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Mastering Pour and Place Techniques for Playground Safety


Understanding Pour and Place, Playground Safety

Pour and Place technology is a cutting-edge solution for playgrounds, offering a seamless and durable surface that is both safe and visually appealing. This technique involves laying a two-layer system directly on the playground area, combining a shock-absorbing rubber base with a colorful top layer of EPDM rubber granules. It’s a popular choice for schools, parks, and daycare centers aiming to provide a safer play environment for children.

This introduction gives a quick insight into what Pour and Place (PIP) is all about:
Safety First: PIP surfaces are designed to minimize injuries from falls.
Accessibility: These surfaces meet ADA requirements, ensuring inclusivity for all children.
Durability: Made to last, reducing the need for frequent repairs.
Customization: Available in various colors, allowing for creative and inviting play spaces.

Whether you’re a contractor looking to expand your service offerings or a distributor seeking reliable products, understanding the basics of Pour and Place surfacing can set the foundation for successful projects that prioritize child safety and play area integrity.

An informative infographic detailing the Pour and Place process, including the base layer's shock absorption characteristics, the top layer’s colorful EPDM rubber granules, ADA compliance, and an emphasis on the safety and customization benefits. - pour and place infographic pillar-4-steps

What is Pour and Place?

Pour and Place, often abbreviated as PIP, is a cutting-edge technique in playground safety surfacing. It’s a method that involves the installation of a two-layer system designed to provide a safe, durable, and accessible surface for recreational areas.

PIP Definition

At its core, Pour and Place is about creating a surface that can absorb impacts, reduce injuries, and provide an aesthetically pleasing play area. The process involves pouring a mixture of rubber granules and a binding agent directly onto the playground’s foundation, creating a seamless surface that eliminates tripping hazards and is gentle on the skin.

Safety Surfacing Applications

Pour and Place surfacing is not limited to playgrounds alone. Its applications extend to various recreational spaces, including:

  • School Playgrounds: Ensuring the safety of children during playtime.
  • Daycare Centers: Providing a safe environment for toddlers and young children.
  • Community Parks: Enhancing public spaces with safe and accessible areas for everyone.
  • Athletic Fields: Offering a durable and impact-absorbing surface for sports activities.

The versatility of Pour and Place surfacing makes it an excellent choice for any area that requires safety, durability, and accessibility. Whether it’s a vibrant playground full of children or a community park serving individuals of all ages, Pour and Place surfacing can be tailored to meet the specific needs of any project.

In summary, Pour and Place surfacing is an innovative solution that combines safety, accessibility, and aesthetic appeal. Its seamless installation process, coupled with the ability to customize the surface in terms of color and design, makes it a preferred choice for recreational spaces. By prioritizing the well-being of users and offering a range of applications, Pour and Place continues to set the standard in playground safety surfacing.

We’ll delve deeper into how Pour and Place works, emphasizing the technical aspects of the two-layer system and the materials involved. This will provide a clearer understanding of why Pour and Place is such a beneficial choice for playground surfacing.

How Pour and Place Works

Pour and Place surfacing is a cutting-edge method that ensures playgrounds are not only safe but also visually appealing and durable. Let’s break down how this innovative surfacing method works, focusing on its two-layer system, the EPDM top layer, and the rubber mulch base.

Two-layer System

At the heart of Pour and Place technology lies its two-layer system. This system is designed to provide maximum safety and durability.

  • Base Layer: The foundation of Pour and Place surfacing begins with the base layer. This layer is made from 100% post-consumer recycled SBR (Styrene Butadiene Rubber) and polyurethane. It’s designed to absorb impacts, providing a cushioned surface that reduces the risks of injuries from falls. The thickness of this layer can be adjusted on-site, allowing for customization to meet varying critical fall heights required by different playground equipment.
  • Top Layer: The top layer is where the magic of customization and color comes into play. Made from recycled post-industrial EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) rubber or TPV Granule, this layer is mixed with either an aromatic or aliphatic urethane binder. EPDM is chosen for its durability, weather resistance, and vibrant color options. This layer is what you see and touch, providing a smooth, attractive finish that can be customized with logos, games, and a wide range of colors.

EPDM Top Layer

The EPDM top layer is crucial for several reasons. First, it’s incredibly resistant to wear and tear from foot traffic and environmental elements. Its outstanding tensile strength ensures that the surface stays intact and functional for years. The “clear as water” appearance of the aliphatic binder used in some variants keeps the surface vibrant and the rubber true to its color, making the playground not just safer but aesthetically pleasing.

