I live in North Carolina. I cannot beleive the price per sheet of 1/2" 4x8 Homasote. The cheapest I can get it is 27.00 a sheet. Is there anything out there other than Homasote that will do? I was thinking of 5/8" 4x8 Particle Board Underlayment instead of Homasote. It is only $18.98 per sheet. Please advise.
How large is the planned layout? You're talking $8 per sheet difference in price. Even if the layout is large (like 20 sheets) that's only $160. What's that, a few freight cars? I always recommend that layout builders use top quality materials. The difference in cost relative to the trains themselves is generally small and a quality layout will make ALL of the trains run better and be more enjoyable.
The layout is shaped like a half dogbone. It is 56' x 24'.
I have decided to use cork roadbed on the subway. The first level will have the homasote over the plywood. That way, I can use plywood and homasote as a base for the main level of the layout. Maybe even deadening some of the sound from the subway.
Homesote in this area is 23 to 25 dollars + tax. It is made in New Jersey. The cost difference quite possibly is a reflection of additional freight expense. I have fuel surcharges on much of my inbound raw material. Get used to it. The financial world is falling apart.
Check for Micore 300 4 x 8 in 1/2" thickness. Featured in Sept. '94 MR.
Not sure of place of manufacture but it is similar in cost and function.
Just a tad more brittle than Homosote but great with spikes.
I agree with Bob and others, it is worth the cost.
While I had no issue using OSB as a cost saver(since I covered it all with homasote), I felt the homasote was worth it. The price was about the same as you noted. As for finding it, I had to do a web search, and it was from a local building supply house, not a big box, they had it in stock, and delivered the same day.
I ran into the same problem. I had always used Homasote, but there was none to be found around my area other than special order at about $30 a sheet.
So I switched.
I started using Temple-Inland's QuietBrace from Home Depot. I used it three years ago to build my first first O-Gauge layout, and I am using it now for my presently under-construction layout. Its price has gone up in the past few weeks, and the price for three sheets I bought today (for a total of 21 sheets, I believe) was $9.29 / sheet.
I cut it with a jigsaw and knife-edge blades or just with a box-cutter knife, which is how I used to cut Homasote - dust free!
I believe it is very similar to Homasote. If in doubt, buy a sheet and try it. I used to paint it before I used it, but have left the last several sheets the natural black color. The cut edge looks like wood.
You may want to take a look at my layout thread - there are some pictures that show the QB painted and unpainted: Alex's Layout
Homasote is a brand name there are other "sound board" products out there. Homasote at HD near me is close to $30/sheet. I found a generic sound board at the Pro Build chain for about $8/sheet. Check around for sound board. It works as good or better than Homasote.
If you use the cookie cutter method a lot less will be used. A lot of work and sawdust but two sheets made about 175 feet of roadbed. Cut actual strips on the table saw and then kerfed the edge so as to make the curves. Where there's a will there's a way.
I can't thank you enough! I went to Home Depot and got one sheet of Quiet Brace. I got it home and it is awesome! I only had to pay $7.97 for it. I noticed that the coating flakes off a bit. It will be better when I paint it. Thank you, thank you, and thank you again! I put a track on it and ran a train over it. It was quieter than homasote and 1/3 the price. I'll post some pics here when I put it on.
Some tips I have learned after using QB for a while.
• The very edges, say for about 1/4", are harder to cut – just be aware of that.
• I usually use a box-cutter knife for the straight cuts, but sometimes use the jigsaw as well even for the straights.
• The coating loads up the sides of the knife after a few cuts. To clean the knife, just scrape the coating off with another knife. Sharpen the knife with a medium coarse stone after a few cuts.
• To cut circular or straight ‘roadbed’ at an angle, I use a jigsaw with knife-edge blades, and the only ones I have found are Bosch T113A3, which I have bought on line (Amazon vendor) for about $12 for a pack of three. I originally bought three packs thinking that they would wear out. Wrong - they really last a long time. I bent one blade – my mistake, and have used ONLY ONE other blade for all the QB I have used for my layout. I do sharpen it with a stone after 8-feet of cut. Takes two or three passes on each side, and the re-sharpened blade cuts better than a new blade!
• The coating on the surface and edges can stain your clothes if you drag an edge against your shirt, for example.
• If you are just a little carefully when handling it, it will not flake off; but if you drop a sheet on a corner, it will break up a bit at the corner.
I’ll be posting some pictures tomorrow as I have just finished all the bench work – frames, plywood, and QB! Almost done with the track as well.
I have also used the Quiet Brace material. Pretty sure it is like what you have shown. It has that black tar like substance on it. I used it just like Homasote and cut strips with the table saw. Worked just like Homasote but was less dense.
In my case I am using track screws from Gargraves through the roadbed and into the wood. No problem holding screws this way. Since it is cookie cutter the only sound I get is from the actual wheels and track, no echo or drum effect. If I want to remove the screws when ballasted it would be fine.
IC Man That is what I used - latex wall paint from HD (or was it Lowe's?).
