One of the most frequent questions we get asked about poured in place rubber surfacing is: How much does it cost to install? How much does it cost to maintain? and how much does it cost to repair? In this post, we will try to address all three questions.
How much does a new poured in place rubber install cost
The cost of a brand new poured in place rubber installation project will depend on several factors:
- What is on the site now:
- If you have playground mulch (Engineered Wood Fiber) currently on your site, that mulch has to be removed and disposed of either somewhere else on the site or at a dump. Please note that most dumps will treat the mulch as if it were contaminated. check with your local dump first before you make the trip. If you have just grass, that has to be removed as well. Basically, all organic materials have to be removed before the site aggregate is installed and compacted. If you don’t do this step, you will end up with bad surfacing later because air pockets will appear underneath the rubber surface as the organic materials decompose. After you remove the grass, or mulch, you will have to replace it with compacted aggregate. That cost is anywhere from $3 to $6 per square foot based on how much aggregate has to be added to come up to grade. If you already asphalt or concrete on site, you won’t have to add any site prep cost to the install.
- How thick the rubber surfacing needs to be:
- As you know the poured in place rubber surface has two layers: a base layer, and a wear layer. The wear layer is always half an inch. (Or this is how we like to install it. There are vendors out there that will go thinner). The base layer, or the impact attenuation layer varies based on the fall height of the equipment. So, for example, if the highest deck on your playground equipment is four feet, a base layer thickness of an inch and a half is usually adequate. The higher the fall height, the thicker the base. Please note that this numbers are not absolute. The way the base layer is installed can make a big difference in its impact attenuation. It’s all in the troweller’s hand. A base layer that is over compacted will not yield a high impact attenuation rate. The opposite is true.
- The color combination of the wear layer:
- The most common configuration for the wear layer is 50% black 50% color granules to keep the cost in check. Since color granules are four times more expensive than black granules, going for an all color surface will obviously be a lot more expensive than a 50/50 surface. We don’t recommend going for an all black surface because the surfacing will generate a lot of heat and will be more prone to cracking. Also, the black granules are made out of SBR rubber which is less porous than EPDM, which is what the colored granules are typically made out of. So, they make for a weaker bond setting the whole system for failure within years. So our advice is: Don’t go for an all black poured in place rubber to save money. You will pay the price later.
- Aromatic Vs. Aliphatic Glues:
- Finally, your choice of the binder used will greatly affect the cost of the poured in place rubber system. Aromatic binder is amber in color and the cheaper of the two. It’s perfectly fine for a 50/50 mix and is the choice for 90% of poured in place rubber installations. Aliphatic binder is clear and double the price of aliphatic binder. It is usually the binder of choice in splash pads and in 100% light color installations since it will not change the color of the granules and won’t amber over time.
Here are some numbers that will help you to calculate your poured in place rubber cost: Assuming the site prep is already done, and you need a two inch system (an inch and a half base layer and half inch wear layer) with 50% color 50% black wear layer using aromatic binder, you should expect to pay around twelve dollars per square foot. This figure will change based on the geographic area you are in as installing poured in place rubber is very labor intensive. You also should expect to pay roughly a dollar more for every extra half inch of base layer.
How much does it cost to maintain poured in place rubber?
This is a much easier question to answer. If you are having the surface professionally top sealed, for poured in surfaces using aliphatic glues, you should expect to pay about a dollar per square foot to top seal the surface. For aliphatic glues, you will spend around $1.5 a square foot. This will dramatically changed based on the square footage. The economics of scale dictate that the larger the space the less expensive the square footage price should be. If you want to do this yourself, you will be saving a lot of money. Our poured in place rubber top seal and rejuvenator will cost you less than 50 cents per square foot. Remember, this has to be done every couple years depending on how much sun the surface is exposed to.
How much does it cost to repair poured in place rubber?
It really depends on the extent of the damage you are trying to repair, and whether it is contained to the wear layer or extends to the base layer. Most of the cost of the damage is in labor. Most companies will charge around $75 per man hour plus materials for repairs. That’s why you will save money if you use one of those poured in place rubber repair kits.
We hope this helps answer some of your questions about poured in place rubber cost. As usual, if you have any questions, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at: 203-659-0456.