I have a 31" diameter track from HLW, Aristo now sells much better looking track in brass in the same diamter. I used a 36" round replacement wood tabletop I got at Home Despot, varnished, and with a solid backing of 1/4" felt glued to the underside so it doesnt scratch the wood floor. the tree sits in the center with the track going around it. Works for me, all I do is simply lay it down, and plug in the wires.
I have used the rubbery waffle grid material under my ceiling hung track. Our club uses it under the return track on module set-up. This material is sold in discount stores for everything from drawer liners to carpet underlayment. It does a great job of silencing the noise of the hardwood.
I don't put anything under the track on carpet or hardwood. My chairs and tables don't scratch the floor, I figured the plastic ties would be fine. For carpet, I have never experienced the black residue that many people have. I don't know what I do different, guess I'm just lucky.
Merry Christmas and happy railroading!!
I don't put anything under the track on my hardwood floor and find no scratches.
However, depending on the slipperiness of your hardwood floor you may find the track tends to move around a bit, especially at the corners. If you use slip-on type track connectors you might find the track starts to separate a bit, especially at the curves. A simply bit of hand tightening, i.e. pushing rhe track together, will be sufficient to mate the track pieces once again.
If you using Aristo or USA track the little set screws will keep everything together, if LGB then try to get a bag of those little plastic clips that snap into the ties, they work really well at holding it all together.
When our G scale trains used to be a Christmas tree layout we used green felt that was cut to size from a bolt at the local fabric store. I chose green to look like grass. Over the years the length of the felt grew a few times as new buildings etc would be added to the layout every Christmas.
The felt protected the wood floor not only from the tracks but also the Christmas tree stand legs. The trains have since moved outdoors and now we use a circle of red felt to protect the floor from scuffs and scratches from what ever goes under the tree.
One other thing we do is add a flatened garbage bag under the felt where the Christmas tree goes. This is to protect the wood floor just in case some water spills out of the tree stand and soaks into the felt.
A few years back I put a large loop of track on the floor that ran around the perimeter of the living room (approx 15x21 ft). I did not use any material under the track (LGB) but I did tape the track down to the floor with 6 inch long pieces of clear 2 inch wide packing tape. I ran the tap over two successive ties and then under the next few ties in either direction directly onto the floor. I applied tape every two to three feet depending on how long the track sections were. Switches were not taped - they were held in place by connecting track sections
We had grandkids and family walk all over that track where it ran across walking paths for two weeks without any disconnections or any damage to the track or the floors underneath. I used graphite paste on all the joints. The trains ran flawlessly all through the holidays. When I took up the track afterward, I cleaned off a small bit of tape adhesive residue where some was left and lightly buffed the floor even though it had nice polyurethane coating and didn't really need it. Took me about 1/2 hr total to clean up.
I had a problem with the black stuff from the wheels etc getting into the carpet. I first tried, a thin snow blanket, but it did not provide full coverage. the next year I went out to Home Depot and got a big roll of foam carpet padding: 8' wide by 60' for $20-30. I just used it like I would a cork roadbed from my HO days. It is easy to cut, sound deading, and it is random stone colors to boot. Worked like a charm!