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Polesaver Sleeves Prevent Ground-Line Decay In Wooden Utility Poles

Ground-line decay accounts for over 95% of wooden utility pole failure and is one of the highest costs to utility companies.

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Apply Polesaver Sleeves

Quickly and easily apply Polesaver Sleeves to exclude all the causes of ground-line decay

Create A Total Barrier

Polesaver Sleeves make conventional ground-line decay impossible, thus ensuring pole strength is maintained over the life of the pole

Reduce Your Costs

Polesaver sleeves significantly reduce inspection, repair and replacement costs, giving you the lowest cost pole option and an expected pole life of 50+ years

Image showing a cut-away of a Polesaver sleeve on a wooden utility pole

How Do Polesaver Sleeves Give 50+ Year Pole Life?

    • Polesaver sleeves are non-toxic, composite barrier sleeves, they feature a dual-layer construction with an outer thermoplastic sleeve and an inner, meltable bituminous liner.
    • Upon heating, the liner melts, and the outer sleeve shrinks down tightly onto the pole to create a tough, air and watertight seal to the pole surface.
    • This seal permanently excludes all the factors necessary for wood decay to occur, whilst preventing loss of wood preservative. Polesaver makes conventional ground line decay impossible.

What Are Polesaver Sleeves Made Of?

Polesaver patented sleeves are a dual-layer non-toxic barrier sleeve consisting of an outer thermoplastic sleeve coated with an inner, bituminous thermoplastic sealant. There is a high performance adhesive strip to one edge to allow the sleeve to be wrapped around the pole and adhered to itself before heat application.

Inner Bitumen Sealant

The inner, thermoplastic meltable bituminous sealant is a complex blend of bitumen (asphalt) and over 20 other additives engineered to provide a durable and long-lasting seal to the pole surface. Its meltable characteristics mean that when the sleeve is heated, it melts and penetrates the pole surface, bonding the outer thermoplastic layer to the wood, creating the air and watertight seal required to prevent decay.

Outer Thermoplastic Sleeve

The outer, thermoplastic sleeve consists of a material that has a proven track record in severe ground-contact barrier applications for over 50 years.

Benefits Of Using Polesaver Sleeves

Polesaver Sleeves allow wooden poles to perform like concrete, steel or composites at a much lower cost

Improves Safety

Improves safety for staff who have to climb poles and the public exposed to the potential danger of falling poles and live cables

RFID Tags Built In

RFID (Radio-frequency identification) tags with a unique electronic serial number are embedded into each sleeve, allowing easy asset tracking and management

Learn More About Polesaver's RFID Tags

Prevents Pole Failure

Maintains full pole strength over time thus preventing pole failure and outages in bad weather

Substantial cost savings

Polesaver sleeves are low in cost; they give substantial cost savings by reducing the requirement for inspections, pole remediation and replacement.

Click Here For Your Free Cost Saving Report

Lifespan & Strength Evidence

Based on independent EN252 field test data, Polesaver Sleeves are proven to maintain the pole’s strength over time.

Ground line decay means that typical wooden pole loses strength over time and once below the 50% strength threshold; pole replacement will be required.

Polesaver Sleeves make conventional ground line decay impossible, thus ensuring that pole strength is maintained over time.

Our sleeves are the only proven and independently tested the product on the market that ensures pole strength is maintained over-time at the critical ground line section, improving safety and grid reliability in bad weather.

Click Here To Download Test Report

(*based on independent EN252 field test data, full report available on request)

Polesaver Sleeves Are Proven In Volume Use

Reduce Likelihood of Termite Attacks

Termites are typically attracted to decaying wood as this is easier for them to digest. By preventing ground-line decay, Polesaver sleeves reduce the likelihood of termite attack saving your poles from attack and failure in termite prone areas.

Independently Tested

Polesaver Sleeves meet the requirements of A.W.P.A. P20-18 BP1 Barrier products and have been independently tested to the following standards: A.W.P.A. E1-97, ENV 807 and EN252, all with zero decay/termite attack (full test reports available)

Click Here For Test Data

Reduce Costs & Environmental Impact

Not only do Polesaver sleeves reduce your costs by extending pole life, but they also help you achieve a reduction in CO2 emissions

User Case Study: Latvenergo (Latvia)

Pole material: Pine

Preservative treatment: Water-Based Copper

Average pole life: 20 years (previously CCA)

Pole replacement rate: 30,000 poles per year

Reason for using Polesaver Sleeves:  Required an assured 40+ year lifespan when switching to a water-based copper preservative.

A selection of other Polesaver partners

Want To Learn More? Contact Us For Further Information

Why Do Wooden Utility Poles Decay?

