Rubber Tile - Parkcraft
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Engineered Wood Fiber (EWF)

type: Loosefill Surfacing

Engineered Wood Fiber (EWF) is a popular playground surfacing material known for its natural look and safety features. Made from ground wood that's processed to knit together, EWF offers a soft, fibrous consistency ideal for playground environments. It's a preferred choice for those seeking a balance between safety, aesthetics, and cost.

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Choosing EWF for Your Playground

Engineered Wood Fiber offers a natural, cost-effective surfacing option with a good balance of safety and aesthetic appeal. To learn more about EWF and its suitability for your playground, contact us for further information and guidance.

Visuals and Interaction: Access our FAQ page for in-depth information.

    • Installation Process: Building a Safe and Enjoyable Space

      Ease of Installation: EWF is relatively straightforward to install, typically completed within a day by professional installers.

      Site Preparation: It's crucial to clean the area thoroughly and outline it with edging to keep the material in place, ensuring the EWF remains within the designated playground area.

    • Safety and Accessibility: Ensuring Enjoyable Play for All

      Water Absorption and Firmness: EWF is very absorbent of water and, when compressed properly, can be firm enough to allow wheelchair access, though it's less accessible than some other surfacing options.

      Depth for Impact Attenuation: It's recommended to maintain a depth of at least 9 inches for effective shock absorption, particularly under playground equipment with higher fall heights.

    • Maintenance: Preserving the Quality of EWF

      Regular Upkeep: Maintenance includes raking and tamping to keep the surface even, controlling weed growth, and managing dust, which can be a concern for allergy sufferers.

      Compression and Top-Up Requirements: Over time, EWF becomes compressed, losing its shock absorbency. Regularly adding new layers of material is necessary to maintain safety and depth requirements.

    • Longevity and Cost-Effectiveness of EWF

      Affordable Initial Cost: While the initial installation cost of EWF is low, the ongoing maintenance, including adding new material and controlling weeds, can add to the overall cost over time.

      Lifespan and Wear Mats: EWF can last about 8 years if maintained properly, though it may require replacement sooner in areas with poor drainage. Wear mats are recommended in high-traffic areas like under swings and at slide bases to extend the surface's lifespan.

    • Considerations and Challenges

      Suitability and Limitations: EWF is a good fit for many playgrounds but may not be the best option for those requiring high accessibility standards. It also tends to get compressed over time, necessitating regular maintenance and top-ups to maintain its effectiveness.

    • 01

      Get the site ready based on instructions from the project engineer and project specifications.

    • 02

      Set up drainage in line with the guidelines provided by the engineered wood fiber manufacturer. Installing drainage is advised to enhance the lifespan of EWF, minimize mold and fungus problems, and maintain resiliency in cold weather. Various drainage systems can be utilized.

    • 03

      Consider incorporating one or more ADA-compliant ramps within the play area to ensure accessible entry and exit points for all users.

    • 04

      After the drainage system is in place, proceed with the installation of Engineered Wood Fiber (EWF) at the recommended thickness as specified by the equipment manufacturer. Ensure that the surface is level and compacted.

    • OPTIONAL:

      To expedite the natural compaction process, install the EWF in layers, each 6-8 inches thick, after the drainage is installed. Rake, level, and wet the surface before compacting with a mechanical compactor following the installation of each layer. Change the compaction direction by 90 degrees for each layer. Repeat these steps until the desired surface thickness is achieved.

    • 05

      For kick-out areas such as swings and slides, place wear mats on top of the EWF to prevent the formation of holes and maintain a level surface. Ensure that these mats are installed in a manner that does not create accessibility issues, with tapered edges recommended and no edges above the surface.

    • 01

      Conduct a visual inspection of the entire playground area, removing any foreign materials such as trash or tree branches.

    • 02

      Use a rake to maintain the Engineered Wood Fiber (EWF) surface at the original recommended depth, ensuring both levelness and compliance with ADA requirements for wheelchair access. In high-traffic areas like swing and slide exits, the use of wear mats can minimize or eliminate the need for raking. Ensure a level transition between wear mats and EWF.

    • 03

      For accessible entrances to the playground surface, confirm that the surface material, accessible route, or the top of the access ramp is within 1/4 inch of the top of the play area border. The installation of an ADA-compliant access ramp into the play area can help reduce maintenance in this specific area.

