Seal Wall made of Rail Road Ties


  #1  
Old 05-10-04, 10:34 AM
A
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 62
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Question Seal Wall made of Rail Road Ties

We have just built an under ground wine cellar using an 8 foot round corrugated metal culvert (10 feet long) with the back wall made of a stack of railroad ties. The top has about 3 feet of soil on top. The ties have been treated with creasote (SP?). Because we'll be storing wine in there and don't want our wine to taste like creasote we want to seal the ties in some way.

We'd prefer to be able to see the wood, and so want to use a clear product (but will use paint if that's our only choice).

Our question: what type of product will adhere to the rail road ties and seal in the smell?

We're thinking an oil based polyurethane type product which we have left over from refinishing some floors, but don't want to make a mistake and have a huge gooey mess if it doesn't work right.

Any help is greatly appreciated!!
 
  #2  
Old 05-10-04, 03:41 PM
prowallguy's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: St. Louis MO
Posts: 2,597
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
The oil poly should work fine. I've never attempted to paint treated ties but I think it will work. Testdrive a brush full of poly in a lower corner out of sight. Check and make sure it dries down good before proceeding with the whole thing. It may take a couple of days to fully dry so don't be discouraged at first.
 
  #3  
Old 05-10-04, 05:02 PM
GregH's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Manitoba
Posts: 10,195
Received 52 Votes on 48 Posts
Exclamation Unfortunate mistake

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but you have created a great hazard.

Creosote has long been known as a serious carcinogen. Even in todays "everything causes cancer" mentality this is something to be taken seriously.
You and whoever enters this space and your home if attached is at risk.
There would be no way to properly seal this and should be removed.

Here is some info, and this is a subject that you will have no trouble researching further.
 
  #4  
Old 05-10-04, 07:55 PM
prowallguy's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: St. Louis MO
Posts: 2,597
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
Good call Greg, I remember haering about this, but it never crossed my mind when thinking of sealing it. I guess I need to get my head out of the paint bucket once in a while.

Think twice about the tie wall.
 
  #5  
Old 05-11-04, 04:13 AM
B
Member
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: United States
Posts: 2,535
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I, too, am skeptical

Count me as one that doubts you can seal the ties. Creosote is a nasty product.
I suggest writing Minwax and asking their opinion first.
I'd also contact zinsser and get their opinion about using one of their primers.
 
  #6  
Old 05-11-04, 08:26 AM
A
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 62
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thank you all for your comments and cautions.

We did some research on creosote before deciding on using the ties and based on the application and location, we weren't concerned too much about the hazard. The space is going to be used for wine storage only, is not attached to the house and is no where near a water source to be contaminated. These are old reclaimed ties from a local yard and all but one is dry as a bone.

Since the thing is already built (and 12 feet deep in the side of a hill) it's too difficult right now to tear it up and start over.

We're planning to do a test spot with oil poly and see how that goes. Also considering covering it with stucco or similar.

Thank you all.
 
  #7  
Old 05-11-04, 12:35 PM
GregH's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Manitoba
Posts: 10,195
Received 52 Votes on 48 Posts
alkeeney,

I'm surprised that after researching creosote you determined it would be ok to use in a habited area.

I want to assure you that I am not an alarmest and use the stuff myself but under different conditions.
I have a few railroad bridge timbers, 10" x 16" that I have used for landscaping.
One in particular is nearly white from being in the sun but on hot days the smell of creosote near it is quite strong.

I would only encourage you to cover it with poly and seal it as best as you can because I know for a fact that if left exposed, the smell in that sealed room would be overpowering.

'nuff said.
 
  #8  
Old 05-11-04, 06:18 PM
A
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 62
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Hi Greg and thanks for the warning.

Just wanted to be clear that this is NOT a habitated space. I would never put rail road ties in the house or in an attached structure!

The wine cellar is for long term storage and we probably won't go in there more than once a month for just 5 or ten minutes at a time. It's located at least 20 feet away from the house at the side of a hill. The back patio is on top of it.
And we have to go around the long way around the side of the hill to get to the entrance.

Anyway, we sprayed on oil poly this afternoon and have a carpet drying machine blowing the air around in the cellar to see if the smell goes away. Right now it just smells like oil poly!

Thanks again for all the great advise.
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description: