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The first giveaway is how clean the rubber flooring is. When you walk on a surface that has grime filling the gaps between the granules you know right a way trouble is on its way. Also, when you see debris everywhere, you know the area is not well maintained. A clean poured in rubber surface means that the impact attenuation it was meant to have is still there. The surface is still porous and it also means that there are no surprises to kids that are falling on it.
When we see patches everywhere we know that rubber surface hasn't been sealed when it needed it. The quality of the patch also speaks for the quality of the materials used. Too much glue used will immediately be seen in the patching. The area will be scaly and hard to the touch. Sometimes we will even see proof of a bad conditioner where the entire area will have white blemishes and be harder that it needs to be. A surface that is sealed with the right playground surface conditioner will look brand new and will be as soft as the day it was installed.
Yes. By using a power washer with a narrow nozzle one can easily dislodge the EPDM granules. One should always use a wide angle stream in any power washer. The other way to damage the rubber surface is by using lacquer disputants to clean the surface. Use friendly cleaning detergents that you would use to clean most household items.