    • 04

      In areas with the highest usage and around equipment footers, excavate down to the subsurface or drainage system and measure the depth of the Engineered Wood Fiber (EWF). Ensure that the depth meets the fall height requirements of the structure or is at least equal to the manufacturer's original recommended depth, whichever is greater. Add EWF as needed, level, wet, and compact. Consider using markings on play structure supports or containment barriers to help maintain the surface depth at its original thickness.

    • 05

      Conduct a visual inspection of all wear mats for tears, cracks, and general wear. Add EWF around the wear mat to ensure a seamless transition from the wear mat to the surface. Periodically flip wear mats and add EWF beneath them to bring the wear mats back to their original grade.

    • 06

      Evaluate the performance of the drainage system by confirming that water flows from the drain system outflow pipe immediately after rain. Additionally, ensure there is no standing water on the playground surface. A functional drainage system is crucial to enhance the life expectancy of EWF and improve the surfacing's resilience.

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Sand Surfacing

type: Loosefill Surfacing

Sand has been a classic choice for playground surfaces, beloved for its natural texture and play value. It offers a unique opportunity for creative play, with children able to dig, mold, and sculpt. While sand can be costly to transport due to its weight, its benefits in play value often justify the investment.

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Explore the Possibilities with Sand Surfacing

Sand remains a popular choice for its natural appeal and the creative play it enables. To find out how sand can enhance your playground and for more details on installation and maintenance, reach out to us.

Visuals and Interaction: Access our FAQ page for in-depth information.

    • Installation and Maintenance: Crafting Safe and Engaging Play Areas

      Site Preparation: Leveling the ground and ensuring efficient drainage are key, especially in colder climates where water retention can harden the sand.

      Depth and Quality: We suggest a depth that is sufficient for safety and play, typically around 12 inches, using clean, high-quality sand.

    • Embracing Sand's Versatility and Addressing Challenges

      Play and Discovery: Sand encourages imaginative play, allowing children to create and explore.

      Weather Considerations: In colder temperatures, sand can harden, so it’s important to consider climate when choosing this material.

      Maintenance Tips: Regular raking and sifting are necessary to maintain a clean, even surface. We recommend wear mats in high-use areas like under swings and slides to prevent displacement.

      Complementary Surfaces: Sand's abrasive nature means it's not ideal to pair with PIP rubber, as it can accelerate wear.

    • Maintaining the Integrity of Sand Surfacing

      Frequent Raking: It's crucial to rake the sand regularly to prevent the encroachment of surrounding sod into the play area. Neglecting this can lead to grass and weeds growing into the sand, disrupting the surface's uniformity and safety.

      Managing Displacement: Sand tends to displace over time, especially around the edges of the playground area. This displacement can form "humps" just outside the playground boundary, altering the landscape and potentially creating tripping hazards. Regular maintenance and redistributing displaced sand back into the play area are essential to keep the surface level and safe.

    • Practical Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      Keeping Clean: A friendly reminder that sand can easily find its way into shoes and clothing, so it’s wise to check before hopping into vehicles.

      Safety and Accessibility: While affordable, sand requires diligent maintenance to remain a safe and accessible surface option.

    • 01

      Choosing the Right Sand

      • Quality Play Sand: Select washed sand with particle sizes mainly between 0.25mm and 0.60mm.
      • Avoid Fine Particles: Choose sand with fewer small particles to reduce the risk of airborne dust.
    • 02

      Delivery and Quantity Considerations

      • Check Road Bans: Be aware that sand is heavy; typically, a tandem can carry about 10 yards.
      • Seasonal Timing: Time your order considering road bans and potential cost implications.
    • 03

      Safety and Quality

      • Uniform and Round Particles: Opt for sand with uniform, rounded particles for better fall attenuation.
      • Avoid Bedding or Masonry Sand: These types can have a broader size spectrum and sharp pieces, not ideal for playgrounds.
    • 04

      Installation Process

      • Efficient Delivery and Spread: Have the sand delivered close to the playground site for easy spreading.
    • 05

      Depth and Cleanliness

      • Depth Measurement: Use a depth probe (or a shovel and tape measure) for a depth of 300mm, adjusting based on fall height.
      • Final Touches: Thoroughly clean the site, removing any contaminated sand outside the playground border.
    • 06