Rubber Mulch Base

The base layer, often composed of rubber mulch, plays a pivotal role in the system’s shock-absorbing capabilities. The rubber mulch is sourced from 100% post-consumer recycled SBR, making it an environmentally friendly choice. This layer is what absorbs the energy from falls, significantly reducing the risk of injury. Its porosity also means that water drains through it quickly, preventing puddles and allowing the playground to be used soon after rain.

In Summary

The Pour and Place method is a approach to playground surfacing that combines safety, durability, and aesthetics. Its two-layer system, with a shock-absorbing rubber mulch base and a customizable EPDM top layer, sets the standard for modern playgrounds. The ability to adjust thickness on-site for varying fall heights and the vast array of color options make it a versatile choice for any playground project.

By understanding the components and functionality of the Pour and Place system, it’s clear why this method has become a preferred choice for playground surfacing. It’s not just about creating a safe play area; it’s about crafting an environment where children can play, learn, and grow in a space that’s built to last.

As we continue to explore Pour and Place surfacing, we’ll examine the benefits it offers in terms of safety, ADA accessibility, and environmental friendliness.

Benefits of Pour and Place Surfacing

When it comes to playground safety and design, Pour and Place surfacing stands out for its numerous advantages. Let’s break down these benefits to see why it’s often the top choice for playgrounds, schools, and community spaces.


First and foremost, safety is a top priority. Pour and Place rubber surfacing is known for its shock-absorbing qualities. This means when kids take a tumble, the risk of serious injury is significantly reduced. The surface’s compliance with ASTM F1292 standards for head impact protection is a testament to its safety benefits.

ADA Accessibility

Accessibility is crucial in playground design. Pour and Place surfacing is smooth and even, making it fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This ensures that children and guardians of all mobility levels can access and enjoy the playground without barriers.

Quick Drying

Play doesn’t have to pause after a rain shower. Pour and Place surfaces dry quickly thanks to their porous nature. This means less downtime for the playground and more playtime for kids.

Customization Options

Creativity doesn’t have to take a backseat. With a wide range of colors and the ability to create custom shapes and designs, Pour and Place surfacing allows for a playground that’s not only safe but visually appealing and engaging for children. Imagine a playground surface that’s also a game board or a learning tool – the possibilities are endless.

Environmental Friendliness

Environmental responsibility is more important than ever. Pour and Place surfacing is often made from recycled materials, such as EPDM rubber, contributing to a more sustainable planet. This aspect not only appeals to eco-conscious communities but also teaches children the importance of recycling and environmental care.

In conclusion, Pour and Place surfacing offers unparalleled benefits in terms of safety, accessibility, efficiency, design flexibility, and environmental responsibility. Its quick-drying nature ensures that play can resume shortly after wet weather, while its customization options allow for creative and engaging playground designs. Most importantly, its use of recycled materials reflects a commitment to environmental sustainability, making it a responsible choice for communities. These advantages make it clear why Pour and Place surfacing is a preferred option for creating safe, accessible, and enjoyable play spaces.

Installation Process

The installation process of Pour and Place surfacing is a critical step in ensuring the longevity, safety, and aesthetic appeal of playgrounds or any other area where this material is applied. Let’s break down the process into manageable steps:


Before anything else, the site must be properly prepared. This involves:

  • Cleaning the area thoroughly to remove debris, dirt, and any other materials that might interfere with the adhesion of the surfacing.
  • Ensuring the substrate is level and compact. This might involve grading the area and compacting the soil to provide a stable base for the pour and place material.
  • Assessing drainage needs. Proper drainage is key to prevent water accumulation on the surface, which could lead to premature wear or safety hazards.

Site Preparation - pour and place

Base Layer Application

The base layer serves as the foundation of the pour and place surface. It’s typically made from rubber mulch or a similar shock-absorbing material. This layer is critical for safety, especially in playgrounds, as it provides the necessary cushioning to reduce injuries from falls. The thickness of this layer is determined based on the critical fall heights of the playground equipment.

  • Mixing the base layer material with a binder ensures a uniform consistency.
  • Applying the base layer evenly across the prepared area. This is usually done by hand troweling or with the help of specialized machinery for larger areas.

