Choosing a rubber surfacing for patios over tiling, cement, or finished wood is a good idea if you want to put safety first – and a great idea if you live in a climate that gets a lot of rain!
Rubber surfacing is safer than other surfaces, primarily because it’s meant to be a non-slip material that protects you from harming yourself. If most local playground developers are choosing rubber surfacing for children’s play areas, why not think about rubber surfacing for your home patio?
Rubber Surfacing DIY
The main downfall of rubber surfacing is that there are fewer do-it-yourself options than there are for other kinds of flooring. Fortunately, there is one kind of rubber surface that can be trowelled onto your patio space to create a cushioned surface that’s easy to maintain. These trowelled-on surfaces are made from crushed rubber compound, and can be installed by the homeowner overtop of cracked or settled concrete patio surfaces.
Since the rubber product is trowelled into place, the homeowner is responsible for ensuring that the surface of the patio remains level, though this can be fixed after the fact by simply laying down some additional surfacing.
After curing, the surface becomes a large, skid-resistant mat that retains some natural drainage abilities. In order to ensure it continues looking good throughout the years, washing it once a year with a pressure washer is about all the maintenance it needs.
Of course, it should be noted that any trowelled-on rubber surface may have additional needs and instructions according to the brand, so always read the manufacturer’s instructions before beginning this kind of project.
Rolled Rubber Surfacing
Rolled rubber surfacing can be applied to patios by a homeowner, and can be laid down overtop of any flat, smooth surface. All that needs to happen with rolled rubber surfacing is:
a) Thoroughly clean the surface where the rubber roll is to be applied
b) Place the correct adhesive as recommended by the rolled rubber manufacturer onto your surface.
c) Lay down the rolled rubber surfacing, and you’re done.
It should be noted that most manufacturers of rolled rubber surfacing recommend that if you plan on laying down their rubber surfacing permanently, it should be done by an experienced, professional installer to ensure a professional finish.
Thus, unless you’re hoping to change the patio surfacing every five years, you might be better off going with a trowelled-on surface for your patio. If you want to use a rolled rubber, there is the benefit of having a moderate variety of surface colors and flecked designs available.
Poured Rubber Surfacing
A wet pour system of rubber surfacing is the most durable option for patios or any other structure which might benefit from a rubber surface, however it is also the most costly and the most time-consuming – and it is definitely not a do-it-yourself option.
This is the kind of rubber surfacing that tends to be used for children’s playgrounds and sometimes around permanent below-ground pool patios, in order to give maximum safety to the users while offering the best play opportunities.
Poured rubber surfacing is synthetic EPDM rubber granulate that’s bound in polyurethane resin, forming a seamless surface, and can be purchased in a wide variety of colors and poured into any shape.
Unlike rolled rubber or rubber tiling, the product won’t darken over time. Of course, the cost alone might eliminate poured rubber surfacing as a viable option for your patio, as it has to be installed by professionals.
photo by KevBow -CreativeCommons Attribution