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Gluing cork roadbed to foam base

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Gluing cork roadbed to foam base
Posted by dslack490 on Friday, January 11, 2019 2:35 PM

This may seem like a stupid question, but I am about to glue down my cork roadbed to my foam base. I have seen people say that foam safe caulk is the best way to go. My question is, can I use tacky glue, like Elmer's Craftbond Tacky Glue instead of caulk and still get a comparable result?

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Posted by mbinsewi on Friday, January 11, 2019 3:18 PM

I don't see why not.  I used caulk, but that was my preference, just regular latex white.

If your unsure, do a little test section.  Not sure about the spray variety that Elmer's has.  You just want an adhesive that won't attack the foam, and anything solvent base will melt it.

Mike.

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Posted by wvg_ca on Friday, January 11, 2019 3:49 PM

i know that elmers spray adhesive wont attack foam itself ,  but DAP foam safe caulking [in a large tube] is a fair bit cheaper  .. i used clear and white DAP cauking on foam to foam, and foam to plywood ..with a squeeze gun

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Posted by Bayfield Transfer Railway on Friday, January 11, 2019 3:51 PM

Is it too late to tell  you not to use foam?  Tried it, hated it, will never touch it again.

 

Disclaimer:  This post may contain humor, sarcasm, and/or flatulence.

Michael Mornard

Bringing the North Woods to South Dakota!

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Posted by dslack490 on Friday, January 11, 2019 4:48 PM

Bayfield Transfer Railway

Is it too late to tell  you not to use foam?  Tried it, hated it, will never touch it again.

 

 

 

Yes. I put it on first just in case if I wantred to carve out for a river.

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, January 11, 2019 4:49 PM

2 layouts with foam, no issues. No excess noise, either. I just used cheap caulk, but other stuff shoulkd work. I suspect caulk for the cork to foam and also for the track tot he cork plays a part in not making it noisy, but it didn;t get any louder when I ballasted, either.

                                          --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by dslack490 on Friday, January 11, 2019 4:50 PM

mbinsewi

I don't see why not.  I used caulk, but that was my preference, just regular latex white.

If your unsure, do a little test section.  Not sure about the spray variety that Elmer's has.  You just want an adhesive that won't attack the foam, and anything solvent base will melt it.

Mike.

 

I didn't think of doing a test section, but I may just end up going with foam safe caulk

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Posted by UNCLEBUTCH on Friday, January 11, 2019 5:11 PM

IMO. tacky glue is well, tacky. May be hard to spread. And willcost more.

Plain ole latex chaulk works well

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Posted by BigDaddy on Friday, January 11, 2019 5:25 PM

Probably is too late for him not to use foam.  A lot of people like foam, I didn't even know it was a controversy.

The question is a "reinvent the wheel question." 

Elmers says: "The durable, clear-drying wet tack glue that offers a long-lasting bond, and post-drying flexibility. Safe and non-toxic, this glue won't run and is ideal for multi-purpose craft projects involving porous and semi-porous materials.

It's virture of post drying flexibility isn't needed and neither the track nor the foam are porous.  

The questions are: is it foam safe? Some glues eat into the foam.  Does it make a good bond between non porous surfaces?  Can track be easily removed, as with caulk, if there is a need to change or tear down the layout? 

If you have a supply of tacky glue, it's probably worth while to try it on a piece of scrap foam.  Otherwise it's a more expensive product  with uncertain results.

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by dslack490 on Friday, January 11, 2019 5:34 PM

Thank you all for the replies, and it looks like I should just go with foam-safe caulk. 

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Posted by BATMAN on Friday, January 11, 2019 5:55 PM

I used caulk for the most part and that was fine. In one area I had painted the foam with cheap latex paint from Walmart and months (if not years) later I pinned down some cork on top of the latex paint and a couple of weeks later I went to peel it up to caulk it down and it was on there solid, as was the track I had just laid down on the painted foam without cork for a yard. I did peel up a bit of track and the paint stuck to the track, not the foam.

