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Rubber Surfacing: A Time-Tested System

"Rubber surfacing” has been around for decades and used for over 50+ years in fact, with some examples of rubber surfacing installations being almost as good as new 25 years after being installed and maintained properly. Installed under an array of titles, some providers say 'paving' others say 'surfacing'. Some even highlight the fact that the materials are made into a 'wet' mixture and 'poured' in place known as ‘wet-pour' or 'pour in-place'. The one thing that they all say is 'RUBBER'. Rubber consisting of small EPDM or SBR granules mixed with a binding agent and towelled into place. Popularized by its commercial use as surfacing around playground structures and water-play areas, eventually finding its way into other commercial projects requiring increased accessibility or branding requirements, and eventually pushing its way into the residential market for its durability, range of colors and other benefits inherent to the mixture's components. Once set, the mixture has attributes important for any long lasting installations. Utilitarian qualities include being flexible, cushioned and porous. Flexibility provides resistance to tearing as the ground shifts over the seasons. Compression of the rubber, compared to concrete or asphalt, reduces the consequences of impact and is relational to its installed depth. The importance of proper depth becomes apparent around play structures where a fall rating may be applied to the rubber surfacing. The surface, when trowelled and set, leaves a smooth finish but has a porous nature allowing for water to follow any pre-existing routes of egress and for air to vent through cooling the surface during hot summers while assisting with the thaw of snow and ice once the air warms in spring. The porous nature also makes maintenance minimal and as easy as one annual clean using a 2000psi pressure washer to dislodge fine dirt and sand packed into pours over time. Regular pressure washing help prevent fine dirt and sand from sawing through the binder and dislodging rubber granules, resulting in a degraded surface over a prolonged time of neglect. Lifetime maintenance frequency varies by use of the surface and amount of traffic. An indicator that a fresh top-coat may be required is when granulation appears. A clear example being the difference between an outdoor dining patio with only foot traffic with an estimated frequency of re-top-coating approximately once every 5 years will have a lower frequency of lifetime maintenance than a driveway used by vehicles, which is estimated to have a higher frequency of applying a new top-coat every 2-3 years. Lifetime maintenance can be done to prevent and stop 'granulation' by applying a 'top-coat' of binder to re-establish surface granule adhesion and bring back some of the products vibrance and shine. This maintenance is an advisable step for achieving the longest product life of any rubber surfacing installation.”

Rubber Is Great

However not all rubber is created equal and not all rubber systems are the same. There are two main types of rubber primarily used in rubber surfacing, Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM) and Styrene-butadiene Rubber (SBR). EPDM rubber that is used in rubber surfacing is fully dyed rubber with color throughout its entierty that has been either sulfur cured or peroxide cured. The majority of SBR used in rubber surfacing comes from recycled material with used tires being the primary and most economical source, that helps keep long rubber out of garbage dumps for longer. Levels of quality screening for recycled materials, cleaning and dust extraction varies for each processing plant but is a crutial concideration when it comes to selecting materials and minimizing waste. Spate Covers recognizes these differences and selects to use premium materials that have the best practices in production using modern technologies and advanced refining systems. Ensuring the best bonding resine binders and dust free rubber that has been precisly dyed and cured for excellent performance in polymer consitency, durability and color retention, resulting in a superior product for your rubber surfacing project.