Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Transporting Foam Board.

16 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    January 2007
  • 12 posts
Transporting Foam Board.
Posted by CAPRICORN on Sunday, August 29, 2010 4:01 PM

I want to buy an 8x4 foam board from Lowes which is 40 miles away and no way to get it home without cutting it in half to fit in my car. Would it be ok to cut it in half or will I have problems when I try to put hem together flatly on top of my table that I have built

  • Member since
    February 2005
  • From: Southwest US
  • 12,914 posts
Posted by tomikawaTT on Sunday, August 29, 2010 4:16 PM

If you rejoin the cut board along the line you cut, there should be no problems.  If you make the cut where it can be supported by benchwork, fine.  If not, just reinforce the cut by gluing a thin plywood splice plate across the bottom.

The easy way to cut the stuff is to slit it (along a straightedge, please) with a utility knife, and then snap it.

(I knew there were advantages to owning a pickup.  That's why I bought mine 17 years ago...)

Chuck (Modeling Central Japan in September, 1964 - with lots of foam)

  • Member since
    September 2007
  • From: Charlotte, NC
  • 6,099 posts
Posted by Phoebe Vet on Sunday, August 29, 2010 4:23 PM

It fits nicely in my Astro van.

That said, I have not been thrilled with the places my foam butts together.  Perhaps if I had taped them at the seams as suggested above...


Lackawanna Route of the Phoebe Snow

  • Member since
    February 2005
  • From: Vancouver Island, BC
  • 22,542 posts
Posted by selector on Sunday, August 29, 2010 4:27 PM

I agree, just score and snap it along the scores such that the sizes of the foam that are left will fit in the transportation vehicle easily.  I would greatly favour using joists and open frame construction later so that the joins where the sides of the foam sections abut each other are duly supported.  I suppose the thin plywood patch over the join below them might work, but it would not be nearly as strong as using cross bracing or joist-like members in open framework.

When you go to create your terrain and roadbed, the joins can easily be hidden unless they exceed height disparities of about 1/8" or more.  Then you would have to create hedgerows and other natural things to hide the seam.  A roadway, for example, using styrene strips, sidewalks done the same way...a retaining wall...all of these can hide the fact that you have a vertical change along a seam there.  Otherwise, it will have to be some smeared spackle, or acrylic caulking, or even a heavy sprinkling of heavy turf.


  • Member since
    June 2006
  • From: Maryville IL
  • 9,571 posts
Posted by cudaken on Sunday, August 29, 2010 5:29 PM

  Will not be a problem, I have to do it with plywood and foam. I have never tried this at Lowe's, but at Home Depot if you find a damaged piece, if you ask to see the Department Manger you can get 75% off. My last 2 inch by 4 X 8 section cost me around $7.00.

             Cuda Ken

I hate Rust

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: 4610 Metre's North of the Fortyninth on the left coast of Canada
  • 7,366 posts
Posted by BATMAN on Sunday, August 29, 2010 6:17 PM

 Why not buy two 2' x 8's, instead?




It's not the age honey, it's the mileage.

  • Member since
    October 2004
  • 745 posts
Posted by HarryHotspur on Sunday, August 29, 2010 7:40 PM

 I would seriously consider borrowing or renting a van.

- Harry

  • Member since
    May 2008
  • 4,612 posts
Posted by Hamltnblue on Sunday, August 29, 2010 8:57 PM

I brought a couple of sheets home the same way. Just bring a razor knife and score it. Then break it.  If you forget the razor knife they will be happy to sell you one of those as well.

If you have a drywall T or other straight edge bring it along to make the job easier.

Springfield PA

  • Member since
    January 2007
  • 230 posts
Posted by Lee 1234 on Wednesday, September 1, 2010 9:21 AM

Get some foam adhesive that comes in a calking gun tube when you buy the foam sheet.  Rough breaks are easier to line up when you glue it back together.   


  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: upstate NY
  • 9,236 posts
Posted by galaxy on Wednesday, September 1, 2010 9:32 AM

I, too, own a minivan that can carry my foam boards and plywood. Just one advantage of owning a vehicle that can "carry" stuff.

I don't know about your Lowes, or what their requirements/distance allowable is, but my local Lowes also has a pickup truck one can rent I think for just $19.99 {probably plus gas or mileage} to haul big stuff to a work site. Might be worth your while to check it out.

-G .

Just my thoughts, ideas, opinions and experiences. Others may vary.

 HO and N Scale.

After long and careful thought, they have convinced me. I have come to the conclusion that they are right. The aliens did it.

  • Member since
    May 2010
  • From: Georgia
  • 28 posts
Posted by GainesvilleMidland209 on Wednesday, September 1, 2010 10:41 AM

I have always cut my foam boards in half in order to shove them into the van.  As stated above, just be sure that the joint is supported by some benchwork below.  I have a section about 5x14 that has several joints and there haven't been any issues there. 

I also adhere to the rule that no two layers of the layout should have seams or joints at the same location.  If I have a foam joint at one spot, neither the roadbed nor the track will have a joint at that spot.

  • Member since
    January 2007
  • 7 posts
Posted by HoosierDadIndy on Wednesday, September 1, 2010 8:49 PM

When I joined some of my foam pieces together, I inserted popsicle sticks every foot or so and caulked everything together.  One time, I also used old wood paint stirring sticks that I had used to mix paint with in the past.  I cut down the stirrers  to about 5-6" long. 

