Four Ways To Ensure Your Surface Is Built With Quality Components

October 24, 2008

As a company, we are very passionate about the playground and recreational surfacing industry. It’s our core business. So, when we hear people suggest the smart choice is to simply buy on price because all surfacing systems are the same – it’s hard to keep us off our soapbox.

After all, there’s a reason for the adage – you get what you pay for.

There is, in fact, a huge difference between choosing a company that builds surfacing and choosing a company that builds surfacing with the best interest of the client in mind. The difference can best be defined by examining the company’s commitment to quality – in both craftsmanship and in the components being built into the system.

Before you start a poured-in-place surfacing project, ask about the following:

  1. The type and quality of material components (rubber and urethane) being used.  Consistency in the rubber from post-consumer tires, called SBR, is critical.  The EPDM quality used in the top surface is even more important. A low dust content and high production quality lead to consistency in the surface construction.  It reduces the amount of urethane absorbed by the dust and maximizes the amount of urethane left to bond granules and strands together. The result is a stronger surface.
  2. Is the top surface application rate ample for long-term durability? The application rate is best understood in pounds per square foot than in thickness, because density is critical to the structural integrity of the surface. For example: In poured-in-place systems, Surface America uses an industry-leading 2.44 lbs of material (rubber and urethane) per square foot in its top surface. More material in the top layer means greater tensile strength (side-to-side pulling) and superior taber abrasion (top down wear).
  3. Quality of the basemat.  The basemat provides the shock absorbency in the system.  The objective is to have a medium density layer with a medium amount of urethane in the mix.  Too much urethane makes the system hard and unforgiving.  Not enough urethane can cause a premature breakdown of the basemat. The right balance is key.
  4. Is the installation crew committed to meeting the specification and following sound application guidelines?  Is the crew highly trained in the unique poured-in-place process? Does the installation crew have the craftsmanship required for consistently high-quality installations?

So how can we speak from our soapbox with conviction?

It’s not because Surface America has installed more than fifteen million square feet of recycled rubber surfacing on thousands of playgrounds and recreational areas across the country over a seventeen-year period – it’s because we have done so with our eyes on the industry and most importantly with our eyes always focused on the long-term needs of our clients.