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Poured in Place Surface vs. Rubber Safety Tiles – Which Option is Best?

Rubber playground surfacing has become the most popular solution to enhancing playground safety. There are two main types of rubber safety surfaces to choose from. People often ask us which is better. To be sure, both of these products have pros and cons. The best choice is the one that works best for your playground and safety surface needs. Here are some of the benefits and drawbacks to each product.

Rubber Playground Tile Rubber Tile Playground Safety Surface

Pros

Rubber playground tiles come in pre-fabricated 2ft. x 2ft. pieces. They are available in several different colors including red, blue and green, being the main options. When installed correctly, rubber tiles are 100% ADA compliant. They also can be installed in a VERY attractive checkerboard pattern. See an installation photo of this type of playground surface from our ACS projects in New York City to get a look at this very cool pattern on our Photo Gallery page.

Cons

This product comes in pieces that have a predetermined thickness. This means it is very difficult to raise and lower the heights of tiles throughout the playground surface. Since different fall height surface thickness is required under different pieces of equipment, this can cause playground owners to overspend on thicker tiles and surface than they actually need across the entire surface. This can unnecessarily increase a budget due to the additional materials. Color options are also limited with this product.

Poured in Place (Poured Rubber) Playground

Poured in Place Playground Safety Surface

Pros

Poured-in-place playground surfacing offers almost unlimited design options to the customer. It comes in a wide variety of colors. Stencils and designs or even interactive games can be installed within this type of safety surface. Also, it is easy for the installers to seamlessly change the depth of the surface as needed throughout the playground. This is currently the most popular product on the market. See examples of this type of playground safety surface installation on our Projects Gallery page under Kayla’s Krew and others.

Cons

The application and installation of this type of surface can be difficult to the inexperienced installer. All products must be mixed on site and hand troweled which can cause the playground to be shut down for a few days until the application is complete. Weather conditions must be nearly ideal for this type of playground surface to be installed. If conditions are too humid or too cold, the binders in the product will not cure properly. We recorded a video of a recent installation project using poured in place playground surface. You can view our video here.

Analysis

Although rubber playground tiles can be a great solutions for some playground surfaces, we believe the poured in place surfacing is the best solutions for most playground applications. The product’s flexibility and design options are hard to beat. If you can live with your playground being closed for a couple days, the end result of the poured in place surface is well worth it!