Winter has ruined my playground rubber surface

If you live in the Northeast or the mid-west you will likely encounter this problem: gaps in your poured in place rubber surface. Some of these will be wide enough to present a tripping hazard or interfere with your ADA compliance. How does that happen? Poured in place rubber surfacing is made up of rubber granules that are bound together by a polyurethane binder. The base layer is typically SBR rubber, the same rubber found in your car tires. The wear layer is made up of either all EPDM or TPV rubber or a combination of EPDM and SBR rubber. Rubber does contract in cold temperatures and will expand in warmer weather. However, when it contracts, the bond that holds it with concrete walkways or borders will break, and the contraction will continue until a visible gap is seen.

Poured in place rubber playground surface winter damage

While there is nothing one can do to prevent this from happening, fixing this problem is not that costly. There are patch kits that you can purchase that are made for this purpose. The patch kits allow you to trowel in the required amount of rubber to fix the gaps. The most important thing is to do this early enough, so the kids don’t pick at the edges and make the gaps bigger. The repair kits are do-it-yourself. So they are very easy to apply. We recommend you patch the base layer first using the base layer patch kit, before you patch the wear layer patch it. Pick a dry and warm day to do the repair. Don’t let winter ruin your playground rubber surface. If you stay ahead of the gap getting bigger and wider, this should be an easy fix. If you don’t, the problem might get bigger over time, and you might have to replace the entire wear layer; which is a costly proposition.