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Baseboards and noise reduction



My girlfriend and I recently moved into a new house. Something that immediately got put on the list of things to replace were the hideous internal doors. A side effect of this was that I was left with no less than 5 standard 1970x755mm doors and one slightly larger one ... I wonder what they could be used for? :)

Having already done a fair bit or research on baseboards I was aware that hollow core doors tend to be very noisy as baseboards - as the cavity in the centre acts like a sounding box on a guitar or violin to amplify any sound from the rails. Some people also dislike the size of internal doors for baseboards as they are too big for one person to lift and (obviously) a tight squeeze through doorways. I'm not too bothered about this second issue though as I don't intend to be moving the layout often - as it's pretty unlikely that my first layout will be exhibition standard!

To assess the suitability of the doors for baseboards I ran a series of experiments to investigate different roadbeds, sub-roadbeds and adhesives to minimise acoustic coupling from the track to the board.

Using some old lengths of Peco code 80 that i'd bought by mistake on ebay (I am using code 55 on the layout) I tried the combinations described below. I used a farish mk1 coach rolled by hand initially as a rough test and later tried a farish 060 locomotive running on DC pulling 2 4 wheel wagons.



1) Track attached to door surface with double sided adhesive tape

2) Track attached to door with double sided adhesive foam tape

3) Track attached to 2mm closed cell foam roadbed with Copydex latex adhesive (the roadbed was also attached to the board with Copydex)

4) As 3) but using double sided tape between layers

5) as 3) but using track pins to attach the track to the roadbed (the pins also extended into the board below)

6) As 3) but with the track loosly rested on the roadbed (as a control)




Rather unsuprisingly there was a huge amount of noise from the track attached directly to the door with double sided tape. I was surprised to find that 2) gave almost no improvement over 1) - this might just be the grade of foam in tape that I chose, as I would have expected similar results to 4) - which is essentially the same construction of adhesive film - foam - adhesive film just put together manually rather than on a roll. The use of track pins in 5) completely removed the benefit of the foam, as the directly couple the track to the board below.

In order of increasing noise level: 6), 3), 4), 2), 5) and 1).

As 6) isn't viable, as there is nothing to hold the track in place I decided to go with the Copydex solution. This also has the advantage that it is much easier to unpeel copydex than it is to unpeel the double sided tape, which was a high bond variety. Finally, with Copydex you get more time to align everything when laying the track. The disadvantage is that you need to clamp the track in place while the glue dries (or weight it down) - I suspect that laying tight curves with flexitrack might be tricky with this method, and that temporary track pins might be required to hold it in place.



Further experimentation showed that mounting the foam on a subroadbed of laminate flooring fibre underlay further reduced the noise. For sections of track on a gradient I use hardboard cut to the approximate track plan (60mm wide), with laminate underlay the full width of that and a top layer roadbed of the 2mm closed cell foam cut into 30mm wide strips (the width I intend to ballast to). This assembly is periodically supported by wooden blocks .


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