Installing Cork Roadbed

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Model Railroad Academy provides plenty of tips to picking the best roadbed, but cork is one of the most common methods used. In this video, NMRA Master Modeler Gerry Leone offers helpful advice for using cork roadbed on your layout and presents a step-by-step tutorial on how to install it.

Gerry starts off the tutorial by highlighting the first two steps you must complete at the beginning of the process. The first step is to establish a center line for your track by marking your cork subroadbed. The second step is to ensure the surface is clear of all bumps and lumps to provide the roadbed with a smooth base. You may proceed with the installation process once you finish these two basic steps.

Next, Gerry explains the materials best suited for laying a cork roadbed. It’s important to be cautious of the material used when it comes to gluing down the cork. You may run into some problems later on during the modeling process if you use white carpenter glue. In this tutorial, Gerry uses a silicone sealant and specifies the brand used in the video. He also offers an alternative option to use that you may already have around the house.

You will need to staple the cork roadbed down to hold it in place while the glue dries. Gerry suggests a few products to use for this step. He uses track nails in this tutorial. Gerry goes on to explain the appropriate spacing for the nails. The distance differs depending on if the track is straight or curved. Gerry warns not to drive the nails all the way through the cork because they will need to be removed once the glue dries.

Once you have a cork roadbed installed, you can continue with spreading the ballast and laying track. Installing cork roadbed is a simple process and doesn’t require excessive amounts of material. Follow along with Gerry’s tutorial and you will have a solid cork roadbed before you know it.