Grout or ballast? Maybe that’s the question?

A while ago friend and I were messaging back and forth about using grout for N scale ballasting. I thought I’d try and grab a photo of how it compares to Woodland Scenics fine grade ballast. I haven’t glued down either section.

The grout I use would just be bonded with a light spray of water.

The WS product of course would be bonded with thinned white glue.

The WS product really is too course for N but then the grout isn’t coarse enough. I think if I was trying to represent track buried in dirt I would certainly use grout. I also think I might still use the WS product. It is too coarse but I think this might be a time when you use the larger product for the way it appears at a normal viewing distance.

I may take a look around the garden centers as well to see if there was a sand that could be used. Perhaps it might be the happy medium between the two grades. I’m really undecided on how to proceed with this. If I’d just used trusty old Atlas code 83 N scale track than the WS product would be fine. It always was on every layout I’ve ever built in N scale. Yet, somehow how that I’m fooling around with this finer track I find I’m asking myself more questions about each step in the process.




  1. Hey Chris:

    Great work…. I like the ballast better….. Sand? Go the beach and take the kids…. There is a lot of sand there for free.


    1. I liked it too and used the WS product to ballast the entire scene this afternoon. It still looks overscale but I still prefer it to the grout. I have been wondering about a blend of grout to sand where the grout would fill in the valleys around the larger pieces of ballast.

      You’re right about the beach. If only the sun would come out while I’m off work long enough to actually contemplate a trip to the beach!

      1. I am going to the beach Monday I will get you some. Yes the grout and sand may look ok. It would be worth a try.


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