Top Layer Application

After the base layer cures, it’s time for the top layer. This layer is made of EPDM rubber granules mixed with a binder. The top layer adds color, texture, and the final protective surface that will be exposed to foot traffic and weather elements.

  • Customizing the color and design. At this stage, you can incorporate different colors or patterns to create an engaging and visually appealing space.
  • Applying the top layer requires precision to ensure an even surface that meets safety and accessibility standards.

Top Layer Application - pour and place


One of the significant advantages of pour and place surfacing is its versatility in design. You have the freedom to:

  • Incorporate logos or thematic designs that enhance the play area’s aesthetics.
  • Choose colors that blend with the surrounding environment or use bright colors to stimulate children’s imagination.

Critical Fall Heights

Safety is paramount, and understanding the concept of critical fall heights is essential. This refers to the maximum height from which a fall would not likely cause a life-threatening head injury.

  • Determining the necessary thickness of the pour and place surface is based on the equipment’s height in the playground.
  • Ensuring compliance with safety standards like ASTM F1292 ensures that the installed surface provides adequate protection.

The installation process of pour and place surfacing is meticulous but straightforward when broken down into these steps. Proper preparation, precise application of the base and top layers, thoughtful customization, and adherence to safety standards regarding critical fall heights are all crucial elements. By following these guidelines, you can achieve a safe, durable, and visually appealing pour and place surface that will serve the community for years to come.

Moving on, let’s delve into the essential maintenance practices and longevity considerations to keep your pour and place surface in top condition.

Maintenance and Longevity

Maintaining your pour and place playground surface is key to ensuring its longevity and safety. Here’s a simple guide to help you keep your surface in top shape.


Regular cleaning is crucial. Sweep the surface to remove loose debris. For more stubborn dirt, a gentle wash with water and a mild, eco-friendly detergent works wonders. The goal is to keep the surface safe and attractive without using harsh chemicals that could damage the rubber or harm the environment.


Over time, you might notice small tears or holes. Don’t worry; this doesn’t mean you need a whole new surface. Small areas can be easily repaired with a Poured In Patch Kit. For larger issues, professional repair services can make your surface look and perform like new again.

Rebinder Application

The Poured In Place Rebinder™ is a game-changer for older surfaces showing signs of wear or UV damage. Applying a rebinder can rejuvenate and seal your surface, extending its life for many years. This process is not only cost-effective but also environmentally friendly, as it prolongs the use of existing materials.

Warranty Information

Understanding your warranty can save you a lot of headaches. Surface America offers a leading warranty in the industry—7 years for the Super-7 system and 10 years for the Extreme-10 system. These warranties cover significant wear and tear, giving you peace of mind about your investment.

Surface America, PlayBound™

Choosing high-quality products like those from Surface America and their PlayBound™ line means investing in durability and longevity. Their products are designed to withstand heavy use and harsh weather, ensuring that your playground remains a safe and vibrant place for children to play for years to come.

By adhering to these maintenance and longevity tips, you can ensure that your pour and place surface remains a safe, durable, and inviting space for everyone to enjoy. Regular care and timely repairs not only keep the playground looking great but also maximize your investment by extending the surface’s life. A well-maintained pour and place surface is an ongoing commitment to safety and fun in your community.

Cost Considerations

When planning a playground or any recreational area, understanding the costs involved is crucial. Let’s dive into the specifics of pour and place surfacing to help you budget effectively.

Average Cost

The price range for pour and place rubber surfacing typically falls between $6.00 and $11.00 per square foot. This can vary based on several factors, but it gives you a starting point for budgeting.

Factors Affecting Price

Several elements can influence the final cost of your pour and place project. These include:

  • Size of the Area: Larger areas may benefit from economies of scale.
  • Surface Complexity: Custom designs or irregular shapes may increase costs.
  • Location: Prices can vary by region due to differences in labor and material costs.
  • Base Preparation: The condition of the existing surface or the need for a new base can affect the price.

Economic Benefits

While the upfront cost might seem high, consider the economic benefits:

  • Low Maintenance: Rubber surfacing requires less upkeep compared to other materials, saving you money over time.
  • Durability: A well-installed surface can last over 20 years, resisting weather and heavy use.
  • Installation Efficiency: Unlike other materials that might require extensive prep work, pour and place can often be installed over existing surfaces, reducing labor costs.

Installation Efficiency

Efficient installation is another cost-saving aspect of pour and place surfacing. The process is relatively straightforward, which means it can be completed quickly, reducing labor costs. Additionally, because it can be installed over many existing surfaces, you might save on the cost of tearing out and disposing of the old material.

