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Glue for attaching roadbed and track

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Glue for attaching roadbed and track
Posted by cats think well of me on Tuesday, August 31, 2021 9:49 AM

Hi all,

I'm going to be at the track laying phase soon with my shelf layout (the glue has finally dried on the Styrofoam base!) 

Anyway, for roadbed I'm using Woodland Scenics Roadbed, and track will be a combination of MicroEngineering and Central Valley track (as ME turnouts are quite rare right now), what are some of you all's favorite adhesives for bonding the roadbed to styrofoam and track to the roadbed? 

Alvie

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Posted by rrebell on Tuesday, August 31, 2021 9:57 AM

First off don't use the Woodland Scenics roadbed, it is too giving and can't really be shaped for transitions. Either way you want to use siliconized latex caulk such as DAP. There are lots of latex caulks and some like painters caulk are too crumbly for our uses.

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Posted by dknelson on Tuesday, August 31, 2021 9:58 AM

I use cork for roadbed but do use the Woodland Scenics risers or whatever they are called in  select situations.  

I use flexible adhesive caulk from a tube in a caulk gun, very thin bead of caulk don't overdo it, spread very thin by using an old plastic card such as the fake "Your Name Here" plastic credit cards you sometmes get in the mail.  I then use a small roller meant I think for wallpaper to really press down into the caulk.  I use the caulk sparingly at turnouts,  mostly at the three extreme ends and well away from the throwbar.  That is not only to keep the throwbar easy to move, but make the turnout more possible to pry up intact in the future if it should come to that.

The caulk I use comes out white but dries clear (and shiny clear).  Some guys prefer the caulk that comes out gray.  

If curves are tight or the track is otherwise balky I will pin it in place while the caulk sets. 

Remember that most ballasting methods will additionally adhere track to roadbed.   

Woodland Scenics makes a squeeze bottle white cement for foam that is surprisingly stickly on all sorts of surfaces, including plastic ties on track.  A bit pricey for track laying on a large layout.

Dave Nelson

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Posted by cats think well of me on Tuesday, August 31, 2021 10:35 AM

Thank you for responses guys. I've been rethinking my decision to go with WS roadbed and use cork roadbed instead. Anyone use camper top tape as a subroadbed under the cork and does it help deaden sound? Or would I do okay with just cork on top of styrofoam? 

Alvie

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Posted by jjdamnit on Tuesday, August 31, 2021 1:16 PM

Hello All,

I have my preferences for roadbed but I refrain from telling people what not to use.

The Woodland Scenics foam roadbed has worked well for me since 2014.

Like any other material there are definitely tips & tricks for success.

To adhere the WS roadbed to the foam base I use GE Clear Silicone Caulk. There are two (2) Types:

  • Clear Silicone I is their "standard" silicone caulk.
  • Clear Silicone II touts that it is, "Rain-Ready in 30 minutes."

Both require a caulk gun for application.

I really haven't seen a huge difference between the two. They both take 24-hours to fully cure.

An advantage of using silicone caulk is if you need to remove the roadbed after it has fully cured it comes up without damaging the roadbed or the foam base.

Removing the silicone residue is as easy as peeling up the cured silicone. The foam base is actually cleaner after this. Trust me on this one, I know.

To get an even layer of silicone caulk I apply a thin bead down the centerline. Then I use a 2-inch plastic putty knife to evenly spread the caulk.

After placing the roadbed I use 2-inch "T" pins to hold it in place and allow it to cure for 24-hours.

If there is any excess along the edges it cleans up with a paper towel.

To set curves I split the roadbed down the centerline.

Next, I place "T" pins along the centerline on the foam base as a guide. Depending on the sharpness of the curve I might place "T" pins as close as a few inches apart.

Again, I place a bead of silicone caulk down the center of the halved roadbed and spread it thin with the plastic putty knife. If there is any excess caulk I leave it on the centerline.

I prefer to set the inside of the curve first by aligning it to the "T" pins set on the centerline.

Once in place I use more "T" pins to hold the curve in place.

Then I set the outside of the curve using the same technique.

I let the caulk cure for a minimum of 12-hours before removing the "T" pins and trimming the ends flush to continue on with the next section.