I have no problems using foam, I am in the "use what's good for the situation" camp. I have used several different methods on my current layout. Foam, wood, steel, iron, Spline and cement board. Once the ground cover is on it all looks the same. 

Brent

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

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Posted by jrbernier on Friday, January 11, 2019 7:28 PM

  White glue or Tacky is water based.  Spray water over it and the roadbed will start to loosen up.  Clear RTV is much cheaper and does not get affected by water when you are doing scenery work!

Modeling BNSF  and Milwaukee Road in SW Wisconsin

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Posted by mbinsewi on Saturday, January 12, 2019 10:43 AM

Good point Jim, didn't think of that, and I didn't use the spray bottle method to set my ballast, I used the eye dropper method, so it got "wetter".  That could cause a problem with white or tacky glue.

I always figured white or a tacky glue to be a temporary, or removavle fix anyway.

Mike.

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Posted by doctorwayne on Saturday, January 12, 2019 11:42 PM

It's always amazed me that so many folks seem to use extruded foam sheets for layout building, but also use such a variety of glues and caulks not necessarily meant for such use.  That some of them work is, I guess, a good thing, but if you're using foam, why not use an adhesive made expressly for use with foam? 

LePage, and likely others, too, make such an adhesive.  The LePage's version is PL300 for Foam Board. 
While my layout is mostly open grid with plaster-on-screen landforms, the partial upper level is open grid covered in 5/8" plywood, and in areas where I want more elevation for the track or simply some lightweight scenic contours, some extruded foam sheet, stuck to the plywood, or as layers of foam, using this product, works great.  It's applied with a caulking gun, doesn't melt the foam, and sticks to anything like...well, never mind that expression.

The elevated track for the coal and sand dump-shed sits atop a foam embankment...

...and I plan to use more foam to create some rock cuts, too.

Wayne

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Posted by BATMAN on Sunday, January 13, 2019 12:05 AM

Wayne, I use PL300 on the foam and nothing is coming apart if glued with it.

Using caulk for cork roadbed means it can be coaxed off with little or no damage with a paint scraper. When stacking foam for mountains I have found the mountains will wiggle somewhat if bumped if I have used caulk to glue the stacks together, this helps to minimize any damage that may occur with a bump. 

When I was using PL300 to glue my foam to the grid work the instructions said to press into place and pull off to let it breath for a few minutes. I am glad I got it in the right spot the first time as it was not comin off to breath for no man.Laugh

A wiggly foam rock cut.

  

 

Brent

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

https://www.youtube.com/user/BATTRAIN1

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Posted by doctorwayne on Sunday, January 13, 2019 1:57 AM

Nice rock effects, Brent.

I'm going to have a go at creating Niagara Escarpment rock faces - limestone, shale, and various colours of clay.  A nearby club has a nice how-to, which looks pretty simple to do, and with decent looking results, too.

Wayne

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Posted by Medina1128 on Monday, January 14, 2019 8:39 AM

I've used a variety of materials for scenery. I use a thin layer of acrylic latex caulk to hold down my cork roadbed and track. If you have to remove the track and roadbed, you can slide a putty knife under the track and roadbed, but doing so usually removes some foam. It's just a matter of using some joint compound to fill in and sand the hole to a flat surface again.

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, January 14, 2019 11:58 AM

 When I first started experimenting with extruded foam, I took to hear twhat all the articles said - use something like the PL-300 construction adhesive. They don;t carry that in the big box stores around here, but they do have Liquid Nails for Foamboard. I tried it - HATED the stuff. It adhered poorly to the foam, dried rock hard and cracked. That's when I switched to latex caulk and never had a problem again. Latex caulk worked for everything - I even stuck a Tortoise to the bottom of the foam with latex caulk, no screws, no square of wood - and it wasn't coming off for nothing. I was eventually able to break it off, but applying so much pressure that it would ne next to impossible for it to accidently get that much force applied - and the caulk didn;t break loose even then - the whole thing came off with a small chunk of foam still glued to the top of the Tortoise. 