      Final Appearance Check

      • Consistent Look: Ensure a clean, uniform appearance of the play sand surface.
    • 01

      High-Frequency Inspections

      • Regular Safety Checks: Conduct thorough inspections of the sand for any debris, including potentially hazardous objects.
      • Raking for Evenness: Ensure the sand is evenly distributed, particularly in high-traffic areas.
    • 02

      Low-Frequency Inspections and Top-Up

      • Maintain Adequate Depth: Regularly check and maintain the depth of the sand (minimum 300mm) using a depth probe.
      • Control Perimeter Growth: Use a rototiller for managing grass and other growth around the sandbox edges.
    • 03

      Effective Water Management

      • Drainage System: Implement a drainage system if possible to prevent water pooling, especially important in areas prone to heavy rain or snow.
    • 04

      Addressing Unique Challenges

      • Increased Vigilance: In areas with greater risks, conduct more frequent inspections to ensure the safety and cleanliness of the sand.
    • 05

      External Area Upkeep

      • Prompt Removal of Displaced Sand: Clean up any sand that spills outside the playground area to prevent grass growth and maintain the overall neatness and accessibility of the site.
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Pea Gravel

type: Loosefill Surfacing

Pea gravel, known for its small, clean, and rounded particles, is an affordable surfacing option for playgrounds. While it's popular in areas close to gravel pits, it's important to understand its characteristics, including maintenance needs and safety aspects.

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Embracing Pea Gravel with Informed Decisions

While pea gravel is an economical choice for playground surfacing, understanding its maintenance requirements, safety implications, and suitability is key. For more information on pea gravel surfacing, contact us or explore our detailed guides and resources.

Visuals and Interaction: Access our FAQ page for in-depth information.

    • Installation Process: Laying a Safe and Durable Surface

      Depth and Quality Matters: For effective safety, pea gravel should be installed at a minimum depth of 12 inches (30 cm). This depth is crucial to cushion falls and reduce injury risks.

      Ensuring Proper Drainage: Since pea gravel doesn't retain water, it's essential to have a well-drained base to prevent water accumulation and freezing in colder climates.

      Impact on Safety: Although pea gravel meets ASTM standards for impact attenuation, it's suitable for playground equipment up to five feet high. It's less effective for higher equipment due to its hardness and shifting nature.

    • Maintenance and Hard Panning Concerns

      Routine Raking: Regular raking and maintenance are necessary to keep the surface even and prevent the formation of hard pan - a compacted layer that reduces cushioning properties.

      Annual Inspections and Refills: Inspect the pea gravel surface annually, breaking up any hard pan and topping up the gravel as needed, at least every one to two years.

    • Safety and Accessibility Considerations

      Challenges for Mobility: Pea gravel can shift underfoot, making it difficult for wheelchairs and individuals with limited mobility to navigate.

      Not Ideal for Toddlers: Due to its size, pea gravel can pose a choking hazard for toddlers, who may be tempted to put the stones in their mouths.

    • Impact on Safety: Adhering to CSA Standards

      Depth and Safety Compliance: Pea gravel should be installed at a minimum depth of 12 inches (30 cm) to effectively cushion falls and reduce injury risks, in compliance with Canadian Safety Association (CSA) standards.

      Suitability for Equipment Height: While pea gravel adheres to CSA standards for impact attenuation, it is most effective for playground equipment up to five feet in height. For higher playground structures, its ability to absorb impact may be less effective due to its hardness and shifting nature.

      Child Safety Considerations: The size and texture of pea gravel, while generally safe, can be a concern for very young children, as small stones may pose a choking hazard.

    • The Pros and Cons of Pea Gravel

      Cost-Effectiveness: While initially low-cost, the need for frequent maintenance and replacement can add up over time.

      Weather Effects: In cold weather, pea gravel can harden, impacting its safety as a cushioning surface. Snow removal on pea gravel requires care to avoid disturbing the surface.

      Inspector Concerns: Some playground inspectors have reservations about pea gravel due to its maintenance needs and safety limitations in certain conditions.

