Track Laying / Flexible Roadbed


Paul M

25 Oct 2016
MMm, can't help thinking, if you're at ground level, aren't there other simpler methods?

Or do they all have their drawbacks and you go with what suits you best?
Well, I had some Filcris from my previous line so I thought I may as well use it. Actually I have used it for only half of my new line as it was basically in the same place, but I lowered it to make it less obstrusive in my very small garden. As most folk I like to keep things simple & cheap, so the other half I have used scrounged/nicked/borrowed driveway paviors embedded in cement. It seems to be fine in the heat, but as last winter didn't really happen here (North Herts) I'm still to find out what would happen to it during a proper freeze.
justme igor

justme igor

17 Apr 2020
Netherlands Westwoud
I have been investigation this road also.
There is a cheaper and better alternative: foam pvc 1 cm thick.
In the pieces you want to cut it it will be strong enough.
The biggest bonus: it wont expand so much than extruded pvc or hdpe or edpm(both recycled) hdpe in raw/new form will expand and shrink a lot according to the temperatures(did some experiments) and getting very soft, above 30 Celsius. With sun on it, it can reach easy 50 to 70 Celsius.
I dont know how soft it will become when the recycled extruded pvc is being used in full exposure to the sun.
Extruded pvc would be a better way, or foam pvc board.
In some of mine threads you can see a picture of a experimental table/setup based on pvc pipes smashed into the ground, and the table is from chip/osb wood.
On top i would like to cover it with pvc foil or epdm pound foil.
On thing on the laser: a better start you can not wish for, especially if you garden rail exceeds 10 meters in length.
Drive in posts or marks every 5 meters, the rest you can do with a leveler

My two cents, hope this was helpful, best Igor


17 Jun 2020
Thank you all for the many replies. Sorry for my delay in getting back to update. I was traveling last few days for holiday.

The roadbed will be elevated to some degree (estimate 0 to 12 inches). Will be starting at ground level, but will have some slope for nearly all of the track. The starting point will be on level ground, then increase at about a 2.5-3.5% grade until the center point, then steady decline to start point. Overall track length for this part will be about 100ft.

I am not familiar with Filcris, so not informed enough to say for certain it is the same. PVC is often what is used for plumbing pipes in your house if that helps - this is same material, just made flat. Weather/rot/insect resistance would be greatest benefit. Board material would cost about $60-$80 - seems much lower than other options I've found.

While it may be a little labor/time intensive to cut, my thoughts are that this method will provide long-term durability, be simpler to make continuous grade, and let me build terrain around it over time.

While I've not gotten through all the replies, I see many concerning expansion. I will certainly need to consider this factor and go back over everyone's replies
justme igor

justme igor

17 Apr 2020
Netherlands Westwoud
If you would go with extruded hard pvc and give 1 to 2 mm room between each sheet, you will be oke.
For example when laying the boards in 25 Celsius temperature 1mm would be enough as a gap, if processing the extruded pvc sheets in 15 Celsius leave a 2 mm gap.
5 Celsius 3 mm gap.
It is perfect hard and resilient stuff, but gets soft in higher temperatures, allow your track for some movement, so dont bolt it down on teh ends.
But more in the middle or at 1/4 of the length from the end.
Keep your sheets at max length of 1.25 meters(standard sheet size is 125 cm by 250cm)

Foam pvc board will stay more ridged and does not have so much of expensive problems.
What i did:
I ordered some materials of 50 x 50 cm, put them into the cooler(+7C) for 4 5 hours, measure it precise at a quarter of a millimetre.
Write it down.
place them into the full sun for 4 to 5 hours, masseur again.
Feel the rigidness of your test boards, incl cutting a 2 inch at the side.

This will help you to determine the material of your choose, plus you will get the feeling on what distance you must place your supporting ribs.
Consider also the following, do you honest think you will leave the track for decades in that spot or is it going to change once in a while.
Could it be more profitable to buy 4 times cheaper osb/chipwood sheet? (redo every 10 years, plus big maintenance?)
Prices in the Netherlands:
osb/chipwood sheet:7 euro per m2
extruded pvc sheet 85 euro per m2
foam sheet: 50 euro per m2

Dont forget you will be needing a caring structure, impregnated wood?(the green soft wood instead of exotic hard woods?)
Aluminium squire pipe seems a perfect mid road/way in between.
Drive some pvc tubes into the ground.
I wanted to make a topic about this, i think this would be a perfect exuse to play in the muddy garden right now :angel: :rofl: :cool:

My two cents: make some tests before order a lot of building stuff.