Is Poured-in-Place Rubber SurfacingActually Safe?

March 6, 2024

Back in the day, children were unknowingly playing in peril! Thankfully, playgrounds have come a long way from being dangerous places for children. In the past, they were filled with towering metal structures that heated up in the sun and were prone to rusting in the rain. The playground surfacing materials were made of wood chips, hard dirt or pavement, resulting in abrasions, splinters, and injuries from falls.

Fortunately, playgrounds have now become much safer, thanks to the introduction of rubber safety surfacing that we use at AdventureTurf. But what makes rubber safety surfacing safe?

What is poured-in-place rubber surfacing?

Poured-in-place rubber playground surfacing (PIP) is the ultimate choice for safety, durability, and low maintenance. This seamless surface, also known as “wet pour rubber flooring” or “rubberized playground surfacing,” is perfect for new or existing playgrounds.

Customizable to fit your play space, our rubber playground surface allows for limitless design options. With the pour-in-place method, we can create a soft and safe playground surface that can incorporate school colors, logos, games, and geometric shapes.

In addition to its visual appeal, our poured rubber playground flooring offers other impressive features. It’s a 2-layer surface, poured and troweled on site, with customizable thickness for safety and shock absorption. Made from recycled rubber materials, it’s also porous and ideal for outdoor or indoor areas that may get wet.

At AdventureTurf, you can choose from 24 standard colors and combinations to create your desired look. We use high-quality materials, including 100% post-consumer recycled SBR and EPDM rubber, to ensure a long-lasting surface. Plus, it’s ADA-compliant and meets industry standards for accessibility and impact attenuation.

Are there harmful chemicals in Poured-In-Place rubber surfacing?

Many administrators, educators, and parents have heard rumors about toxic chemicals in the recycled tires used for playground surfacing and are understandably concerned. At AdventureTurf, we are equally concerned about the safety of your children. That’s why we go through extensive measures to ensure all of our products are 100% non-toxic.

Recycled rubber, also known as tire crumb, is made by shredding or grinding old tires into small pieces. It is used to reduce the risk of injuries on playgrounds, as well as on running tracks and in water parks.

In terms of health concerns, studies by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services found minimal risk to children’s exposure to recycled rubber during regular playground activities. As a general recommendation, both the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission assure the safety of materials made from recycled rubber tires. However, we encourage educators and childcare workers to prohibit children from eating while playing on recycled rubber surfaces and to wash their hands after contact with the material just as they would with any outdoor surface or floor. These simple actions can help prevent the ingestion of rubber particles.

Are poured rubber playground surfaces accessible/ADA compliant?

AdventureTurf cares deeply about all children, so we aim to make sure that playgrounds are inclusive and accessible to everyone, including those with special needs. That’s why we only use wheelchair and handicap-accessible materials that meet the standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Traditional loose-fill materials like sand and wood mulch cannot meet these requirements. Our playground surfacing design and installation include beveled edges, ground-level play components, and wheelchair-accessible routes.

Pour-in-Place rubber and rubber mats/tiles exceed ADA standards, ensuring inclusion for children with disabilities. Also, PIP and rubber mats require minimal ongoing maintenance to maintain ADA compliance.

Is Poured-In-Place Rubber safe for falls?

Falls are a major concern for anyone who oversees a playground. The critical fall height is a crucial factor to consider. This refers to the minimum height at which a person can break their fall with their hands alone. Falls from heights can result in serious and even fatal injuries, but by installing a shock-absorbing surface like our rubber playground surface, these injuries can be prevented.

You may think loose-fill surfacing is better for falls, but rubber flooring is actually better. AdventureTURF’s poured-in-place rubber playground surface ensures optimal safety by meeting and exceeding the current ASTM HIC (head injury criteria) standards. We carefully install our surfaces at proper depths, guaranteeing the necessary protection.

Avoid serious injuries by refraining from using concrete, grass, asphalt, blacktop, packed dirt, or pea gravel as surface material. These materials lack the necessary shock absorption properties to protect children from fall-related injuries.

CSPC Fall Height Standards

The Consumer Safety and Product Commission recommends that the landing surface extends at least six feet in all directions from play structures. Additionally, all platforms and ramps should have barriers to prevent falls.If your play equipment has a free fall height exceeding 0.6 meters/23.6 inches, installing critical fall height certified flooring for a 1-meter/39 inch radius around the equipment is essential. It is recommended that the fall height should not exceed 3 meters/118 inches. A specific formula can be applied to determine the required safety surfacing area for play equipment with a critical fall height exceeding 1.5 meters/59 inches. Our expert installation contractors will take care of all of these details for you.