    • 01

      Sourcing Quality Pea Gravel

      • Order Pea Gravel: Choose round rock pea gravel from your local aggregate pit for better fall attenuation.
      • Size Matters: Opt for 10mm sieve size, ensuring it's washed to avoid sediment.
    • 02

      Delivery and Quantity Considerations

      • Check Road Bans: Understand that pea gravel is heavy; a typical tandem carries about 10 yards.
      • Seasonal Timing: Time your order to navigate road bans and cost implications.
    • 03

      Preparing the Ground

      • Install Geotextile Fabric: Lay non-woven geotextile fabric to allow water drainage and prevent weed growth.
    • 04

      Efficient Installation

      • Site Delivery: Have the gravel delivered close to the site.
      • Use Appropriate Equipment: Employ a skid steer for spreading; use concrete rakes for smaller areas.
    • 05

      Managing Equipment and Site Size

      • Be Equipment Cautious: Avoid damaging playground equipment during installation.
      • For Larger Areas: Consider a telebelt material handler for efficiency.
    • 06

      Ensuring Correct Depth and Cleanliness

      • Depth Measurement: Use a depth probe (or a shovel and tape measure) for a depth of 300mm, adjusting for fall height.
      • Final Touches: Clean the site thoroughly, removing any contaminated gravel.
    • 07

      Final Appearance

      • Uniformity Check: Ensure a clean, uniform appearance of the pea gravel surface.
    • 01

      High-Frequency Inspections

      • Routine Checks: Regularly inspect for garbage, broken glass, or hazardous objects in the pea gravel.
      • Rake Displaced Gravel: Reallocate gravel that's been moved from high traffic areas like slide exits and under swings.
    • 02

      Low-Frequency Inspections and Topping Up

      • Depth Monitoring: Use a depth probe to check for areas with insufficient gravel (maintain a minimum depth of 300mm).
      • Rototilling the Perimeter: Break up any growth along the edges and remove excess dirt manually.
    • 03

      Water Management

      • Prevent Water Pooling: Ideally, have a drainage system in place to avoid water accumulation, especially in rainy seasons or in areas with heavy snowfall.
    • 04

      Managing Hard Pan

      • Address Hard Panning: Regularly rototill to prevent hard pan formation caused by stone dust accumulation or gravel compaction.
      • Maintain Fall Attenuation: Ensure the pea gravel remains loose to maintain its shock-absorbing properties.
    • 05

      Clean-Up and Disposal

      • Remove Contaminated Gravel: Dispose of any pea gravel that has spilled outside the play area and is contaminated.
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Pour in place rubber

type: Unitary Surfacing

This durable and customizable surface is crafted on-site, offering a continuous layer that's perfect for intricate playground designs. Its shock-absorbing properties make it a top choice for safety.

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A popular choice for play areas due to its durability and ease of maintenance. It is a unitary surfacing material.

    • Ensuring Proper Drainage

      Design Considerations: Focus on drainage in the design to prevent water retention on the playground surface.

    • Engineered Base Construction

      Base Materials: Use specialized drain rock systems, concrete, road crush, or recycled concrete material, properly packed and tested.

    • Fall Height and HIC Compliance

      Safety Compliance: Design the PIP rubber with playground fall heights in mind for HIC test compliance.

    • Fall Height and HIC Compliance

      Safety Compliance: Design the PIP rubber with playground fall heights in mind for HIC test compliance.

    • Layers of PIP Rubber

      Base Layer Composition: Comprise larger chunks of recycled rubber and polyurethane, spread to allow air pockets for impact absorption.

      Wear Layer Specifications: Smaller rubber pieces with a higher proportion of polyurethane, varying between 0.5"-2" in thickness.

      EPDM Rubber: Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer rubber, used for its durability and variety of colors.

    • Temperature and Humidity Sensitivity

      Installation Conditions: Install at temperatures between 10°C (50°F) and 32°C (90°F), with humidity not exceeding 85% to avoid poor bonding and visible seams.

    • Temperature and Humidity Sensitivity

      Installation Conditions: Install at temperatures between 10°C (50°F) and 32°C (90°F), with humidity not exceeding 85% to avoid poor bonding and visible seams.

    • Warranties, Longevity, and Lifespan

      Warranty Range: 1 to 10 years, typically around 3 years.

      Maintenance Visits: Longer warranties may include multiple visits for maintenance.

      Lifespan: PIP rubber surfaces generally last 5 to 10 years, with lifespan varying based on maintenance and usage.

