ceiling tile roadbed

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by cyclotourist, Feb 27, 2006.

  1. cyclotourist

    cyclotourist New Member


    I have a bunch of acoustical ceiling tiles lying around. (the 1 foot square kind that staple to the ceiling) In the spirit of recycling and frugality I'm considering using them as roadbed for a flat yard area. I would glue them upside down to the plywood baseboard. Has anyone tried this? Is it a crazy idea.

  2. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Don't see wht not, for a flat yard they should workfine. You can also use them, torn roughly and carved up a bit then stacked, as rock cuts.
  3. RailRon

    RailRon Active Member

    Welcome to the Gauge, David!

    Do you mean this soft, brown material which was used for noise insulation? It is made from wood fibers (I think). Don't know how you call that stuff, but here in Switzerland we used to call it 'Pavatex'. It was sold in form of tiles for walls and ceilings, but you also could buy large panels. Ok, today most people go for pink or blue foam, but I still have some panels around and I'll use it for my second narrow gauge yard.

    There is a drawback, however: When you'll start landscaping or ballasting track, the material will absorb water and starts to swell. This would throw all your track out of gauge, so you have to make the surface waterproof. I achieved this by applying clear boat lacquer to the whole surface, and I didn't have any problems with swelling after that.

    The pic shows a a part of a module which I built with this material (thickness about 3/4") - and it worked fine. The Pavatex panel is screwed to a wooden lattice work. On this module I tried my hand at track laying, and it works fine: You can glue the wooden ties directly to the surface, and the material takes and holds the track spikes very well. You also can shape the surface easily by digging into it - but then don't forget to re-waterproof the trench with lacquer before you use water in this spot.

    In the pic the track is laid, but there's no landscaping done yet. The lacquer shows: It was applied sloppily, so the surface looks somewhat splotchy.


    Attached Files:

  4. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    Deja vu used them in the 60's(think those ones had abestos ) they do work:)
  5. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Off-topic but "WOW!"

    I've never seen a wye reverse loop built like that, squeezed into such a tight space. Cool!
  6. babydot94513

    babydot94513 Member in training

    I like the idea and have thought of it before. I just wish that the ceiling tiles were of sizes that were too large and I could cut them to size - for example, a 4X8 sheet that you could cut out a 48" x 30" piece.

    This product would be far more use friendly than foamboard that does not like certain glues, paints etc.


  7. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    Foam's big advantages compared to other materials are weight, relative rigiidity, and stability in the presence of moisture (water-based glues and paints). Drawbacks are very limited compatibility with other than water-based adhesives and paints, availability, and cost.

    Ceiling tiles are almost the opposite of foam in many respects - they are very cheap, they MUST be sealed against water and moisture intrusion or they will swell, they are not all that light, and they have relatively low inherent rigidity - must be supported by very closely spaced or sheet supports.

    Where the advantages of foam don't mean much, and you are willing to seal against moisture intrusion and properly support it, there is nothing wrong with ceiling tiles.

    yours in construction
  8. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    ron, I just looked at your website, and WOW! That is going to be a cool layout! It is Ho/HOn3, I assume?

  9. RailRon

    RailRon Active Member

    you're right. So far I finished the H0 standard gauge part - this was my project for the actual layout party going on. I'll hope to post more pics here and on my website in the near future.

    The completed track length of the narrow gauge (H0n3) will be much longer than the standard gauge. Looks like I'm not out of business for quite a while! :D:D

    BTW, as you see in the track plan, I'll use the same crossed over reversed wye like in the picture above. And yes, the town of Trim Creek will be constructed on this acoustic tile material (which will be mounted on plywood).

  10. cyclotourist

    cyclotourist New Member


    Thank you all for your comments. I hadn't thought about the moisture issue--major issue avoided! Hopefully my old tiles aren't filled with asbestos!!


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