 Track has been very easy to remove from cork when glued down with latex caulk. Because the trick is to use a VERY TINY amount - just a bare coating is all it takes, spread out so thin it's almost not there. Even springy Atlas flex sticks in place, yet gently sliding a putty knife under the track removes it without damaging the track or the cork. ANd soaking with diluted glue and alcohol when ballasting does not make it let go, even though it's latex caulk with no silicone.

                                    --Randy                                     


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Monday, January 14, 2019 9:26 PM

What do you use to spread the caulk so thin?  Putty knife?

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Posted by UNCLEBUTCH on Monday, January 14, 2019 10:19 PM

MidlandMike

What do you use to spread the caulk so thin?  Putty knife?

 

I use thouse sample credit cards, but just about anything would work. Stiff cardboard,scrap plastic,piece of wood ect. I prefer something I can just toss when done

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Posted by kasskaboose on Tuesday, January 15, 2019 8:22 AM

Count me as another foam proponent for all the reasons mentioned.

For attaching cork, I use cheap Elmer's glue.  It's also easy to remove.  Lifting cork is something that occurs often for me.

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Posted by BigDaddy on Tuesday, January 15, 2019 8:24 AM

kasskaboose
For attaching cork, I use cheap Elmer's glue. 

Elmers white glue can "bleed" through the top and glue any weight you have holding the cork.  Wax paper solves that problem

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, January 15, 2019 12:39 PM

 I don't even use weights with caulk just a few push pins, mostly at the ends and joints to keep the edges from lifting. Within a half hour or so, it's dry enough to take out the pushpins and lay the track on top.

 I use a putty knife, but those fake credit cards work too. The ones I've been getting lately are barely laminated paper though and have absolute NO stiffness. I don't think those would work as well.

 There's a trick when using full size tubes of caulk - the nozzles are usually marked with rings to use some cutters to open up, but even the smallest of those is far too large for our purposes here. Might be great for caulking windows or your bathtub, but we want to dispense SMALL amounts. So what I do it use my rail nippers (the nozzle is plastic, MUCH softer than nickle silver rail, so it won't hurt the nippers) to snip off bits of the end until I just get an opening. Now comes problem #2 - the tubes are sealed with a foil cover over the end, way down at the tube end of the nozzle. WIth the 'normal' size holes, the most common thing to do is poke a nail through it. Can;t do that with the tiny opening - so I use a piece of my #20 solid feeder wire - that's the size of hole I have in the end. When you do this, what comes out is a VERY narrow bead of caulk, a thin line. Spread that down with a putty knife or tool of your choice, and that's PLENTY of caulk to secure the roadbed or track - I tend to spread it less to secure the cork to foam, since it doesn't show, but for track, spread it out to almost invisible. Small gaps here and there won't hurt anything either. In no case, cork to foam or track to cork, should there EVER be caulk oozing out anywhere. On the track, it should not come up on the sides of the ties. It takes very little to hold the track, and I ran trains for months before ballasting, which further secures the track. Years in some places - I never did get the whole thing ballasted before moving. ANd even after having it carried down 2 flights of stairs and loaded in a moving truck, the ncarried in my new basement - none of the track EVER came off. Yet if I gently lifted the track and slid a putty knife under it, I could pull up whatever I wanted with no damage.

 All of this is why I am sold on caulking track instead of nailing it. Especially with many modern brands of flex track not having nail holes by default. TO sit there and drill nail holes on top of everything - more power to you, I'll have 3 or 4 more sections of track laid while you're still sitting there with the pin vise drilling nail holes. Using caulk is not limited to building on foam - it will secure the cork or even the various homasote roadbeds to plywood just as well.

                                     --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by Track fiddler on Tuesday, January 15, 2019 10:44 PM

I'm agreeable with everybody using caulk to put cork down to foam. I'm sure a card works great as an applicator.

When I put my cork down I put a dotted line down the center of it with the caulk gun and used a wallpaper seam roller back and forth and it applied it really evenly. I had a center line on my foam and put my cork down with T pins.