    • 01

      The playground equipment manufacturer or designer should clearly identify ground-level accessible routes to and within the play area. These routes must have a clear width of at least 60 inches in most cases, a vertical clear height of 80 inches, and accessible surfacing in accordance with the Department of Justice 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design. Additional layout requirements to meet the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design will be specified by the playground equipment manufacturer or designer before installation.

    • 02

      Follow the project engineer's instructions and project specifications to install and prepare the sub-base for the poured-in-place surfacing. For a compacted stone/aggregate sub-base, ensure correct compaction and request documentation indicating the degree of compaction (usually measured as a percentage).

      Confirm that the compaction aligns with the manufacturer's recommendation for poured-in-place surfacing. The grade of the completed sub-base must adhere to the project specifications. The installation of poured-in-place surfacing typically follows the slope of the sub-base, making subgrade slope accuracy crucial for compliant accessibility of the finished surface.

    • 03

      Before installing the rubber surface, request documentation specifying ground-level accessible routes and written confirmation that the subgrade meets the necessary criteria. This should include a diagram with elevations or identified slopes. Additionally, use a six-foot laser level to verify the grade of the subsurface throughout the play environment.

    • 04

      During the installation of poured-in-place rubber, the installer should consistently assess the grade of the installation and document it with photos.

    • 05

      Ensure that edging and transitions to adjacent surfaces do not impede accessibility. Typically, transitions between surfaces involve tapering the poured-in-place under the grade of the other surface or adjusting the PIP to appear flush with the adjacent surface.

      If neighboring surfaces consist of Engineered Wood Fiber or other loose fill material, ensure proper installation to avoid creating a ramp or step that does not meet ADA Standards. Check all transitions to ensure there are no openings greater than 1/2 inch, as per the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design.

    • OPTIONAL:

      In high-traffic zones like swings and slides, consider embedding wear mats in the poured-in-place (PIP) surfacing to mitigate wear and tear, thereby enhancing accessibility. When installing wear mats, ensure they have accessible transitions from the PIP. This can be achieved by selecting wear mats with ADA-accessible beveled edges or installing the mat flush with the surface of the PIP.

    • 01

      Begin by visually inspecting the entire playground area and removing any foreign materials such as trash or tree branches. Utilize a vacuum or blower to eliminate fine particle debris. For spills or stains, seek recommendations from the poured-in-place (PIP) manufacturer regarding suitable cleaning products, agents, or techniques, as some may potentially damage the surface.

    • 02

      Throughout the lifespan of the surfacing, occasional repair and preventative maintenance may become necessary. This can involve activities like roll coating, surface patching, re-topping, or other techniques as advised by the PIP manufacturer.

      These measures are crucial for ensuring ADA accessibility over the surface's lifespan by addressing or preventing issues like unevenness, cracks, holes, or torn-out areas resulting from factors such as vandalism or other causes.

    • 03

      In the event that re-topping is needed, ensure that the playground equipment maintains the proper height above the finished grade when additional surfacing material is added. Specifically, measure the heights of transfer points, stairs, slide exits, etc. to ensure compliance with safety standards.

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Synthetic turf

type: Unitary Surfacing

Synthetic turf offers a practical and aesthetically pleasing surfacing solution for playgrounds. It combines the natural appearance of grass with the durability and low maintenance of synthetic materials, making it an increasingly popular choice for modern play areas.

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Choosing Synthetic Turf for Your Playground Opt for synthetic turf to achieve a balance of safety, functionality, and visual appeal in your playground. To learn more about synthetic turf surfacing options and installation services, contact our team.

Visuals and Interaction: Access our FAQ page for in-depth information.

    • Installation Process: Crafting Comfortable and Safe Playgrounds

      Sub-base Preparation: Synthetic turf can be installed over various types of bases, including poured-in-place (PIP) rubber. This flexibility makes it an excellent choice for updating playgrounds with existing surfacing.

      Overlaying Worn PIP Rubber: A significant advantage of synthetic turf is its ability to overlay older, worn PIP rubber surfaces. This is particularly useful for refurbishing playgrounds where the PIP rubber's wear layer has deteriorated, as turf installation can mask imperfections and patches that are often visible after PIP repair.

    • Safety and Comfort: Ensuring Enjoyable Play

      Impact Absorption: While synthetic turf itself doesn't provide significant impact absorption, it's often installed with an underlying shock pad or over existing PIP rubber to enhance safety.

      Comfort and Aesthetics: The turf's soft texture and natural appearance create a comfortable and inviting play environment.

