only be used for industrial purposes where there is no risk of human consumption.What are the best ties made of? ›
The best ties are made out of natural materials like silk, wool, and cashmere. However, be careful even when selecting ties made from these materials. Just because the label says it's made of 100% silk doesn't mean it's a quality tie. There are varying degrees of silk quality.Should I put gravel under railroad ties? ›
After you've leveled and tamped the foundation for your railroad tie retaining wall, it's time to lay your gravel foundation. Using gravel is an excellent way to ensure that excess water is absorbed by running through the gravel instead of the possibility of it warping or shifting your retaining wall.
|Low Cost||Average Cost||High Cost|
|$25 per sq. ft.||$27.50 per sq. ft.||$30 per sq. ft.|
The use of insecticides like borates (disodium octaborate tetrahydrate) and/or pressure-treated wood (chromated copper arsenate) protect against termites and wood decay fungi. However, even railroad ties, telephone poles, and pressure-treated wood can be subject to termite attacks over time.What is the most popular tie tie? ›
In fact, the most used tie knots are only 4: the Windsor knot, the half-Windsor, the simple and the small. The Windsor knot is reserved for great formal occasions.What is the most popular tie? ›
The Four-In-Hand knot, also known as the school boy knot, is the champion of necktie knots. Simple, easy to tie and versatile hence it is the most common of knots. It is an asymmetrical one that's relatively small and narrow, it suits if not all, then most collar types.