Attaching homasote?

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by spitfire, Apr 25, 2003.

  1. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Here's my question, and it's a pretty basic one.

    What do you do to attach 1/2" homasote sheet to a plywood base? Adhesive? If so what kind works best? Do you also use any nails or screws to hold in place while the adhesive is curing?

    I started off with white styrofoam, but decided it was a bad choice and I've ripped it off. I used construction adhesive and it left quite a mess. I've mostly gotten the crap off, but not totally and I'm wondering how forgiving a layer of homasote would be. I'm attaching a pic of the current state of the plywood, so you can see the glue that's still there.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance!

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  2. farmer ron

    farmer ron Member

    Val, do you have access to a heat gun?? Looks like a hair dryer but blows very hot air, try this on the glued area and go at it with a paint scraper at the same time. Just heat the glue, slowly and carefully, to soften it and try scrape more of it off. Good luck.
    As far as putting homasote or other type of board down,I use dona cona board as can not get homasote here on the west coast, with the glue area sticking up this will cause the homosoate to stick up if the glued area is too thick. I use one inch screws and put my top board down with that, I do not glue it down. I cut out scene areas where I put a group of buildings down, a large building scene, or do a park scene so I can work on them at the workbench when I want to, this way I can take and place them in and out when required. Makes it a little easier to do detailing etc at the workbench rather that leaning over something on the layout. I also cut some of the top board out to add coutour to the ground, low spots, ditches, swamp areas etc. , just cut it out and take it out, do not have to scrape it off the glue. Ron..
  3. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Hi Val,
    I use glue which is a contact adhesive (Evostick or Bostick thats what it's called in the UK) comes in tins or tubes. The other way would be to use small 3/4" wood screws to hold it in place.
  4. davidstrains

    davidstrains Active Member


    I use wood screws through the BOTTOM of the plywood. That way there are no holes in the top. Learned that trick after I had put down the first sheet screwed through the top.

    It is a good idea also to paint the homasote with your latex basecoat to seal it. Helps keep down expansion due to moisture swelling. Should be painted on both sides and all edges.
  5. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Val, I felt so sorry for you with all that mess to clean up I went ahead and cleaned up some for you. :D :D :D

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  6. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Thanks folks! Think I'll use some glue and some screws and will paint the homasote first. Very good advice.

    Jon - LOL - if only it were that easy! Btw, you missed a spot!

  7. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    I vote that after you clean-up the glue mess you throw away the homasote (too expensive and messy and doesn't deaden sound all that well) and go with styrofoam which you attach to the plywood with Elmer's white glue and can be cleaned up if need be with warm water and my goodness this is one more long sentence! Whew, I need a nap after typing that one. :D :rolleyes: :D
  8. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    I agree totally with Tyson. I tried homosite once and couldn't get rid of it fast enough. The reason, I wanted to cut roadbed foundation and used different types of saws. A good knife struggled to cut it. Finally used a jigsaw and the mess was unbelievable. I still have the homosite stored and have no idea what to do with it. Like Tyson suggests, use 1/2 inch styrofoam and white glue. Works like a charm for me.
  9. CSX6638

    CSX6638 Member

    If you stay with the homosote you cut it with a sabre saw using a knife blade , not a blade with teeth,and you will not have the dust problem, use dry wall screws to fasten it to the plywood, holds homosote better than wood screws, if you screw from the top fill the depression with spackle, and paint both side and the edges with 2 coats of flat latex to prevent moisture absorbtion, paint a light tan color so if any base shows thru your landscaping it will look like earth. Hope this helps.
  10. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I use Homasote without the plywood. Yeah, I'm different.
    I've been playing with a green contact cement lately. It cleans up with water (they claim) and doesn't have any objectionable fumes. Got mine at Canuckski Tyre. They were using it at the demo next to mine at the train show to glue styrofoam layers. It does stick like mad at first touch if you aren't careful.
    And use the knife edge blade to cut Homasote. I buy them when I see them because they aren'y always in stock (as in, usually aren't).
  11. Mike R

    Mike R Member

    This is a puzzler....everyone is trying to help Val as best they can, and everyone thinks their recommendation is best.
    So Val has to be Solomon in this, to truly take best advantage of all the suggestions, and combine ALL of these methods.[;)]

    So, it's half-inch foam, glued to the plywood, covered with pre-painted Homasote that is glued down to the foam, with woodscrews driven from below, and drywall screws driven from above. Some portions of the foam/Homasote/plywood sandwich will be screwed-but-not-glued [removable], and a few areas of plywood should be removed to provide unsupported homasote.
    Wow...sounds like too much work Val, you will probably have to not go along with everyone. [:D] [:D]

    Every single one of the methods recommended does work, I've used all of them, and quite a number of others as well.
    If one already has Homasote, it might be as well to use's pretty expensive these days. I've noticed it getting heavier and heavier over the last 30 years or so, too. [;)]
  12. TR-Flyer

    TR-Flyer Member

    Hi Val:
    Remember, screws act as vibration transfer points for road noise. If you use them, consider limiting them to a few points on the perimeter. Try Elmers or rubber cement for attachment issues where you are cutting the table top to raise or lower the "earth".