In summary, while the initial investment in pour and place surfacing might be higher than some alternatives, the long-term savings in maintenance, durability, and installation efficiency make it a cost-effective choice for many projects. Planning with these cost considerations in mind will help ensure that your project stays within budget while achieving the safe, durable, and attractive surface you desire.

Frequently Asked Questions about Pour and Place

When it comes to pour and place surfacing, there are a few questions that pop up more often than others. Let’s dive into some of these frequent queries to help you understand this surfacing solution better.

How much does pour in place rubber surfacing cost?

The cost of pour and place rubber surfacing can vary widely based on several factors including the size of the area, the thickness of the surface, location, and the complexity of the installation. On average, the price ranges from $6.00 to $11.00 per square foot. This cost includes both materials and labor. It’s crucial to remember that while the initial investment might seem steep, the durability and low maintenance of pour and place surfacing can lead to savings over time.

How thick is poured in place rubber?

The thickness of pour and place rubber can be customized based on the specific needs of your project, particularly the critical fall heights required for safety. Generally, the thickness ranges from 1-3/4″ to 5-1/2″. Thicker layers provide greater impact absorption, which is especially important in playgrounds where falls are more likely. The ability to adjust thickness is a key advantage of pour and place surfacing, allowing for tailored safety measures.

How does pour in place rubber work?

Pour and place rubber surfacing works by combining two layers: a base layer and a top layer. The base layer is made from SBR (Styrene Butadiene Rubber) and polyurethane, providing the foundation for impact absorption. The top layer consists of EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) rubber or TPV Granule mixed with a urethane binder, which offers durability and color customization.

The process begins with preparing the existing surface, which can be concrete, asphalt, or even crushed stone. Then, the base layer is applied and leveled to meet safety standards for critical fall heights. Next, the top layer is mixed on-site, allowing for custom colors and designs to be added. This layer is also applied and leveled, finishing the surfacing with a durable, attractive, and safe playground surface.

This two-layer system not only ensures safety by absorbing impacts but also provides a long-lasting, low-maintenance surface that can withstand various weather conditions and heavy foot traffic. Plus, with a wide range of colors and the ability to incorporate logos or games, pour and place offers both practicality and aesthetic appeal.

Keep these FAQs in mind if you’re considering pour and place for your next playground or recreational surface project. Understanding the cost, customization options, and how the system works can help you make informed decisions for a safer, more enjoyable play area.


In wrapping up our discussion on pour and place surfacing, it’s crucial to highlight the role of Rubcorp in revolutionizing safety surfacing in playgrounds and recreational areas. Our commitment to excellence doesn’t just stop at providing top-notch surfacing solutions; it extends to ensuring that our partners and clients are well-equipped with the knowledge and skills to maintain and optimize these surfaces.

Rubcorp stands out in the industry not just for our high-quality products but for our comprehensive approach to service. We understand that the success of a pour and place project goes beyond just the installation. That’s why we offer industry-leading training and global support to ensure our partners have all the tools they need to succeed.

Rubcorp Training Session - pour and place

Our training programs are designed to cater to a wide range of needs, from new installers who are just getting started, to seasoned professionals looking to refine their skills. These sessions cover everything from the basics of pour and place installation to advanced techniques for maintenance and repair. By participating in our training, partners not only gain valuable knowledge but also become part of a global network of experts dedicated to setting new standards in safety surfacing.

Moreover, Rubcorp’s commitment to global support means that we’re always just a call or click away. Whether it’s troubleshooting a challenging installation, providing advice on maintenance, or offering insights on design customization, our team is dedicated to assisting our partners at every step. This level of support has been instrumental in helping our partners secure and successfully complete numerous projects, growing their businesses and enhancing community play areas around the world.

In conclusion, choosing Rubcorp for your pour and place surfacing needs means more than just getting access to premium materials. It means joining a community dedicated to excellence, innovation, and safety. With our industry-leading training and unwavering global support, we’re here to help you achieve success in every project. Whether you’re constructing a new playground, refurbishing an old one, or looking to expand your service offerings, Rubcorp has the expertise and resources to help you excel.

Discover how we can transform your next project by exploring our services and training opportunities at Rubcorp. Together, let’s create safer, more vibrant play areas for communities around the globe.

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Creative Director, Rubcorp Distribution, LLC

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