Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Tile grout as a scenery material

I have started to try out some materials and techniques to create the dry scrubby landscape of northern Nevada.

A few years ago when re-building one of my Ntrak modules, I was wondering if I could use some left over tile grout I had the way one uses commercial scenery products.  I was able to find several references to it's use in the model railroad press and on line so I gave it a try and it worked very well for me.

I use sanded tile grout for a first layer of base scenery.  The grout already has an adhesive in it but I still sprinkle it over diluted white glue.

I recently purchased this product at my local hobby shop.  The color is so similar to the grout I am using that it is hard to tell the difference when both products are applied side by side.

I would need to buy many bags of this product to get the amount of material contained in the bag of grout shown above.

Arizona Rock & Mineral offers many fine scenery products and plenty will be used on the layout for top scenery and track ballast. Some of the areas I can use this bag for would be dry creek beds and sand bars in the river.

I use this strainer to apply the grout.  The grout is fine enough that it falls almost straight through but I shake the strainer back and forth so the grout spreads in an even pattern.  The strainer also catches any clumps that may have formed in the grout.

Here is a small area at the rear of the Wesso module after the grout had been sprinkled on the diluted white glue.  When this dries, I wet it again with mat medium and apply other layers of scenery materials to get the look I want.


  1. Hi Brad good stuff. Vic and I used tile grout on blue foam for the mountains on our Thompson River Canyon N Scale display layout many years ago. We made it up like a soup and brushed and dabbed it onto the foam to make it look like rocks. Then sifted it on wet like you on these t make it look like some of the surrounds where loose. I love the stuff for MR scenery.

    1. Yes Rod, your article on the Thompson River Canyon layout in the Nov/Dec 2010 issue of N Scale Railroading was one of those references I found.

      When I get into the canyon part of this layout there will be some more vertical surfaces and I'll be trying out your brush on method for the grout. I noticed that in their instructions Arizona Rock & Mineral also mentions a brush on method for vertical surfaces.