    • Maintenance: Preserving the Turf's Quality

      Low Maintenance Requirements: Synthetic turf requires minimal maintenance compared to natural grass. Regular brushing and occasional washing are generally sufficient to keep it looking fresh and clean.

      Longevity: Durable and resistant to wear and tear, synthetic turf maintains its appearance and functionality over time, making it a cost-effective surfacing option.

    • Advantages and Practical Considerations

      Versatile Applications: Ideal for a variety of playground designs, synthetic turf can be used in areas with both low and high activity.

      Eco-friendly and Safe: Smaller rubber pieces with a higher proportion of polyurethane, varying between 0.5"-2" in thickness.

      EPDM Rubber: Made from safe, non-toxic materials, synthetic turf is an environmentally friendly choice. It eliminates the need for watering, mowing, or chemical treatments.

    • 01

      Prepare the site in accordance with the project engineer’s instructions and project specifications.

    • 02

      Install borders as necessary, following the recommendations provided by the installation specifications.

    • 03

      Install a drainage layer according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. If gravel is utilized, compact it to achieve a level sub-surface. The drainage layer contributes to prolonging the turf's lifespan and maintaining resilience during colder months.

    • 04

      If advised by the turf manufacturer, incorporate an impact attenuating sub-base over the drainage base. This may involve the use of foam panels or rubber buffings, for instance.

    • Depending on the frequency of use, tiles may require occasional deep cleaning to eliminate accumulated dirt and stains.

    • 05

      Install the turf layer in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, ensuring that a qualified turf installer carries out the installation.

    • 06

      Stretch and anchor the turf around borders as recommended to achieve a secure and properly fitted installation.

    • 07

      If the turf system necessitates it, introduce infill as per the turf manufacturer’s recommendations. This may include rubber granules, synthetic infill, various types of sand, or a combination of infill materials.

    • 01

      Keep the turf surface clean by using a leaf blower, broom, or hose to remove loose dirt and foreign materials.

    • 02

      Use a stiff broom to brush the turf fibers, keeping them upright and preventing infill from compacting. This maintenance practice helps extend the life of the turf. Regularly sweep the infill layer to prevent compaction, preserving the surface's resiliency. Add infill as needed, with particular attention to high-use areas like swings and slides.

    • 03

      Address spills by blotting with a clean towel and cleaning the area with a mild detergent. Flush the area with clean water afterward. If the turf contains infill, use a vacuum to remove the infill before cleaning. Replace infill as necessary.

    • 04

      For turf areas used by pets, inquire about infill products that absorb urine odors. Consult your turf manufacturer for product availability.

    • 05

      Regularly inspect seams for any signs of separation and check around the play area's borders to ensure the turf remains securely anchored. Detecting and addressing these issues early can prevent more significant problems in the future.

    • 06

      Request a maintenance document from your turf manufacturer or installer, as there may be specific maintenance requirements. Proper maintenance practices will contribute to a long-lasting turf surface.

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Rubber Tile

type: Unitary Surfacing

Rubber tiles are a popular surfacing option for playgrounds, known for their safety, durability, and creative potential. Their unique shape allows for imaginative and vibrant color designs, creating an engaging 8-bit style visual appeal.

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Enhance Your Playground with Rubber Tiles

Rubber tiles offer a unique combination of safety, durability, and creative freedom for playground surfacing. Contact us to learn more about how rubber tiles can transform your playground into a vibrant and safe play area.

Visuals and Interaction: Access our FAQ page for in-depth information.

    • Installation Process: Precision and Expertise Required

      Professional Installation: The installation of rubber tiles requires trained professionals with the right tools and techniques to ensure a straight grid and proper alignment.

      Sub-base Preparation: The best sub-base for longevity is concrete, which provides a stable and durable foundation. However, road crush can be used if there is an adequate drainage system in place.

      Creative Patterns: The 24x24 inch tiles can be trimmed to fit various spaces and are available in a wide range of colors. They allow for customized designs and patterns, perfect for creating a unique playground experience.

    • Safety and Comfort: Ensuring Inclusive Play

      Shock Absorption: Rubber tiles are tested for safety and are shock-absorbent, suitable for falls from 6 feet (for 2.5-inch tiles) up to 8 feet (for 4.25-inch tiles).

