Everything You Need to Know about Maintaining Poured-in-Place Rubber Surfacing
Poured-in-place (PIP) or wet-pour rubber surfacing is a popular surfacing choice for high-traffic and high-activity areas as it’s durable, soft, slip-resistant, shock-absorbent, and cannot splinter. The installed surface is ADA-compliant and safe for kids and seniors alike.
What’s more? Poured-in-place rubber floors can be easily customized as per one’s needs. For instance, you can choose a color and design of the surface based on a specific theme or logo. Similarly, the depth of the surface can be set depending on the critical fall height, a factor that determines the safety of a playground flooring. A thicker surfacing acts as a cushion, reducing the risk of serious injuries in case of a fall.
Poured-in-place rubber surfaces are unitary. So, they don’t shift and are easy to clean and maintain. No wonder, the poured-in-place rubber flooring is a standard choice surface for playgrounds, gyms, daycares, equestrian centers, pool decks, recreational facilities and other areas that experience a lot of foot traffic and intensive activity.
A properly installed and maintained PIP surface would last you 10 years or more. Therefore, it’s critical to be aware of how to maintain poured-in-place rubber surfaces. Here are a few tips!
Clean the Surface Regularly
The first step towards maintaining the poured-in-place rubber floor is to get rid of loose sand, dirt, small stones, or moss that may get clogged in the space between the EPDM granules. This loose debris on the unitary surfacing can not only cause slip hazards but also accumulate in porous openings, weakening the bond between the rubber granules. These particles can also be abrasive to the surface and clog important drainage features. Simply put, it’s important to clean the surface regularly.
Use a nylon broom to clean the area as it’s easy on the surface. Avoid using metal bristle brooms and shovels that can dislodge the rubber granules.
When mopping or washing, avoid using harsh detergents or solvents that may damage the surface. For instance, chemicals like xylene that dissolve glues should be avoided as they may cause the rubber surface to erode and appear discolored. Routine cleaning can be effectively accomplished using a simple garden hose, a microfiber mop, push broom, and a mild detergent.
Resist the urge to power-wash the surface as it may dislodge the EPDM granules, degrade the polyurethane binder, and weaken the surface. Finally, if you wish to sanitize the surface, use special floor sanitizers available to clean poured rubber surfaces.
Know How to Tackle Stains
Stains are an integral part of all types of flooring. Usually, pressure-washing with a mild soap is effective to tackle stains on poured-in-place rubber floors. Yet, a few stubborn stains may need special treatment. Using harsh methods to get rid of them can affect the longevity of the PIP surface.
Here are a few quick tips to tackle stains without damaging the flooring.
Graffiti can be removed by scrubbing the area with a soft brush and mild detergent. Alternatively, use a medium-grade sandpaper to remove the paint but take care not to damage the surface.
Harsh chemical spills like acids, alkalis, gasoline, solvent-based solutions, pine sol, WD-40, and paint thinner can erode the surface. Rinse the area with water to minimize the damage and get in touch with a rubber surfacing expert immediately.
Organic matter like blood, animal droppings, and urine can be easily cleaned without damaging the surface. Scrub off the deposit with a cleaning brush and soak the residue with a damp disposable rag. Clean the area with a vinegar and water solution and let it air dry.
Chewing gum stuck to the surface can be removed by applying dry ice. Once the gum freezes, just chip it off.
Keep It Safe from Sharp Objects
Poured-in-place rubber flooring can be damaged by objects with sharp edges like metal chairs, ladders, metal bristle brooms, and shovels among others. These surfaces are designed to withstand shocks from high-intensity activities and protect kids and seniors from serious injuries following a fall. Being soft and springy, anything with sharp edges, including pencil-heeled shoes, can damage the surface.
Reseal the Surface Once in Two Years
Poured-in-place rubber surfaces have a top color layer ( usually ⅜” to 1/2″ in thickness) that protects the fragile cushion layer from wear and tear and sunlight. Without proper cleaning and maintenance, this layer comprising, the sealant, glue, and UV protection, can wear away, causing the rubber color granules to break off (granulation). If not detected and attended to in time, the rubber surface will deteriorate further, demanding major repairs down the line.
Hence, early detection and proper repair and maintenance is key to extending the life of your poured-in-place safety surfacing. We recommend using a sealer once every 1-2 years to rejuvenate the surface and maintain its vivid colors. Re-sealing this layer early can help restore its original condition and extend the longevity of the PIP rubber surface. A sealer reinforces the binders damaged due to the harmful UV rays.
Conduct an Annual Inspection
Multiple factors (climatic, foot traffic, and potential vandalism) influence the longevity of a poured-in-place rubber flooring. Hence, besides granulation, there are other signs of damage you should look out for. These may compromise the integrity and safety of the flooring in the long term.
An annual inspection by a certified professional can help keep the area in top condition, allowing you to address minor issues before it’s too late. Also, use these questions as a guide when inspecting the surface.
- Is the surface damaged by tree roots?
- Is the layer beneath the surface sinking?
- Is the border around the rubber surfacing is good condition?
- Are these signs of damage to the transitions from one safety surfacing to another? For instance, the transition from poured-in-place to loose fill. Is this area broken or developing cracks?
- Are there signs of the surface being vandalized or damaged?
Know When to Involve an Expert
If you pay heed to all the points shared above, cleaning and maintaining poured-in-place rubber flooring is a breeze. However, some issues need immediate attention from a professional, else it could turn into a bigger and more expensive repair job.
For instance, if you come across a sunken surface (an area where the rubber flooring has lost the support of the aggregate), it’s wise to call a local rubber flooring company to fix it. Sunken floors are mostly caused by draining issues that affect the aggregate, leaving the rubber dependent on its tensile strength. This may cause the rubber surface to tear. Only an experienced rubber surfacing installer can take corrective measures to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
Get in touch with a professional when you see small holes, granulation, patches or blemishes, or any other signs of wear or damage on the rubber surface.
Poured-in-place rubber flooring offers a seamless, safe, and aesthetically-pleasing surface that’s appropriate for almost every indoor or outdoor application. However, like any other surface, timely maintenance of PIP surfaces is paramount.
Rubcorp’s certified installation crew takes extra care to visually inspect the poured-in-place surfacing for compliance to American Standard for Testing Methods (ASTM), American Disability Act (ADA), and Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Yet, knowing how to care for the PIP rubber surfacing can ensure that the floor is sufficiently cared for.
Use the pointers shared above to maintain a poured-in-place surface in great condition for many years to come.