Ground-Line decay accounts for over 95% of wooden utility pole failures. Learn more about why it happens below

Rotten wooden utility pole


Preservatives Lose Effectivness

Traditional wood preservative tends to lose effectiveness over time at the critical ground-line section of the pole.


Repeated Wetting & Drying Cycles

This loss of effectiveness is due to oxidation and loss of chemical preservative as a result of repeated wetting and drying cycles.


Conditions for Decay Are Ideal

Conditions are ideal for decay at the ground-line where there is a plentiful supply of oxygen, moisture, warmth and wood-decaying organisms. These factors are not present deeper in the ground.


Decay Occurs

This plentiful supply creates the perfect conditions for wood decay and pole failure to occur at the mechanically critical ground line section of the pole.

How Do Polesaver Sleeves Prevent Decay?

In Detail

  • Ground-line decay occurs in the upper 150mm or 6” of the ground, where all the factors necessary for decay to occur are present. These include wood-destroying fungi of which there are around 30,000 different types, wood moisture content > 25%, oxygen, nutrients and ground temperature higher than 10 C° (50F°).

  • Deeper in the ground, the temperature, nutrient and oxygen levels are generally too low for decay to occur. Above ground exposure to air drying generally ensures the moisture content of the wood is below the 25% level at which decay can start making decay highly unlikely. Above and below the ground line, wood preservatives are highly effective at preventing decay.

  • Polesaver Sleeves create a long-lasting air and watertight seal that permanently excludes all the factors necessary for wood decay to occur. They also prevent any loss of wood preservative in the protected zone giving enhanced “double” protection over time.  The watertight seal also seals to the pole surface behind the sleeve and lowers the entry point for moisture from the ground severely limiting “wicking” of moisture up the pole. This seal ensures that the sleeve keeps moisture content in the upper part of the sleeve below the 25% threshold at which wood decay can start.

  • Polesaver Sleeves provide total long-term protection; they make conventional ground line decay impossible, thus ensuring that decay is prevented and pole maintains its strength over time. Each sleeve is made of high quality, proven materials and is guaranteed for 50 years.

  • Termite attack of poles can be a problem in many parts of the world. Termites are generally attracted to decaying wood as this is easier for the termites to digest. By preventing decay, Polesaver has proven to be effective at reducing termite attack of poles. Learn more about preventing termite attack.

Comparison Of Partial Vs Full Barrier Sleeves

With different types of sleeves available, learn more about the difference and importance of using full barrier sleeeves

Partial Barrier Sleeve

Partial barrier sleeves are wrapped around the pole at the ground line section and are either heat shrunk, tacked in place or fixed using self-adhesive bands at the top and bottom of the sleeve to adhere to the pole surface.

Partial barrier sleeves do not seal the pole surface behind the sleeve and do not exclude all of the causes of wood decay (moisture, oxygen, nitrogen and decaying organisms). Moisture can track up behind the outer sleeve to form a damp band at the top of the sleeve where decay can start.

Full Barrier Sleeve (Polesaver)

Polesaver full barrier sleeves consist of a heat-shrinkable outer sleeve lined with a meltable bituminous thermoplastic sealant.

Polesaver sleeves are wrapped around the vulnerable ground line section of the pole and heat shrunk in place. The bituminous liner melts and seals the pole surface behind the sleeve to create an air and watertight seal that excludes all the factors necessary for wood decay to occur. The seal to the pole surface ensures moisture cannot track up behind the sleeve to form a damp band at the top of the sleeve, thus preventing decay at this point.

How Do Wooden Utility Poles Compare To The Alternative Materials?

A typical wooden utility pole stores around 320 kg of CO²!

Extending utility pole life naturally reduces the pole replacement rate, as well as allowing for increased inspection intervals. This reduction in pole replacement means that using Polesaver sleeves can significantly reduce your CO² emissions.

The manufacture of poles from alternative pole materials such as steel, concrete or composites generates significant amounts of CO², while not necessarily offering longer pole life than equivalent a Polesaver protected wooden pole. In terms of the lifetime cost, a Polesaver protected wooden utility pole is the lowest cost option with the lowest environmental impact of all pole materials available.

Below are some typical examples of CO² production for different pole types (full report available on request).


CO2 created per 1000 poles =

+1460 tonnes*


CO2 created per 1000 poles =

+784 tonnes*


CO2 created per 1000 poles = 

+867 tonnes*


CO2 absorbed per 1000 poles =

-316 tonnes*

*Source Conclusions and Summary Report on an Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Utility Poles Prepared by: AquAeTer, Inc

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Peter Williams - Polesaver International Sales Manager - Round Image

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Peter Williams - Polesaver International Sales Manager - Round Image
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+44 (0) 1452 688094
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Peter Williams - Polesaver International Sales Manager - Round Image
(Reply in 48hrs)

+44 (0) 1452 688094
(9-5pm GMT Monday – Friday)

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