I push the stirrer or popsicle stick in to make a slot on both sides, caulked the slot and foam edges, stirrer or posicle stick, and then pushed everything together.  I used heavier objects on the outside of the caulked panels to push it all together.

  • Member since
    March 2007
  • 2,751 posts
Posted by Allegheny2-6-6-6 on Wednesday, September 1, 2010 11:00 PM

I purchased two pallets of extruded foam insulation to use in my shop as added insulation. Lowes had one of these summer side walk sales things and only reason I bought two pallets was they sold me the stuff for $1.00/sheet because it was sun faded.I laughed and the manager told me the company says they can not guaranteed it's chemical properties would hold up who am I to argue. So even thought I use it very limited on my railroad and I only have to walk it about 400' to the house I will typical score it and snap it in half just for the simple reason that handling a 4x8 sheet is not at all  an easy thing to do especially if the wind kicks up.which I learned the hard  Would have made a funny video on you tube I must say.

I will agree with the poster who mentioned using the special foam core adhesive I know 3m makes one and so does Liquid nails..

Just my 2 cents worth, I spent the rest on trains. If you choked a Smurf what color would he turn?
  • Member since
    August 2005
  • From: S.E. Adirondacks, NY
  • 3,246 posts
Posted by modelmaker51 on Thursday, September 2, 2010 2:10 PM

For splices I use sprayfoam (like GreatStuff), a 4" wide splice block of 2" foam and 3" sheetrock screws. Spray the splice  block with a couple of beads of sprayfoam then screw one piece of the sheet to be splice to half of the splice block, then add a another bead of sprayfoam to the edge of the other sheet and screw it to the splice block while keeping the joint snug. When the foam is cured, (the next day), you can remove the screws and carve off what oozed out of the joint.. The joint will be as strong as if it had never been there. Spray foam is the best glue for foam and it carves just like the pink or blue foam without leaving seams. I use 3' sheetrock screws to hold/clamp things together until the glue dries so I can keep moving along. Any screws that are visible later I remove and reuse. Oh, to keep the spray foam from drying out in the tube just screw in a sheetrock screw.  Just my 2 cents.


C-415 Build: 

Other builds: 

  • Member since
    March 2007
  • From: N. Padre Island- just off the coast from Corpus Christi TX
  • 144 posts
Posted by LooseClu on Thursday, September 2, 2010 11:24 PM

I drive a Mini Cooper and have a 30 mile round trip to the Home Depot- had to quarter those 4x8 sheets to get them back home.  You will undoubtedly cover the pink or blue foam with something realistic and that should take care of any gaps.  Just make sure the clerk cuts it squarely and you should have no problem.


Roy         Onward into the fog       

  • Member since
    September 2010
  • 4 posts
Posted by bnfanman on Friday, September 3, 2010 1:16 AM

I use a mix of 1 inch and 2 inch foam over L-girder benchwork on my layout.  The 2-inch foam was available in 2 ft x 8 ft pieces which I could fit into my Ford Escort wagon, but the 1-inch foam only came in 4 ft x 8 ft sheets.  If it had been plywood, Ii would have tied it to the top of the car, but the thin foam would have shredded pretty quick.  I had brought along a utility knife, so I laid the foam down in the parking lot at Lowe's and cut it in half.  I found that the foam was thoughtfully pre-scored at the factory at 24 inches on one side and 16 and 32 inches on the other, so it was quick & easy. 

Most of my layout is on 2-inch foam, but I used 2 layers of 1-inch foam in a swampy area where the track is on an embankment above low-lying fields.  I marked out the track centerlines, then measured the edges of the right of way from those.  Using an old hand saw, I cut nice even embankments-- even around a wye junction.  A good planing tool will help with final shaping-- just keep the shop vac handy!  I like a foam base instead of plywood because it's easier to include scenic features below track level.  

I used Liquid Nails to glue the layers together, and to glue the sandwich to the adjoining 2-inch thick foam.  With the messy stuff done, then it was time to start laying track.


Tags: Foam
  • Member since
    January 2010
  • From: NW OH
  • 200 posts
Posted by Jamis on Saturday, September 4, 2010 10:13 PM

Many years ago, it became very apparent to me that I would never own a large vehicle, despite being a homeowner and all.  I built a roof rack that sits on eight 3" suction cups and has two steel cross members.  To the cross members, I bolted two 8' two by fours on their wide sides running lengthwise to the car.  The 2x4' are spaced a bit less than 4' apart.   I added eyebolts to the ends of the 2x4s and to each end of the cross members.  The rack is tied to the car front and back and through the door openings with some 50 lb. test nylon rope.  I have a total of 12 lines securing the rack to the car.  It looks strange but I have been using this rig for over 30 years on several different cars to haul stuff that won't fit inside our compact cars.  The rack is good for about 200 lbs. of cargo due to the strength of the roof sheet metal. It takes me about 20 minutes to attach the rack to the car

My current car is a '97 Honda Civic two door coupe.  This summer I have been hauling oak six panel doors and 12' oak trim home from the local Lowes.  I have hauled bath vanities and other large items as well.  I once hauled an entire patio table and chair set on it.  I use lots of rope to tie things to the rack.  I have hauled sheets of paneling on this rack also.  When not in use, the rack hangs from hooks in the ceiling of the garage above the car.  The point I am trying to make is that even though I don't have a large hauler, and don't need one on a weekly basis, I have something that works when I do.  I think I spent less than $30 to build the rack originally.  That's a buck a year.  Just a thought. 

Jim -  Preserving the history of the NKP Cloverleaf first subdivision.

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Search the Community

Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!