Playgrounds are a great place for active outdoor games. Children do not know how to take care of their own safety – adults have to do it.
Playing on playgrounds and sports grounds physically develops children. However, these games are often accompanied by falls, which lead to bruises, bruises, bumps, and more dangerous injuries. In order to keep children’s activities safe, there is a special rubber surface, which in addition will get rid of dirt and decorate the playground. In this article we will tell you how to choose and properly use the best rubber paving.
Advantages and disadvantages
Modern sports and playgrounds for children use river sand as a surface at best, and asphalt or small gravel at worst. Naturally, they do not meet the safety rules.
Rubber coverings are currently becoming the best and most environmentally friendly material for playgrounds. This rubberized coating has its own advantages.
- Provides a high degree of safety while children are playing on the playground. These coatings of great resilience reduce the possibility of serious injury, even in a fall, as the shock-absorbing properties of the coating with rubber soften the impact. Young children feel stable on the rough surface, which does not allow the risk of slipping.
- It has a long service life, which can reach 10 years.
- It is very durable because the raw material is recycled rubber from disused automobile tires. Therefore, it has a good resistance to various mechanical damages and can withstand heavy loads.
- It does not react to weather influences. It can bear temperature jumps from -30 to +50 degrees Celsius, which allows using it all year round, and in regions with different climates. However, at subzero temperatures, elastic and springy properties are somewhat reduced. After rain, moisture escapes into the ground through the pores, which means that puddles do not stagnate, and ice crusts do not form after frost.
- It is an environmentally friendly material. Its components are free of components that are harmful and dangerous to the health of children, and there are no unpleasant odors.
- Does not cause allergies. It is resistant to mold, fungus and other infections, does not attract rodents and harmful insects, it does not grow weeds.
- Has a large variety of colors that do not burn out under the sun and retain their intensity and properties during operation.
- Gives the site an aesthetic look. Large range of colors and patterns allows you to create beautiful compositions and turn the playground into a fabulous and attractive for children town.
- Taking care of such a coating is easy and simple. It can be vacuumed, water remove dirt, the use of conventional detergents is acceptable. But in order not to damage the surface, you can not use metal brushes.
- You can install it yourself, as it has a simple installation that does not require special tools.
Still, the coating has some disadvantages. First of all, its ability to smolder and melt, leading to a fire, which makes the coating a fire hazard. That is why you can not start a fire near the site. Another big disadvantage is the high price, although it is justified by the long service life.
And another small disadvantage can be considered a condition of laying – only in dry weather (in wet it deforms).
Requirements for a playground cover
Coverage for the playground must have certain qualities. The most important of them are:
- Reducing the possibility of injury to a child who has fallen from a height to a minimum – a trauma-safe material.
- The ability not to accumulate water, but to pass through itself so that it can quickly drain away.
- Increased resistance to mechanical stress, including tearing – reliable and highly durable material.
- No possibility of slipping in wet weather – the material is not slippery when wet.
- Ability to repair existing damages – repairable material.
- Ease of maintenance – no difficulties with cleaning, both dry (sweeping) and wet (washing with water from a hose).
- Choosing surfaces on which children will play or play sports, taking into account all of the above criteria is not easy. Of the options on the market today, all of these requirements one hundred percent conforms to the rubber cover for playgrounds. It comes in very different forms.
Types and characteristics
The development of technological processes has made it possible to create a different and safe material for the design of children’s play areas in the form of rubber coverings. These coverings can be of the following types:
- monolithic (solid) seamless canvas of rubber crumb;
- modular rubber tiles;
- modular pavement made of plastic;
- rolled rubber coating.
Monolithic (solid) seamless canvas
Seamless pavement for sports and playgrounds, also called pouring pavement. The seams are completely absent thanks to the laying technology, reminiscent of pouring a concrete screed. Only instead of cement it takes a binder based on polyurethane resin, and instead of crushed stone and sand – rubber crumbs. Thus, this type of coating is created directly on the site (in situ). It can be either a one-layer or two-layer: first one layer is poured, then a fiberglass mesh is put (for durability), and another layer is put on top of it.
You can lay rubber asphalt on asphalt, concrete, sand and any other surface, even an uneven and unprepared – just lubricate it with polyurethane putty. But the uneven surface significantly increases the consumption of crumb rubber, so the place of laying is usually pre-prepared.
