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We are contemplating using the Hardi Backerboard as an on ground base for our rail. We will be laying a 1/2" roadbed x 16" wide on an unfinished (rough) concrete base and then putting two 5" x 1/4" strips on top as the actual rail base with a flat conduit in the middle for electrical service. We will treat the whole thing withWaterseal before we lay track. We have been informed that cutting it into narrow strips like this and laying it on something other than a perfectly smooth finished base will result in it being brittle and cracking and breaking if some one steps on it. Do all y' all have a opinion on this?
Jim Shutt
SAGRES
 

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I've had a couple of pieces of the thinner stuff under switches, but never did step on them. They've done fine so far. Just cut a piece, lay it down on your layout and step on it and see how it does. If you had a good sand base under it, for support, I would think it would do okay, any voids underneath may make it prone to crack there.

Jerry
 

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It's already brittle, or a better way of saying it, not flexible. It's really waterproof cement sandwiched between fiberglas. I walk on mine, but it is supported by 2x4's underneath, and I am careful to walk where the 2x4's are. (This is a switchyard).

There's basically nothing you can walk on unless you have it on poured concrete. Ballast will eventually give way from the weight of your feet. 

If you really want it as a base, then you should lay it in mortar, and get it perfectly flat. I think that would be a monumental task. 

Regards, Greg
 

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I've built my rail road with 1x4 and 1x6 Hardiboard as roadbed.  I experimented with the 1/4" and 1/2" backerboard and sheathing, but found it to fragile and honestly to much work compared to the one by material.

.  I have about 430-450 feet of track down, for about 18 months now using a modified post and ladder/frame method.  It;'s still very level and plumb.

The one thing I use the 1/4" and 1/2" stuff for is foundations for buildings and dioramas.

good luck with your build.

Mark
 

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Mark,

Where did you get the 1 inch hardiboard?

I Have looked at Home Depot and Lowes but they only have 1/4 and 1/2 thickness.

Thanks,

John
 

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John -- 

Both Lowe's and HD carry 1x4  1x6 in 10 foot lengths (I think) here in West Texas.  It is used as trim board for eaves, doors and garages since it  will survive the constant summer sun and the torrential thunderstorms we sometimes get in this area. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/satisfied.gif 

I've found it in the lumber areas along with the siding and plywoods, while the backer board is generally in the tile or masonry areas.  It's not cheap, /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/blink.gifthe last I purchased was over $13/board.  Hope this helps.

Mark
 

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In Georgia the box stores only carry 1 x 4 Hardy trim board.  I had to go to my local PlyMart to get the 1 x 6.  The box stores will only carry what will sell the most of.  They might special order you some 1 x 6 but may require a huge amount.
 
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