Problem Solver - August 2008
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Extending the Life of Your Playground Surface

Selecting the best safety surface to meet your needs is one crucial step in ensuring playground safety, but what happens when your surface ages? You can save your money and increase the life of your existing surface at the same time by repairing rather than replacing it.

Q: Our playground safety surface is showing signs of wear. What are our options?

A: Whether you have a poured-in-place surface or a tile surface, you don't have to start afresh. Especially in tight budgetary times, it might be wise to consider an alternative: applying a topcoat to your surface.

A topcoat can protect your surface from further damage, while stopping the flaking and disintegration you're already seeing. A water-based formula with no natural rubber latex is best. It can easily be applied by your maintenance crew with a roller or a squeegee. The surface will be easier to clean, and provides long-lasting color.

Even better, it dries in as little as one hour, so you won't have to take your playground out of commission for lengthy period to get a new surface installed.

Q: We've had complaints of children burning their feet on our playground's surface. What can we do to protect them?

A: On unitary surfaces, untreated surface temperatures can reach at least 160 degrees in the bright sun. Topcoats can help lower the surface temperature by as much as 35 degrees. The topcoat further increases safety by controlling bacteria and mold growth—common culprits in childhood asthma and allergies.

Q: We're concerned about our environmental impact. How can we take a "greener" approach to our playground surface?

A: If you replace your entire safety surface when it begins to show signs of wear, you'll be wasting your existing surface. By using a topcoat featuring low or no VOCs (volatile organic compounds), you'll be able to recycle your existing surface into a like-new condition.

Stone River Polymers: