Playground Surfacing Systems - Poly-Mor Softfall

Poured-in-Place (PIP) Systems, often described as "wet pour systems" surfacing are made from rubber granules, urethane, and recycled tyre buffings that are mixed and installed on site.

Generally, PIP consists of a cushion layer of resilient rubber that is bound together with a top wear course. The wear course is typically made from a durable and colorful rubber, customized to improve the safety, design and aesthetic appeal of any playground.

It is constructed using a two layer system:
  1. The Base Material is described as the base or the mat and comprises of 100% recycled rubber and solid moisture cured polyurethane adhesive.
  2. The Top Layer or wearing course is constructed using virgin EPDM or ethylene propylene diene monomer (M-class) rubber and solid moisture cured polyurethane adhesive.

In the case of the "Soft Fall" requirement, colored EPDM granules are mixed with polyurethane binders and troweled or sprayed onto concrete, asphalt, screenings, interlocking brick, wood etc. to create a non-slip, soft, porous safety surface for wet-deck areas such as pool decks and as safety surfacing under playground play equipment. It forms a continuous, seamless surface and can be easily installed around difficult areas such as existing playground equipment.

Apart from the obvious Children's Playgrounds there are a number of other areas that "Soft Fall" can benefit:
  • Sporting Surfaces
  • Pool Surrounds (pool decks)
  • Pathways and Balconies
  • Basketball Courts
  • Walkways
  • Theme Parks
  • Golf Paths
  • Patios
  • Balconies

A Brief History - Playground Safety

The U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has long recognized the potential hazards that exist with the use of playground equipment, with over 200,000 estimated emergency room-treated injuries annually. The most recent study of 2,691 playground equipment-related incidents reported to the CPSC from 2001-2008 indicated that falls are the most common hazard pattern.

The number one safety measures playgrounds need - but the majority lack - is a shock-absorbing surface under the equipment. No matter how well you supervise your child and how well the equipment is designed with safety in mind, occasional falls are inevitable. In fact, as described, of the approximately 200,000 children treated in emergency rooms each year for playground injuries, about 44% of injuries (followed by equipment-related hazards) were falls to the ground or onto other equipment.

Falls often result in broken bones. Most serious are those falls that result in head injury.

Equipment with asphalt or concrete underneath can lead to serious head injuries if a child falls. Grass or dirt, while a little softer, can become hard-packed and dangerous, too.

Therefore, in the mid-to late 1970s, playground owners began moving away from the old surfacing and began installing uniform rubber mats and experimenting with "loose fill" surfacing, which was spread around and under playground equipment. During this transition period, research showed that loose-fill surfaces such as rubber, sand, pea gravel, wood chips and garden mulch were recognized as being "inadequate" shock-absorbing materials. Unfortunately, all of these surfaces had inherent major flaws that made them unsuitable and unsafe for playground surfaces.

The shift to impact-attenuating surfaces such as Poured-in-Place (PIP) Rubber Systems led to a significant reduction in life-debilitating playground injuries.

Importance of Safe Play

As mentioned above, however, even today, the biggest mistake in the modern playground is that attention is not paid to the surfacing and it's often an afterthought.

Too often, there are still very tall playground structures towering over a surface of sand or pea gravel, which does not afford adequate impact attenuation for the fall heights of the equipment. Further, neither sand nor pea gravel meet American with Disabilities (ADA) requirements for accessibility. Other times there are wood chips and mulch that are made from a municipality's wood chipper and dispersed under a playground - it may offer some attenuation, but generally has not been tested and can decompose rapidly and can give the children, parents and owner/operators a false sense of security.

Why use Poly-Mor Softfall?

Mor-Sports offer a poured-in-place system called Poly-Mor Softfall. Our 2-layer system is mixed and poured on site. It's easily customized to meet the safety, design and aesthetic appealing requirements of any playground.

The benefits of our system is that it mainly answers the issue of protecting children from injury caused by falls, so important for all children using any facility and for the site operator in these days of heightened Health and Safety awareness.

The surface reduces the likelihood of injury from falls and has no sharp edges. There are endless design possibilities, as a learning aid and to create games such as hopscotch numbers or letters. Shapes and graphics can be applied directly to the surface.

Poly-Mor Softfall is now installed in children's playgrounds throughout the world, and in all climatic conditions. Due to its porous nature, Poly-Mor Softfall allows the playground and playground equipment to be used immediately after even the heaviest rainfall. The system surface will not breakdown, blow or wash away, decompose or hold puddles.

The Poly-Mor Softfall system has an EPDM or fibre rubber which forms the surface of the system. It is extremely hardwearing and has excellent UV resistance. The rubber comes in several colours allowing for differentiation of particular sections within a playground area. It can be mixed and blended to create countless shapes.

The only limit with our product is "your imagination". Anything can be created from logos, multi-coloured hopscotch to full 3 dimensional shapes and objects. In addition, Poly-Mor Softfall always come with "free peace of mind" as it is a strong, durable, virtually maintenance free and cost effective system. Poly-mor Softfall system will retain full depth of colour without costly periodic cleaning or resurfacing.


Poly-Mor Softfalll can be installed to any required depth allowing users to design for the fall height requirements for surfacing under specific items of play equipment.

It can be installed directly over an existing asphalt or concrete area, normally with little or no prior treatment to the existing surface. The surface can be also be installed around existing play equipment.

The system is installed using a "wet pour" process, effectively creating a large mat covering the required areas without any problem seams or joins that could develop into trip hazards.

It is a 2-layer system, poured & troweled on site - in any design, configuration and dimensions. The Base layer of SBR (Styrene Butadiene Rubber) or heavy duty and polyurethane binder Top (wear) layer of EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diane Monomer) rubber and aromatic or aliphatic urethane binder.

The normal minimum and recommended requirement is 2 ¾ total surface depth, 2" Base Course and ¾ Wearing Course. However, in all case where climbing apparatus is installed the required depth in relation to the fall height must be calculated.

The American Society for Testing and Materials provide detailed guidelines for the requirements for safety surfaces within playgrounds.
The standards, to which all playgrounds must meet, are set out below:

Standard Applies to
ADA Accessibility, primarily, and also considers safety
CPSC #1005 Safety, primarily, and also considers accessibility
ASTM F2223-04 Overall guide to applying the ASTM playground surface standards
ASTM F1292-04 Minimum performance requirement of impact attenuation of surfacing
ASTM F1292-04 Minimum performance requirement of impact attenuation of surfacing
ASTM F1951-99 Determining accessibility of surface systems under and around playground equipment
ASTM F2075-04 Minimum characteristics for engineered wood fiber as safety surface under and around playground equipment
ASTM F1487-05 Consumer safety performance specifications for playground equipment
State-by-State Safety and/or accessibility

The "bible" that our entire playground installations will be measured against is:

ASTM F1292-04 Minimum performance requirement of impact attenuation of surfacing

Why use Poly-Mor Softfall?

The benefits of the surface include:
  • The system is manufactured and applied on site.
  • The client can create their own designs.
  • Many colors and color combinations available.
  • Disabled accessible: The system corresponds with the American Disabilities Act (ADA).
  • Slip resistant, non-skid wet or dry.
  • System thickness can vary across the surface dependent upon critical fall height. Thickness range can vary from 1" to 4".
  • Low maintenance.
  • Extremely durable.
  • Majority of the system is made from recycled material - Environmentally friendly.
  • Outstanding cushioning for use in children's playgrounds.
  • Due to its porous nature softfall allows playground equipment to be used immediately after even the heaviest rainfall.
  • The system surface will not breakdown, blow or wash away, decompose or hold puddles.
  • It is extremely hardwearing and has very good UV resistance.

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