      ADA Compliant: These tiles are wheelchair-accessible, making them ideal for inclusive playgrounds where children of all abilities can play safely.

    • Maintenance: Low Upkeep with Long-Term Benefits

      Durability and Ease of Maintenance: Rubber tiles are durable and easy to clean, requiring minimal maintenance. They are tough to damage and can last for years before any significant upkeep is needed.

      Lifespan and Replacement: Rubber tiles can last about a decade, after which older tiles may need to be swapped out to maintain proper shock absorbency.

    • Cost Considerations: Balancing Quality and Budget

      Initial Investment vs. Long-Term Savings: While the upfront cost of rubber tiles is higher than some other options, their low maintenance and long lifespan make them a budget-friendly choice in the long run.

    • Limitations and Suitability

      Thickness Limitations: Due to thickness limitations, rubber tiles are more suited for playgrounds with lesser fall heights.

      Eco-friendly and Safe: Smaller rubber pieces with a higher proportion of polyurethane, varying between 0.5"-2" in thickness.

      Design and Pattern Flexibility: The ability to create custom patterns and designs adds an aesthetic dimension, making rubber tiles a visually appealing choice for playgrounds.

    • 01

      Prepare the site in accordance with the project engineer’s instructions and project specifications.

    • 02

      If necessary, install drainage as outlined by the tile manufacturer. In cases where the installation site is elevated, additional stormwater management may not be required. Ensure that the sub-surface is sloped at approximately 1 percent towards water collection drains.

    • 03

      Choose a suitable sub-surface, such as properly cured and installed concrete, adequately aged and prepared asphalt, or a properly leveled and compacted sub-base. Prepare the sub-surface, ensuring it is clean, dry, and free of oils. Sub-surface preparation is a crucial step for the long-term success of the installation.

    • 04

      Before installation, collaborate with the manufacturer to confirm correct non-encroachment zones, fall heights, and fall zone clearances. This information is essential for selecting and installing tiles with the appropriate impact attenuation properties.

    • 05

      Review the adhesive process, taking note of optimal temperatures and application procedures. Tiles are affixed to the sub-surface using a roll-on tile-to-base adhesive.

    • 06

      Follow the manufacturer’s specific instructions for tile application, including tile-to-tile adhesion, and proceed with installing the tile surface. The typical process involves:

      • Placing the alignment foot on the bottom of the tile inside the predetermined 90-degree corner.
      • Applying a 1/4-inch bead of glue along the wall in the base of male U-shaped locking sides before positioning the next tile.
      • Placing the alignment foot in the top left corner in the space provided on each tile, locking the female lock on top of the male lock, and pressing it into position.
      • Once all four locks are secured, align the seams with all adjacent seams.
      • Adjust the tiles to ensure they are tight and snug.
    • ROUTINE MAINTENANCE:
    • 01

      Blowing/Sweeping: The optimal method for removing loose debris from the tile surface and seams is by using a leaf blower. In cases where a leaf blower is not suitable for all play areas, sweeping is an acceptable alternative. However, sweeping alone may not effectively eliminate all contaminants.

    • 02

      Vacuum: Periodic vacuuming is recommended, especially in areas where sand is frequently tracked onto the surface.

    • 03

      Water Hose: Utilize a water hose with a pressure spray tip to cleanse the porous top surface and eliminate contaminants.

    • 04

      Cleaning Agents: Interlocking tiles can generally withstand the moderate use of most household or bio-degradable detergents that contain odor suppressants and disinfectants. Dilute the cleaning agent according to the manufacturer's recommendations.

    • Advanced Maintenance:
    • Depending on the frequency of use, tiles may require occasional deep cleaning to eliminate accumulated dirt and stains.

    • 05

      Steam Vacuum: An ideal method for advanced cleaning and maintenance involves using a steam vacuum, with or without cleaning agents.

    • 02

      Power Washing: In areas that can accommodate power washing, employ a power washer with a wand tip for thorough cleaning.

Adhering to CSA Z614:20 Guidelines

Maintenance and Safety Standards

Purpose: This guide is based on the CSA Z614:20 standard, which emphasizes the importance of regular maintenance and adherence to safety standards for playground surfacing. These practices are crucial for keeping playground surfaces safe, functional, and compolipliant.

