What is Unitary Surfacing?
Tuesday 26th November 2013
Unitary materials are generally rubber mats and tiles or a combination of energy-absorbing materials held in place by a binder that may be poured in place at the playground site and then cured to form a unitary shock absorbing surface. Unitary materials are available from a number of different manufacturers, many of whom have a range of materials with differing shock absorbing properties. New surfacing materials, such as bonded wood fiber and combinations of loose-fill and unitary, are being developed that may also be tested to ASTM F1292 and fall into the unitary materials category. When deciding on the best surfacing materials keep in mind that some dark colored surfacing materials exposed to the intense sun have caused blistering on bare feet. Check with the manufacturer if light colored materials are available or provide shading to reduce direct sun exposure. Persons wishing to install a unitary material as a playground surface should request ASTM F1292 test data from the manufacturer identifying the critical height rating of the desired surface. In addition, site requirements should be obtained from the manufacturer because some unitary materials require installation over a hard surface while others do not. Manufacturer’s instructions should be followed closely, as some unitary systems require professional installation. Testing should be conducted in accordance with the ASTM F1292 standard.
Source: 2.4 Surfacing
Public Playground Safety Handbook - CPSC Publication 325
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
2. 4.2.1 Unitary surfacing materials
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