Blue Foam as Roadbed?

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Gary S., Jan 6, 2007.

  1. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    My layout shelves are covered with 2" blue foam. As for roadbed, I had planned on glueing cork roadbed on that, but I got to thinking about another possibility. What if I glue the track directly to the blue foam and then carve the foam surface down, leaving the roadbed an integral piece of the foam? Regardless of which method I use, the foam is going to be carved up some anyway, just to eliminate the "flat as a board" layout syndrome.

    One concern would be noise factor. I have experimented with both methods, and didn't hear much of a difference in the sound levels.

    The cork roadbed method may be a bit easier and would require less carving of the foam. Any thoughts?
  2. viperman

    viperman Active Member

    I'm gluing cork on my foam. Haven't run any trains yet, so no idea on the sound difference, I just like the look of the cork, and it's easier than carving EVERYTHING else lower
  3. Thoroughbreed

    Thoroughbreed Member

  4. fsm1000

    fsm1000 Member

    I just handlaid my track to the foam. But then again I am doing a narrow gauge so it looks right.
    Take a look see if it helps.:)
  5. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Will you be carving the surrounding foam to leave a raised roadbed?
  6. kitsune

    kitsune Member

    There will be a noise differance, unless you're also using, say, ply underneath the foam. That may deaden it a bit. One big thing is cork is far easier to hold track down on. It's also prototypical for bringing it up higher. You may also try Bill Darnaby's trick off the Maumee, and use unsplit N-scale cork for a lower profile.

    Personally, carving foam is one of the less fun aspects of the hobby, and I would really hate to *have* to carve it basically everywhere.
  7. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    It could be done as you suggest but it will be a lot of unnecessary work.
  8. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    I am convinced. I will be using the cork road bed. Thanks guys!
  9. slufoot733

    slufoot733 New Member

    I used the cork-on-foam system on my last layout (which never really got finished) and it worked great. But, that was only on my main lines. For my sidings and the branch line I skipped the cork roadbed and glued the track right on the foam. It lowered the track from the main a little and saved me time and money (for the cork). The end result worked fine for me. As for the sound....couldn't hear any difference.

  10. John P

    John P Member

    I'm in the process of re-doing my layout, I'm using 2" foam on top of plywood and laying cork under the track, main lines & sidings, I secure my track to the cork and foam with 2" stick pins with a hook bent on the end which hooks on a rail tie, one on each side of the track opposite to each other at 8" to 18" spacing. This may seem odd and looks a little out of place until the pins are painted and track is ballasted but the big advantage is the ease of removal and flexible for future changes. I might have a problem with committing LOL :>)
  11. Dansco

    Dansco Member

    Iv not used cork, or any roadbed before, a few points came up that interest me.

    First: Using N scale roadbed? This sounds cool to me, I like the lower profile in spots.. any one have any examples etc?

    Second: How do most folks fasten the track to cork if its laid on foam? I assumed that just nails would be enough, but now Im uncertain....

  12. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Nails are not enough - in fact they don't do anything to help the foam adhere to the cork. You should use an adhesive of some sort - latex caulking is good, as it accepts paint and can be "undone" if necessary. A thin layer is all that is needed. You can use pins (the long T-sheped type work well) to keep the cork in place while the caulking dries. Then you can glue the track to the cork using the same caulking - again a very thin layer.

  13. Kevinkrey

    Kevinkrey Member

    For the glue, I used constrction adhesive to attach the cork to the foam, and elmers white glue all for gluing the track to the cork.​
  14. rogerw

    rogerw Active Member

    Dont forget to use a foam friendly adhesive like liquid nails projects & foamboard adhesive.
  15. jmurphy148

    jmurphy148 Member

    Foam source

    Where did you get your foam sheet. I need a 4'x8'x2" sheet and can't find it anywhere locally. Unless of course I'm searching for the wrong thing. Neither Lowes or Home Depot seem to have it.

    Help please,
  16. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the stuff seems to be very difficult to find in warmer climes, especially California and Florida... I hope someone more local can point you in the right direction!

  17. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    There's a thread here somewhere about a gauger who found it in California under a different name or something. Maybe somebody remembers it and can point you to it.

  18. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    I've found that hand laying turnouts directly into foam is a nightmare. I'm never going to hand lay directly on foam again...the cork on foam worked 10x better.

    For non-hand laid track work, I'd definitely use track directly on foam in many places...anywhere were the main lines are elevated.
  19. MidnightRR

    MidnightRR Member

    Unfortunately, it is much harder to find in warm climates like yours than where it gets cold. We can get it everywhere, including HD and Lowe's.

    You might try Googling "Dow" or "Dow-Corning insulation dealer" or something like that.
  20. Dansco

    Dansco Member

    Thanks All,
    It sounds that the gluing cork to foam and then glue track to cork is the best practice.

    Any tips and techniques for building the layout "temporarily", fully testing the layout by running trains over grades, through turnouts and radii, etc. before gluing!


Share This Page