Maintenance Requirements for Playground Surfacing

  1. Routine Upkeep: Regular inspections, cleaning, and repairs are vital for maintaining surface safety and functionality.
  2. Containment for Loosefill Materials: Use methods such as retaining barriers to keep materials like sand and pea gravel within the designated area.
  3. Surface Clearing and Raking: Loosefill surfaces require consistent raking to maintain depth and prevent hazards like hardening or sod growth.
  4. Periodic Testing: Conduct field tests for ongoing compliance with impact attenuation and shock absorbency as per CSA Z614:20 standards.

Safety Standards Compliance

  1. Adherence to CSA Z614:20 Standards: Ensure surfaces meet CSA Z614:20 specifications for gmax and HIC values, ensuring optimal safety and impact absorption.
  2. Critical Height Assessment: Surfaces must be tested for critical height compliance, particularly under playground equipment with specified fall heights.
  3. Temperature and Humidity Considerations: For materials like PIP rubber, consider environmental conditions affecting safety features, as outlined in CSA Z614:20 guidelines.

Advanced Safety Practices

  1. Ongoing Field Compliance Testing: Regular on-site testing ensures long-term safety and compliance, especially important for materials undergoing environmental stress.
  2. Warranty and Lifespan Management: Understand warranties and expected lifespans for various materials, planning for maintenance and replacement accordingly.
  3. Temperature and Humidity Considerations: For materials like PIP rubber, consider environmental conditions affecting safety features, as outlined in CSA Z614:20 guidelines.
Synthetic Turf Playground Surface Playground with Black Rubber Surface
Aerial View of Playground with Pour-In-Place (PIP) Rubber Surface Summerlea Community Playground ( Edmonton, Alberta ) with Pour-In-Place Rubber Surface

Detailed Considerations

Weather Impact on Different Surfaces

The resilience of playground surfaces under diverse weather conditions is a critical factor for safety. The CSA Z614:20 standard underscores the owner's responsibility to consider the risks associated with winter conditions on surfacing materials (referencing CSA Z614:20, Clause 11.4.2.2). Effective drainage systems are crucial to prevent the accelerated deterioration of all surfaces, particularly unitary ones like PIP rubber, which can be costly to repair if drainage issues arise post-installation. PIP, for example, may harden in cold weather, diminishing its shock-absorbing capabilities and potentially increasing injury risk.

Lifecycle Cost Analysis

When evaluating playground surfacing options, consider the total lifecycle costs. EWF and other loose-fill options might offer initial savings but require ongoing replenishment. In contrast, unitary surfaces such as rubber tiles and PIP rubber, despite their longevity and reduced maintenance, carry a higher initial cost and may shorten the total lifespan of your playground budget due to eventual replacement or repair needs. Accessibility advantages of unitary surfaces must be balanced against these financial considerations.

Compliance with Safety Standards

Ensuring safety compliance involves regular HIC (Head Injury Criterion) Drop Tests, as per CSA Z614:20 standards, to assess the surface's impact attenuation (CSA Z614-20, Clause 10.1). These tests, conducted with specialized equipment—a spherical metal object with embedded sensors simulating a child's head—measure the G-force experienced during impact, providing a quantifiable safety score. Repeated across multiple playground areas, they ensure a comprehensive assessment of the surface's safety over time.

Installation Processes and Challenges

The installation of playground surfacing requires meticulous technique, particularly for unitary surfaces like rubber tiles. A trained installer is crucial for keeping the grid straight and maintaining the surface's integrity. The sub-base, whether concrete or road crush, must be compacted to 98% Standard Proctor Density to ensure proper drainage and stability under the dynamic conditions of play. Loose-fill materials must be installed to adequate depths with a specialized gauge, such as a loose-fill probe, to maintain compliance with safety standards.

Choosing the Best Surfacing Option

Selecting the appropriate playground surfacing involves a thorough analysis of factors such as fall heights, accessibility, maintenance, budget constraints, playground location, drainage solutions, and user demographics. Synthetic turf over PIP rubber can offer a consistent appearance and enhanced functionality while catering to safety standards, though it may not always be the most economical choice.

Environmental Considerations and Sustainability

In playground surfacing decisions, the environmental impact is a significant concern. Sustainable choices like rubber crumb, made from recycled tires, support green initiatives but must be carefully considered for their environmental lifecycle. Adherence to environmental standards and certifications reflects a commitment to eco-friendly playground construction.