I used Dap Alex Plus. It's the cheapest caulk at the big box stores but it's all you need. It's foam safe and if you want to take your cork back up and move it, you can.

I use polyseamseal to glue foam to foam. It outperforms the blue foam adhesive. The stuff's like super elastic bubble plastic it never comes apart.

Everybody has their own chosen methods that work for them. It's all about sharing ideas. I've switched to other things people have used hereWink

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Posted by MidlandMike on Wednesday, January 16, 2019 1:41 PM

Doesn't the caulk gum-up the roller?

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Posted by BigDaddy on Wednesday, January 16, 2019 2:02 PM

MidlandMike
Doesn't the caulk gum-up the roller?

You can wash it off before it drys or peel it off after.

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by jjdamnit on Wednesday, January 16, 2019 2:08 PM

Hello all,

I use G.E. Silicone I or II Clear caulk.

The difference between the two is set time. The Silicone II is "Rain-Ready" in 30-minutes.

Silicone I recommends a 12-hour set time before exposing to moisture.

I allow both to cure for 24-hours before laying track on the roadbed.

My base is blue foam and I use Woodland Scenics foam roadbed.

The advantage of using silicone caulk is that if you need to reposition the roadbed the silicone does not eat into the base or roadbed. The roadbed can be peeled up and the residual caulk on the foam or roadbed can be rubbed off with your fingers.

MidlandMike
What do you use to spread the caulk so thin?  Putty knife?

I bought a plastic putty knife set and the 1-1/2-inch wide one is the perfect width for roadbed.

For straight sections I put a bead of caulk down the center line and spread it as thin as possible before positioning.

To hold the road bed in place while it cures I use "T" pins.

For curves I place the "T" pins along the center line of the radius approximately 3-inches apart as a guide.

For the split roadbed, I put a thinner bead down and place the outeside radius first.

Then I secure the outside radius with more "T" pins.

For the inside radius I use the "T" pins to hold the roadbed in place against the outside radius.

I don't cut the ends of the curves flush; allowing them to dove-tail into the next curved section. I only cut the ends flush when they meet a straight section.

Cleanup is done with warm water and a lint free rag.

Hope this helps.

 

 

"Uhh...I didn’t know it was 'impossible' I just made it work...sorry"

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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, January 16, 2019 3:53 PM

 I don't think there's any difference in the behavior of latex caulk compared to silicone. And that horrible acetic acid smell of silicone caulk - no thanks. I made the mistake of getting a tube to seal up the cracks around the window in my old basement. That was a worse smell than ANYTHING I ever did in the basement model railroad related. For caulking the OUTSIDE of my house - no problem. I would always use silicone caulk, it lasts longer than latex when used for exterior things. But latex rubs right off the materials like the cork or the track, and it doesn't need 24 hours to set up. 

                                       --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by Track fiddler on Wednesday, January 16, 2019 4:47 PM

MidlandMike

Doesn't the caulk gum-up the roller?

 

Hey Mike.... surprisingly no,  after it builds up a little bit on the roller it works even better. When you're done it washes up good with hot water.

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Posted by Track fiddler on Wednesday, January 16, 2019 5:10 PM

rrinker

 And that horrible acetic acid smell of silicone caulk - no thanks. I made the mistake of getting a tube to seal up the cracks around the window in my old basement. That was a worse smell than ANYTHING I ever did in the basement model railroad related. 

                                       --Randy

 

 

You got that straight Randy.... Finally someone who understands.

I've hated silicone my whole life. The smell makes me sick to my stomach. I use it as little as possible. Sometimes I have to use it at work when I have no choice.

I don't know what it is with caulk where you always feel you have to get your fingers involved to schmooze it, I'm guilty.  Silicone... I don't care what it looks like after I put it on. I have learned not to stick my fingers in that crap. It gets in your bloodstream through your capillaries and pretty soon you have a stomach ache and actually feel like you can taste it in your mouth.

I hate silicone.        TF

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