Crumb is mixed with a binder in a special container, poured onto the surface and flattened with a smoothing tool or a large spatula, the surface is lubricated with any silicone oil, so nothing sticks to it. The minimum thickness of the layer is 1 cm. After smoothing, the coating is rolled with a roller.
Pouring such a coating is performed in parts, including the possibility of creating different patterns, geometric and abstract designs, between which there will be no seams. Only it should be done quickly, so that the edges do not have time to dry.
Coating without seams has many advantages:
- the ability to perform it of different thicknesses on the same site,
- is soft enough, has good cushioning – so, the risk of injury when you fall is minimal,
- water permeable due to the presence of a large number of micropores,
- no joints, which will accumulate dirt and debris,
- long service life,
- affordable price.
Along with the pros, seamless coating has disadvantages. The most significant is that it is inconvenient and difficult to repair. The ruined part should be cut out and then a new layer should be applied, which may be slightly different in color from the original, as it is difficult to find the right shade.
Modular rubber tiles
Tile mats can be made by two methods: cold or hot pressing of crumb rubber. The resulting material, while having a high degree of elasticity, remains soft. The porous structure provides good moisture permeability, which contributes to quick drying after precipitation. This option is different in shape and size polygons. The size of the sides can be up to 1 m, and the thickness is 1-6 cm. Tiles are fixed to each other by the “tongue and groove” type, and the assembly is carried out as with conventional puzzles. Thin mats mostly consist of a single layer and come evenly and fully colored.
IMPORTANT. With a thickness of 2-3 centimeters, the coating is too rigid, so it will be poorly cushioned. To make the coating springy and really provide security, its thickness should be at least 3.5 centimeters, or better – 5.
Today they make single-layer tiles in different colors and multilayer tiles with a reinforcing mesh of fiberglass. The bottom layer is made of small granules – the pores become smaller, but it springs better.
Rubber tiles have many advantages:
- quite soft, has good cushioning, – which means that the risk of injury in a fall is minimal,
- the porous structure of the material is good water permeable and accelerates the drying of coverage,
- different sizes and shapes,
- it is possible to lay geometric patterns from tiles of different colors,
- a long service life,
- is characterized by the simplicity and speed of laying on a flat plane, without requiring additional equipment and tools,
- the possibility of repairing the coating in case of damage by replacing the damaged element with a new one,
- has a lower price than the monolithic seamless coating.
Among the disadvantages – only monochrome options, the complexity of repair, the need to carefully level the site before laying the roll coating.
Installed such a tile, as well as any other, on a pre-aligned base, limited by curbs. Concrete or cement screed is not required – a sandy cushion will do. It is better to connect the ends with metal/plastic ties or glue.
Having excellent technical properties, tile still has not such a wide application, and for playgrounds it is used rarely. When installing it, all the manufacturer’s instructions must be strictly followed.
Modular plastic cover
This type is a collapsible design, consisting of elements of different sizes. It is made of high quality plastic. Easily withstands temperature fluctuations and long interaction with water. Meets the requirements of environmental safety and is easy to lay. Easily disassembled, the product can be installed in another place, and even moved in assembled form. Plastic coating is much cheaper than other types.
Rolled coating is in the form of strips of different widths and lengths. The material used for production is a hardened rubber crumb, cut into strips, which are then rolled up into a roll. Rolled coating may have 2-3 layers and a thickness of 2-5 mm. For playgrounds, its thickness can reach 10, 15, 17, 20 mm. This kind of decking can be mounted by yourself.
Roll coating has many advantages:
- it is soft enough, has good cushioning, – which means that the risk of injury in a fall is minimal,
- good water permeability due to the presence of a large number of micropores,
- a minimum of joints, which will accumulate dirt and debris – rolls can be securely glued together,
- the possibility of individual selection of the area and thickness of the surface for each site,
- long service life,
- affordable cost.
Among the disadvantages – only monochrome options, complexity of repair, the need to carefully level the site before laying roll cover.
Rubber rolls are laid on the prepared (first of all – aligned) basis, the best way – hard. The joints are smeared with glue and pressed together tightly. You can use a stapler with staples, which are pulled out after the glue dries.