Cork vs. Woodland Scenics foam roadbed?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by andywyeth07, Sep 9, 2006.

  1. andywyeth07

    andywyeth07 Member

    just wondering what would be better to use. and the pros and cons of each.. thanks
  2. modelmaker9

    modelmaker9 New Member

    I have always used cork, but you could go aheade and give woodland scenics a try, it might even be easier to bend and form
  3. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    I like woodland scenics foam track bed, although, I have never used cork.

    The ws track bed is very easy to shape and make bend around corners for tight radius. You just simply cut down the seem in the middle to make tight corners.
  4. andywyeth07

    andywyeth07 Member

    Does cork really dry out? my dad was wondering that
  5. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    At my LHS they have test strips of both for comparison. The WS is really quiet. The cork provides almost no sound dampening. If that's a factor then I'd recommend the WS. I was really sold on it after hearing the difference.

  6. KCS

    KCS Member

    I've never used the WS foam bed but I've tinkered with it a bit. Yes it does reduce noise. Yes it does bend easier but isn't as tough as cork. In a way cork does dry out but it takes a longgg time.
  7. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    I have use both and prefer the WS roadbed of late..I prefer using the N Scale rather then HO because it gives the track a lower roadbed.
  8. andywyeth07

    andywyeth07 Member

    if i went w/ that foam would i glue and nail it down? I have 1 inch foam under all the track
  9. I have always used cork on my layouts, and if you really think about it, are trains supposed to be quiet?:D LOL, just kidding though!
  10. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    If I were going to hand-lay my track, I would use cork over foam. But then if I were hand-laying, I would use Homasote.
    For pre-made track, I would go for foam. Foam should be glued, top and bottom, for best results. Gluing ballast on will transmit sound down to the sub-roadbed.
  11. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    David has given you a lot of good info. I have had cork dry out and crumble on me, it took about 5 years in both cases. The last lot I bought was in 1988, maybe things have improved since. But I'm not buying more to find out.

    If the glued ballast shell touches the subroadbed - the plywood or extruded foam underneath the cork or foam roadbed - the noise reducing characteristics of the roadbed are lost. This is especially true if using the much cheaper diluted white or yellow glues. The quietest combo I have seen and not heard is my favorite - Homasote combined with diluted matte medium to glue the ballast (assumes track nails or any screws do not go all the way through the Homasote).

    my thoughts, your choices
  12. jasonboche

    jasonboche Member

    I'm also using traditional cork roadbed on top of 2" extruded foam sub roadbed. I used Elmers wood glue (the yellowish stuff). Wood glue will resist water which you will be spraying on when ballasting. Don't want your track to come lose and get distorted or kinked when in the process of ballasting!

    By the way, I also tested WS foam roadbed and it seemed just fine also. I guess I went with cork because I considered it more traditional and also cost might have been a factor. WS claims their foam roadbed reduces noise better than cork. Jury is out on that one for me.

  13. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    I use cork, and the only problesm i ever had was getting it int he right spot, but then again i rushed to get it down, so thats my own fault.

    In any event, I think a combination based on height would be a good idea. for example, Mainlines usually sit higher up than spurs, which would be lower. Use higher roadbed for mainlines, and smaller for sidings, spurrs, and industrial tracks.
  14. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    Great idea :thumb: :thumb:

    I used elmers white glue for gluing down to foam. All I had to do was let it sit for a couple of hours and it was not going anywhere.:D :)
  15. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    lol, i tired the elmers stuff, and it didn't stick (cork bumped up). I finally got tired of it and just nailed it all down, lol. That was also a bad idea, because if i didn't shove the naile deep into the cork, it would cause the track to not sit right, and all the usual problems of kinked track ensued. I think i solved all of those kind of problems, but to be sure, when i go lift up my track to re-wire my track for signalling, i'll check and make sure there isn't anything else to worry about.
  16. andywyeth07

    andywyeth07 Member

    i think i'm going to go with the foam road bed. thanks for all of you help!
  17. bassbuster

    bassbuster New Member

    Good idea Andy, foam roadbed is better than the cork bed in many aspects.

    1. It is more durable, will not flake or crumble over a period of time.

    2. Will make your layout more quiet than cork.

    3. Can do tighter curves without any compromise where cork can't.

    4. A little easier to use when attaching to wood, foam or what ever substrate you are using.

    Just my opinion and I used cork road bed for years.
  18. gthomp10

    gthomp10 New Member

    I used WS foam on my layout. Mainly because I too was impressed with the demo in my LHS of the sound quieting aspects. In retrospect though, once ballasted, I'm not so sure that it is any quieter than cork.

    I really like the stuff. It is easy to work with, easy to cut and curve, and easy to fill in around turnouts. I tried gluing it down with Elmers and was not happy with that because I couldn't get it to stick well to the pink foam. I then tried using the same foamboard glue that I used on the pink foam and it works great. Just spread a bead and trowel it out thin with a putty knife. Pin it down with some T-pins and it is ready to go in about an hour or so. I tried using low-temp hot glue and that works great too. The only problem is, you have about 15 seconds to get it set right. After that, it's not going anywhere. If you're going that route, make sure it is low-temp hot glue.

    For gluing the flex track down to the foam, it use the same foamboard glue. Spread it very thin. If it looks like there's not enough glue, then it's just right. Lay your flex track on it and pin it down with T-pins about every 6 inches and it will be ready to go in about an hour or so. I also tried using low-temp hot glue. That works for sticking it down and you can lay track really fast. However, the hot glue would bead up between the ties making it difficult, if not impossible to lay ballast and make it look right.

    One problem with WS foam is that it won't hold nails or spikes. Which means it is only useable with flex or sectional track.
  19. ejen34

    ejen34 Member

    I think foam is so pliable that I am glad I choose it :thumb:
  20. Clerk

    Clerk Active Member

    I have used cork roadbed for years until my last layout. I tried the WS foam. I agree with all of Bassbusters points. Just one drawback. I could not get ballast to stick on the WS foam. I ballast abour half my layout and within a couple of days the ballast started peeling off. I did not have this problem with cork roadbed. I used the deluted white glue and really soaked the ballast. I am at a standstill now. Do I rip up all my track and replace the foam with cork or just not ballast at all. I used some leftover cork in my switching yard and had no trouble with the ballast.

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