On my pike I have curves as tight as 15-inches in HO.

To attach the track to the roadbed I use #19 x 5/8-inch silver wire brads through the nail holes in the track. These will hold the track in place long enough to test your track.

After I am completely satisfied with my track plan I ballast the track in place and remove the brads.

Check out this thread on an alternate method of ballasting track. It has worked successfully for me.

Instant Track-Tackit Ballast Adhesive Questions

As far as sound deadening, in my experience it's not so much the roadbed.

Once the ballast has dried; forming a "shell" over whatever roadbed you choose, it still transmits the sound of the train through the ballast to the base.

The foam base will help keep the noise down better than attaching the roadbed directly to a plywood-type sub-base.

Hope this helps.

 

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

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Tuesday, August 31, 2021 1:38 PM

I use WS foam roadbed. DAP Alex latex caulk works very well for roadbed to foam risers or plywood sub base and for track to roadbed.

Cork has no advantages over foam as far as I can tell. Foam roadbed is very easy to use and can be cut with a WS foam knife, exacto, utility knife, box cutter or scissors. It's available in sheets of two widths for yard areas and custom shaped turnout roadbed.

Foam also absorbs and dissipates noise. Styrofoam amplifies noise even more than plywood.

Alyth Yard

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Posted by tstage on Tuesday, August 31, 2021 1:38 PM

Use DAP Alex Plus Acrylic Latex Caulk with silicone.  Apply thinnly with spatula - Holds very well.  Cost: $2.50 to $3.00/10.1 oz tube @ Lowe's or HD.

Tom

https://tstage9.wixsite.com/nyc-modeling

Time...It marches on...without ever turning around to see if anyone is even keeping in step.

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Posted by rrebell on Wednesday, September 1, 2021 8:04 AM

I needed to go from cork level to tabletop level in a foot or so, you could never grind down WS roadbed for this transition. I do use a lot of other WS products though for inclines and have three hot wire tools from them, only hot wire tool made that stays in the safe zone as far as toxic gasses.

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Wednesday, September 1, 2021 8:15 AM

You can slice WS foam underlay horizontally for transitions like that using the WS foam knife with the long blade.

A better solution might be to fit a WS incline foam riser to make the transition.

Alyth Yard

Canada

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Posted by markie97 on Saturday, September 4, 2021 6:10 AM

I've started helping out on a friend's very large layout and he uses Aleene's Turbo Tacky Blue. Works well and track can be popped up using a thin bladed tool later if needed. Easier to use than the caulk type products in a tube.

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Saturday, September 4, 2021 8:29 AM

markie97

I've started helping out on a friend's very large layout and he uses Aleene's Turbo Tacky Blue. Works well and track can be popped up using a thin bladed tool later if needed. Easier to use than the caulk type products in a tube.

 

This is a PVA glue (white glue) and the product details suggest it creates a strong permanent bond. We've used WS version "Foam Tack" glue which is PVA modified with something that makes it suitable for gluing foam. We found that PVA sticks stuff down very firmly compared to latex caulk. Using caulk we can lift track with our hands if necessary and foam underlay just peels off usually cleanly. In fact the foam underlay can be peeled up and moved a bit and re-stuck to latex because it stays a little tacky for quite awhile under foam underlay. 

When you say "popped up" do you mean off a foam base or foam underlay or are you referring to off a wooden or cork base?

Alyth Yard

Canada

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Posted by rrebell on Saturday, September 4, 2021 8:40 AM

One of the problems with caulk is not with the caulk per say but the many, many types of caulk and I notice that when people say use caulk they are not specific in type and though many types will work, there are centain ones that will work better and a few that will barely work like painters caulk, I won't even use that for painting and I have painted a lot in my life including entire apt buildings inside.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, September 4, 2021 9:12 AM

Well, I don't use foam in any way shape or form, I want track on a firm, carefully engineered base.

Homasote roadbed or wood roadbed is my choice, on a sub roadbed of 1/2" or 3/4" plywood.

After spreading a thin film of my prefered adhesive caulk, I found that homasote roadbed can be installed rather effectively with a pheumatic brad nailer.