    Was your "white styrofoam" bead board? You know, when you rub the cut edge the foam comes apart into a thousand little balls, hense the name. If so, try extruded styrofoam, ususally a pink or blue color. This material will not bead when it is cut. It also doesn't hold screws or nails as well as homasote. Gluing track and other materials seems to work best with foam. I liked the elmers tip posted here a ways back. Especially the fact you can wet it again and remove the affixed item.

    Extruded board is what the folks are using when they carve mountains, rocks, etc. out of foam.

  13. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    HI Val, I use #8x3/4 wood screws to attach the Homasote to the 1/2" plywood. I drive mine in from the top.... 'cause I'm what if it makes a hole or indentation?....the scenery will cover it up.:) I don't worry about painting it either....Homasote is made out of paper and you don't have any problems getting scenery material to stick to it using white glue.
  14. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Holy Cow! I seem to have more information than I bargained for - not that I'm not grateful of course to everyone who replied. Thanks guys!

    Here's the situation as it now stands. I have already bought the homasote and painted it with latex primer to seal it. Next I am going to lay down some glue and screw it here and there as well - at least until the glue is set.

    I'll be driving the screws in from the top cuz I'm lazy too, and as Vic says, the scenery will cover the holes. Also, I don't trust the holding power of screws coming up through the plywood into the homasote. The other way is stronger IMHO.

    Ted, the foam I ripped out was indeed the white beaded stuff - what was I thinking?????? Anyway - it's gone now. I'll use what's left of it for hills I guess, since I cover all that stuff with spackle anyway.

  15. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    The important thing Val is that you are moving ahead and getting closer to the fun parts of a layout like track laying and scenery building. Will look forward to seeing your progress.
  16. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Hi Val, When I use homasote I use white glue and use sheetrock screws to hold it down tightly until the glue dries, then remove the screws, fill the indentations with spackle if they are under where I lay track but that's because I'm spiking hand laid track and don't want a hole where I might need a spike. With flex track you probably wouldn't need to fill them. But, if you want a ballast shoulder you will either need to carve the homasote (not fun) or wind up using roadbed (cork or other). I've come to think if I'm using roadbed anyway, why use the homasote? For me, the ideal solution has been the use of Homabed, roadbed made of homasote. Much better than cork for handlayong because it holds spikes better than cork, but for flex track, cork, being more readily available, could just be used on the plywood. Well, have fun!

  17. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    Once again I find Gary has the same answer I would have given, and for the same reasons. I started using Homasote for roadbed, because I was hand laying track, and the Homasote gave the best sound deadening, while also providing good spike holding abilities. I have always used white glue to secure the Homasote to plywood, and sealing the Homasote to prevent moisture absorption is a "stitch in time".
    With the flex track, ballasted, almost any roadbed can be used, and it really comes down to whatever you find easiest to work with.
    I'll probably go on using Homasote, just because old habits are hard to break.
    Hope that glue comes up without too much trouble, and you don't have to resort to "chainsaw".:D :D
  18. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Gary, that was like a mini-clinic. Thanks!

    As for me, I don't think I'm going to be able to use white glue at this point. It seems I just ain't got the patience for any more glue-scraping :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes: So it's either- get a new sheet of plywood - or use that same thick glue i used for the stupid foam in the first place. Hmmmm.

    Here the ultimate look I have in mind - or at least, my inspiration.

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  19. RailRon

    RailRon Active Member

    Perhaps a silly question, Val: If you can't scrape off that glue - couldn't you just turn over the whole board and use the other side for the next try to glue down your homasote?

    Nobody will look under your layout, so who cares about these few glue strings? (And if somebody complains about that - throw the nit-picker out! :D :D :D )

    Ok, I know, this would be only possible if you still have a plain rectangular sheet of plywood. But if you already cut the shape of your yard... :(

  20. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Val, If you can stick with it and scrap/sand off that glue residue, that would be best, assuming, as Ron said, that your plywood is already cut to shape. If not by all means flip it over. For the typr trackage in that photo, here's what I would do, based on what I wish I had done after I did it differently: Lay out where the tracks will be on the homasote and draw them on it. Remove the track and use a rasp or similar tool to remove some of the homasote between tracks, not much, but some to avoid a flat table look. Then paint a ground color to seal. Then lay the track. This will vastly improve appearance and is much easier than trying to remove some material after track is laid--believe me!


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