Everything on model trains, model railroads, model railways, locomotives, model train layouts, scenery, wiring, DCC and more. Enjoy the world's best hobby... model railroading!

Impressive Backdrop Building For Your Layout – Very Realistic!

Foundation Material for Model Railroad Layout

John asks readers:

“I am seeking Pros & Cons of using solid 2″ insulation for my N scale layout base please?”

13 Responses to Foundation Material for Model Railroad Layout

  • Donsays:

    I am using both. 2 inch can be used with very little suport, a perimeter framework. It is very rigid. 1 inch is better with a lattice like a bed frame.I also mount 1 inch on 1/2 inch plywood for flat areas such as yards. Some people make very lite portable layouts without any suports. Both can be bonded with Liquid Nails for Projects. It is also good for bonding roadbed and risers. Track can be bonded with DAP caulk. Latex paint, flat works well with it. Lastly, I have been able to spray paint it with Rustoleum 2X for plastics. Test your foam first, it may not work with all foams.

    • Johnsays:

      Don, wonderful suggestions. Greatly appreciated.

      Thanks, john

  • The Salty Smithsays:

    2″ foam works great as a base, it is easily glues together to create elevations and easily carvable to make streams and rock formations. Foam readily accepts plaster, paper mache, paint and is easy to plant trees and fences into. Myself I lay a base of homasote then build up the foam as this gives me the sound dampening I need, remember to glue down as much as possibe with as few mechanical fastners as possible. Nails and screws will trandfer sound down to your base structure. 2″ foam is also great to moisture resistance.

    • Johnsays:

      Salty Smith Thanks. Members response & suggestions have extremely helpful.

  • David Broadsays:

    Don’t use a solid 2″ base, Nothing says toy train more than a flat baseboard. Use L girders and maybe 1″ insulation over 1/2″ ply for the track bed, but keep the area with no tracks low or higher than the tracks. That’s the way to make your road a model not a toy train.

    • Johnsays:

      David, your input is greatly appreciated.
      Thanks, John

  • William Hardardtsays:

    I have a 4×8 n scale layout on foam . It has worked well . Quiet easy to handle ,just poke your trees etc in and it stays. Only drawback is it dents, don’t drop your tools or engines on it . Bill

    • Johnsays:

      Bill, appreciate your response. Never thought about potential denting. Definitely leaning using insulation.

  • Ron Scannellsays:

    I agree with everything Don says…but I admit I didnt know about Rustoleum 2X, I will have to try that. I am using 1 inch foam (should have 2 inch). Mounting switch machines can be a problem…I have seen articles that show cutting a hole large enough for the swich machine, mounting it on a piece of plywood and imbedding it under the switch. I also recommend you get a hotwire tool for cutting the foam (try your local craft store).

    • Johnsays:

      Ron, sound, constructive suggestions.
      Thanks. John

  • J E Wilsonsays:

    I have a 6′ x 11′ layout and have used essentially every type of base and build up there is. Some is base of homasote for the yard area and the rest is either wood girders with foam build up, or base of foam and built up from there with various types and thicknesses of foam. Foam is very easy to shape with a knife or hot wire foam cutter, after getting the rough shape of the mountain wanted I build up with rock molds of plaster or foam ant then I finish mold areas with ‘sculpt a mold’. I think that you will enjoy the foam a lot, I certainly do. My layout is HO, HOn3, HOn2 1/2 (N scale track) and Z gauge for a low mining area far far away. Have a bunch of fun with it.

  • Lloydsays:

    Use thicker than 2 inch of you plan on having underpasses ( for clearance ), and to have depth for deep rivers cuts.

  • Lloydsays:

    Go thicker than 2″ if you won’t to drop the track, have under passes ( for clearance). Or deep river cuts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Add a photo or image related to your comment (JPEG only)

N Scale Track Plans

Watch Video

Scenery Techniques Explained

Use Tiny Railroad Micro Controllers

A micro controller is basically a small programmable computer device to help the model railroader “make things operate.” It is clever way to realistically replicate the movements, actions and functions you are likely to see on a full size railroad.

Watch These Club Videos

Club members access helpful new resources each month: diagrams, video tutorials, articles, track plans and more. Watch the tour videos here.


Download Your Free Catalog

Model Train Help Ebook

Model Railroad Building House Plans

rail yard buildings

Model Train DCC HELP


Submit Your Model Railroading Questions!

Before you submit your model railroading question please add some feedback, answers or comments to other postings on this model train blog. What goes around comes around... so if you can help others in the hobby, someone else may help you.

Important - Please add plenty of supporting details to any question you submit (eg. scale, solutions you have already tried etc.) , as the clearest and best questions usually get the best answers. Also, please check your spelling and punctuation as all questions need to be approved by the blog moderator prior to publication. Approved questions are normally published within a week (if not sooner).

Submit your model train questions here.

Scenery & Layout Ideas


Submit Your Article

Would you like to write an article and have it published?

Preference will be given to articles that help others progress in the hobby, maybe suggesting an idea for their layout, a quick tip or two... or perhaps a little bit of good advice based on your model railroading experiences.

We are all in this hobby together, so the more we can do to share ideas and help each other, the better.

Submit Your Article Here

Model Railroading Blog Archive

Reader Poll

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.