Then the track is attached with that same clear adhesive caulk.

I prefer clear original formula PolySeamSeal.

https://www.amazon.com/Loctite-Polyseamseal-10-Fluid-Cartridge-2154740/dp/B00CYMXI10/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=clear+polyseamseal&qid=1630764176&s=hi&sr=1-3

This method has served me well for over 20 years. 

Because I build layouts with deep scenery, benchwork and roadbed needs to support my weight from time to time. Foamboard is not acceptable, neither is soft compressable roadbed.

 

 

Starting a new layout that will be built the same way.

Sheldon 

    

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Posted by mreagant on Saturday, September 4, 2021 9:43 AM

Ok. I can be a bit of a contarian when it comes to the'standard' way  model railroad stuff is done, but I have a hard time understanding why I need to go buy a tube of caulk when I've got a big bottle of Elmer's glue an arms length away. I put a line down the middle of cork roadbed, being careful at turnouts, and then used off the shelf track nails every few holes in the ties.

There's an advantages to this method in that, if the tracking needs to be adjusted or even removed, it comes up easily.

I can't imagine a situation where the track would move enough to get out of alignment that, if track nails are used, it will be a significant issue.v

My two cents.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, September 4, 2021 10:50 AM

mreagant

Ok. I can be a bit of a contarian when it comes to the'standard' way  model railroad stuff is done, but I have a hard time understanding why I need to go buy a tube of caulk when I've got a big bottle of Elmer's glue an arms length away. I put a line down the middle of cork roadbed, being careful at turnouts, and then used off the shelf track nails every few holes in the ties.

There's an advantages to this method in that, if the tracking needs to be adjusted or even removed, it comes up easily.

I can't imagine a situation where the track would move enough to get out of alignment that, if track nails are used, it will be a significant issue.v

My two cents.

 

There are lots of methods that "work" fine.

I don't have big bottle of Elmers Glue......

I don't use track nails on the track that is glued, not even while installing it.

That product I use takes a tack very quickly and is thick, so it holds even curves in place rather quickly. A few weights hold the track in place until it is dry.

I don't glue turnouts, They have just a few track nails and are largely held bythe ajoining track.

Changes? My civil engineering skills are better than that.

And no, I have never bothered to reuse track that has been fully installed with ballast, paint, etc. 

Sheldon

    

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Posted by markie97 on Saturday, September 4, 2021 11:08 AM

Lastspikemike

 He uses wood and cork.

 
markie97

I've started helping out on a friend's very large layout and he uses Aleene's Turbo Tacky Blue. Works well and track can be popped up using a thin bladed tool later if needed. Easier to use than the caulk type products in a tube.

 

 

 

This is a PVA glue (white glue) and the product details suggest it creates a strong permanent bond. We've used WS version "Foam Tack" glue which is PVA modified with something that makes it suitable for gluing foam. We found that PVA sticks stuff down very firmly compared to latex caulk. Using caulk we can lift track with our hands if necessary and foam underlay just peels off usually cleanly. In fact the foam underlay can be peeled up and moved a bit and re-stuck to latex because it stays a little tacky for quite awhile under foam underlay. 

When you say "popped up" do you mean off a foam base or foam underlay or are you referring to off a wooden or cork base?

 

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Posted by jjdamnit on Saturday, September 4, 2021 1:10 PM

Hello All,

rrebell
One of the problems with caulk is not with the caulk per say but the many, many types of caulk and I notice that when people say use caulk they are not specific in type and though many types will work, there are centain (SIC) ones that will work better and a few that will barely work like painters caulk...

I agree!

Walk down the "Adhesives" aisle in your Local Hardware Store or Home Improvement Center and the array boggles the mind.

That's why I specified...

jjdamnit
To adhere the WS roadbed to the foam base I use GE Clear Silicone Caulk. There are two (2) Types:
     •Clear Silicone I is their "standard" silicone caulk.  
     •Clear Silicone II touts that it is, "Rain-Ready in 30 minutes."

mreagant
I have a hard time understanding why I need to go buy a tube of caulk when I've got a big bottle of Elmer's glue an arms length away. I put a line down the middle of cork roadbed, being careful at turnouts, and then used off the shelf track nails every few holes in the ties.
There's an advantages to this method in that, if the tracking needs to be adjusted or even removed, it comes up easily.

