Poured in place playground surfacing materials require a binding agent to bind the materials together for safety and durability.
There are primarily two different types of binders used in poured in place surfacing. The binding agent is a key component in the application. Many installers do not understand the difference between the binders and therefore, they do not education their customers on how the playground surface could be affected.
The aromatic binder is the most typically used binder in poured in place surfaces. It is a good quality product and works well in most climates. It is resilient and can withstand many different outdoor conditions. This is the most affordable binder on the market. However, there are certain limitations with this product. When exposed to extreme sunlight, it can cause fading of color in poured in place surfaces. Also, it does not stand up as well to constant water flow.
The aliphatic binder is the recommended choice for more extreme conditions. Anytime a playground surface is exposed to intense sunlight, this product should be used to avoid color fading. We recommend this binder to all of our customers in the far south and southwest parts of the U.S. On splash pads and certain swimming pool decks, the aliphatic binder is preferred, as it holds up better with continuous water exposure. The aliphatic binding agent is not inexpensive, calculating to nearly double the cost of the aromatic binder. But in certain conditions it is the better, more long-lasting option. This is something to be considered when budgeting for a new playground surface.