The first time I used QB, I painted everything brown after installing the QB. One thing to remember is that it is easier to cover the QB if you paint the side that is totally black, without the green letters of brand, etc.
The second time I used it (now) I painted some of it (well, my wife did) grey to make it look like Homasote. I have several pictures of this in my thread in the Layout Design forum.
But then I saw a thread here where someone had painted their grey Homasote black. It looked fine, so I quit painting my QB, and I am using it as is - black. Remember that if you 'crawl' on it, your knees, or pants knees, may get a brownish stain.
I am sure that it is low because the QB is used on homes, apartment buildings, and businesses for sound proofing.The coating is a moisture barrier they put on it to protect the buildings and aid in the sound proofing qualities.
I've been using Homasote for 50 years since we (Dad) built our first layout. You can find it everywhere in the northeast, however, here in Florida I have to travel 100 miles during the week to get it and it costs me $40+ sheet.
Besides its sound damping qualities I like it for its screw holding and ease of making a holes for wires. I use it for my table top.
Cutting it with a saw can be very messy. I use a razor knife, but one needs the strength and weight to do it quickly and easily.
IF you can't get Homosote, Try getting Celotex Sound Stop. It has less structural strength so it doesn't hold a screw quite as well, but your ballast will hold the track in place once it's on. It also sucks up track noise better since that's what it was designed to do. Makes the trains sound better to me, but some folks like the track noise.
Bottom line, more available than Homosote and costs less too!!!
IME, quite frequently, I find out that I usually get what I pay for.
I have used the various sound boards and insulation panels and they can work up to a point. However I keep coming back to Homosote. Just took delivery of another load of Homasote yesterday with even more conviction.
When you build a product for a consumer it behoves you not to use anything that can come back to haunt you. Nothing worse than someone spending years putting hundreds of hours installing a model RR on benchwork you built for them and then discover a building material failure and then come back to the benchwork contractor for resolution.
OTOH, I have found that DIY'ers at times use most anything thay can economically get then overlook resulting shortcomings simply because it is their creation.
Additionally, if flame spread or smoke is a concern absolutely do not use any insulation foam without having at least the required min. 1/2" drywall fire stop for residential exposure.
Jeremy, Homasote, QuietBrace, Celotex, and similar sound absorbing/insulating boards are (normally) used over plywood. These boards usually are 1/2" thick and are not strong enough to serve as a solid base. I use 5/8" plywood under mine, and have also used 1/2"; others may use as thin as 3/8" or as heavy as 3/4" plywood.
However, for my graded track, I used just the QuietBrace under the track, and support it every six inches.
I would recommend 1/2" or 5/8” plywood and Homasote, QuietBrace, Celotex, etc., on top of the plywood.
IC Man- I didnt read every single response but what if you used the 2x3 sheets of drop ceiling tiles? I think they are relatively in expensive compared to homastote. Please check on these at HD and Lowes in your area!
Justin, the ceiling tiles are actually a low grade form of Celotex. Because they do not need to have structural strength, they don't. Yes, they will work to absorb sound by not transmitting it. But there is very little strength to hold screws. The reason Homasote absorbs track noise is because the track is screwed to the Homasote ONLY. The screws do not go thru to thee plywood base. Also, the ceiling tiles do not have edge integrity. The exposed edges of your table will flake from normal usage pressure. I tried the stuff on the first sample module built for the club 15 years ago, mainly because I didn't want to buy a full sheet just to make roadbed for 3 tracks, 3 feet long.We scrapped that idea 2 months later for the above problems.
I have had very good results with Georgia Pacific's Hushboard. 1/2" thick 4X8 sheets are as good or better than Homasote, but just as hard to find depending on where you live. Sound deadening is extremely effective and like Homasote you can screw things into it and it will hold. Easy to cut and comes as a tan color, easily painted to whatever color you wish.
one day while making my weekly visit to the Habitat for Humanity "reStore" I made my finest acquisition to date. Labeled as sound board, there sat in front of me was 2 full pallets of 4X10 sheets of 1/2" homosote. I bought 40 sheets (so if anyone around my area wanted some). The cost.......$.50 a sheet. On my layout, Ive used 3 sheets so far.
I feel your pain. I could buy some at Home Depot, but I dont shop there because of political reasons. They had it for almost 30 bucks a sheet.
If you live near Grand Rapids, Mi.,send me an email if you'd like some!
I live out in western Pa. Closest I could find a lumber yard selling Quiet Brace was 200 miles away near Cleveland Ohio. HD and Lowes around here does not carry it or any product like it. I got this reference from the company (timberland) that makes it. I may do the trip but if anyone knows of a closer source please let me know. largest town around is Johnstown Pa or Cumberland Maryland. I may need about 30-35 sheets so using it would save a lot of money over the Homosote. I am still framing benchwork for the layout. Very sad my friend Owen is not around to ask where he got his in NJ, I had a few good conversations with him,he will be greatly missed..
Another fine product of the Cleveland Public School system.