Determining Fall Height

To determine the critical fall height, testers drop a head-form device onto the playground surface and measure the acceleration and hardness of impact. Testing is repeated at various heights to determine the necessary thickness for protection.

Different types of playground equipment have specific fall height measurement criteria. For climbers, upper body equipment, swing sets, seesaws, spring rockers, and composite equipment, the highest part or achievable height is taken into account.

Is Poured-In-Place Rubber trip-resistant?

Unlike many other playground surfaces, our solution seamlessly pours over existing concrete or asphalt, covering cracks and tripping hazards. The result? A smooth and uniform surface is perfect for all the walking, running, skipping, and jumping your children love!

Individuals of all ages benefit from the trip-free surface. Kids under 4 are particularly prone to head and face injuries from playground accidents. By eliminating wood chips and other loose-fill material, our surface ensures toddlers can play freely with less risk of slips and falls.

A work team replacing rubber tiles with poured rubber playground surfacing

Will Poured-In-Place rubber stay safe over time?

Applying a protective coating can renew the surface’s wear and weather resistance. For high-traffic playgrounds, new layers can be poured onto the existing surface. If there are any small areas of damage, spot repairs can easily fix them without the need to replace the entire playground surface. AdventureTurf gladly offers all of these services to keep your playground safe.

Poured rubber playground surfaces require minimal yearly maintenance. These surfaces can last up to 10-15 years, depending on foot traffic, without the need for new surface filler every year. With proper care, they can even last longer.

To maintain the longevity of your poured rubber safety surface, it’s crucial to detect any issues early on. The top color layer, which protects the cushion layer, can wear away if not properly cleaned and maintained. This can lead to granulation and further deterioration of the surface. Applying a sealer every 1-2 years can rejuvenate the surface, maintain its vibrant colors, and reinforce the damaged binders caused by harmful UV rays.I

t’s important to conduct an annual inspection by an AdventureTurf professional to ensure the integrity and safety of the flooring. We look out for signs of damage caused by tree roots, sinking layers, border condition, transitions between different safety surfaces, and any other damage.

Safety in the weather

Poured-in-place rubber can stay safe even after experiencing harsh weather conditions like rain, snow, heat, or cold. The non-slip surface drains well after heavy rain and does not create puddles or mud like wood mulch. PIP allows water to drain off into surrounding lower-lying ground, reducing the risk of damage or weathering from freeze/thaw cycles. 

Even though PIP is durable, cold weather can cause your rubber surface to contract, leading to gaps around the edges and play set. To fix this, we can patch the poured rubber to fill the gaps. Hot weather can heat up the surface, especially if you choose a dark color. Make sure to test the surface temperature before letting kids play on it.

Rain won’t harm your poured-in surface, but it can reduce its lifespan if it’s installed on improper surfaces like crushed stone without proper drainage or unlevel concrete that holds water. Snow won’t directly damage the rubber surface either, but frost can cause the surface to lift if there’s inadequate drainage. That’s why having experienced, professional safety surface installation from one of our trusted AdventureTURF contractors is important.

Have some good, safe fun with AdventureTURF

We believe kids deserve to be safe while having a blast on their playgrounds, which is why AdventureTURF is a leading playground and safety surfacing company. We offer a wide range of options for playground surfacing material, including pool decking and rubber mulch, to suit your needs. Our main focus is to provide the safest surface possible for both children and adults who visit your facility. We achieve this by using only the highest-quality materials on the market. Our team can find the right playground surface that fits your needs and budget.

AdventureTURF specializes in installing playground flooring for schools, daycare centers, community pools, and park play areas. With years of experience in poured-in-place rubber surfacing, we have become experts in the field. We pride ourselves on being one of the largest nationwide installers of PIP rubber and rubber tiles, with over a decade of installation experience.

Thanks to our strong relationships with suppliers, we offer the most competitive pricing in the industry for playground safety surface installation. We believe in providing the highest quality products, superior service, competitive pricing, and above all, a safer playground environment for kids everywhere. Play it safe and call AdventureTurf today for all your surfacing needs!

Share this: