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I haver a question about using Landscaping Fabric on my layout. It has been suggested that I put it down on top of my decking before I lay the track and ballast.
I have a raised layout, effectively a 3' wide deck that is 360' long. It is all pressure treated with the top of the deck being 5/4's PT wood. It was my initial plan to lay the track directly on top of the decking, level it where it needed it, then add the stone for the ballast. The idea of using landscaping fabric intrigues me as I have already started using just stone, and in some areas, it falls between the cracks in the wood. My only concern is that if I use the fabric, will it hold the moisture and speed up the decay process? Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you.
 

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It sounds like a good idea if your track is running across the boards. The fabric will keep the ballast out of the cracks which will prevent them clogging and thus improving drainage. Spun nylon/polyester landscape fabric will not hold moisture.

-Brian
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you.
Yes, my tracks are running across the boards. I am going to try this approach as I did have some issues with ballast falling through.
Thanks again.
 

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Most pressure treated wood is warranted good for direct ground contact for a certain number of years. In the case of ground contact the moisture level against the wood can be quite high. I do not think your ballast will hold any appreciable moisture against the wood, even with a thin layer of landscape fabric.

One question, wil you secure the track through the fabric to the deck? With loose track sitting on loose fabric I can see a possibility for both to start shifting and the ballast to again fall through your decking wood.
 

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Posted By Pete Chimney on 31 Mar 2010 11:33 AM
Most pressure treated wood is warranted good for direct ground contact for a certain number of years. In the case of ground contact the moisture level against the wood can be quite high. I do not think your ballast will hold any appreciable moisture against the wood, even with a thin layer of landscape fabric.

One question, wil you secure the track through the fabric to the deck? With loose track sitting on loose fabric I can see a possibility for both to start shifting and the ballast to again fall through your decking wood.


I'd staple the fabric to the wood structure and let the track float in ballast on the fabric. The ballast won't go anywhere (except the birds like to eat it) as the landscaping fabric will keep it from falling between the boards. You will probably want to put a short edging of some sort along the sides of the boards so the ballast won't get washed off in a heavy rain.

The CMBY RY "elevated structure" had track on a very narrow boards (5.5-inches... just wide enough to accomodate a 17-ft diameter curve in 3-ft long boards forming the "circle") and the wind never blew the track away. I did have some ballast fall off the edges until I put some flower bed edging on the edges of the boards, sticking up about 1/2 inch above the surface of the boards.

I am planning to redo the CMBY RY "elevated structure" to be much wider (1-2 ft long decking boards layed crosswise to the track) and will cover the decking from one edge to the other with landscaping fabric and staple it down along the edges. Then lay the track and pour chicken grit over the track, then groom it (brush it with a paint brush) to fill between the ties, which will cause the track to "float to the surface" of the ballast (just like it did on my previous layout... funny how metal rail and plastic ties are lighter than rocks). I will probably also put the edging on again to keep the ballast from spreading too far.
 
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