I have no experience gluing down WS foam roadbed with white (or carpenters) glue to a foam base.

However, I have used carpenters glue on styrofoam. I stacked and glued 1/2-inch sheets together to form the elevated section on my pike.

Once dried, I doubt the layers would separate without damaging the foam.

If the OP is switching to cork roadbed on foam I suggest he do a test section to see if the cork will cleanly separate from the base.

Another reason some don't use silicone caulk is the smell. This has been a deal-breaker for many.

Good luck with your project, let us know what worked in your particular situation, and as always...

Hope this helps.

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

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Posted by mreagant on Saturday, September 4, 2021 3:34 PM

I left out a couple of details in my post. My layout is built almost entirely on recycled hollow core doors from my home remodeling project that was done a year or so before before it was started. Roadbed is cork and it's glued to the door and then track is white glued to the cork and track nails are used occasionally.

I'll confess that, being human, I've made mistakes and more than a couple in this building process. One of my favorite sayings is " I'm nothing if not flexible"  Track that is.

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Posted by jjdamnit on Saturday, September 4, 2021 4:26 PM

Hello All,

mreagant
I left out a couple of details in my post.

Welcome to being human and most of all admitting it!!!

Cork roadbed on a hollow core door- -typically Luan-type plywood- -with Elmer's glue makes sense.

In your situation silicone caulk and foam roadbed could be a problem.

Thanks for the clarification.

mreagant
One of my favorite sayings is " I'm nothing if not flexible" Track that is.

Yeah, I know what you mean (see my signature).

Hope this helps.

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

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Posted by ctyclsscs on Saturday, September 4, 2021 8:14 PM

If it was me, I would use either Alene's Tacky Glue or Weldbond, which is pretty much the same thing. They both look like Elmer's glue except that they dry flexible. One nice feature is that you can wipe off any excess with water before it dries. I used it on our display layout which has sat in our van from 0 to 100+ degrees with no problems. And since they come in a squeeze bottle, I think it's much easier to use than caulking.

Jim

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Sunday, September 5, 2021 8:17 AM

One thing about Weldbond, it's a very strong adhesive. I use it as carpenters glue instead of the weaker yellow stuff. Weldbond also needs to dry and will not dry fully if applied between two large area non-porous surfaces.

If you use glue under or on top of WS foam track underlay you can't lift and reuse the foam underlay. Even WS Foam Tack glue won't let go of the underlay. 

Alex Plus latex caulk from DAP is the stuff to use on both sides of foam underlay. It sticks well enough, separates when you need it to, often stays tacky enough for long enough to allow for re-use. Some of our latex caulk is still slightly tacky after more than a year.

Being a latex type product it cleans up easily with water. Once set it peels up if you really want to remove it.  It dries clear if you buy the clear stuff.

I've also used  coloured silicone based caulk because I had some left over from a tile sealing job.  It works in much the same way but has the characteristic smell of these sealants and is stronger which is not an advantage in these low load situations. I don't recommend silicone if you have access to latex based caulk. It doesn't clean up with water and in fact is a nuisance to clean up.  

 Very little grip is required to keep track from movement or lifting. 

Alyth Yard

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Posted by tstage on Sunday, September 5, 2021 9:48 AM

Lastspikemike
Alex Plus latex caulk from DAP...often stays tacky enough for long enough to allow for re-use. Some of our latex caulk is still slightly tacky after more than a year.

Maybe in western Canada.  When applied thinly, the Alex Plus Acrylic Latex Caulk w/Silicone has an approx. 30-45 min working time for repositioning cork or track before it starts to set up and cure.  Within 24 hrs it has completely cured and holds very well.

Alex Plus uses acetic acid as the curing agent.  That's why it smells slightly vinegary when first applied.  When I've pried up on a section of track with a wide putty knife using steady & firm upward pressure, I've never found any still tacky caulk underneath.

Tom

https://tstage9.wixsite.com/nyc-modeling

Time...It marches on...without ever turning around to see if anyone is even keeping in step.

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