Bonded or Bound Surfacing- The Science, Uses, and Benefits

Embrace modernity and creative design with a smart choice for all-round flooring for your outdoor space. Water absorbent, non-slip, and long-lasting, a bonded or bound surfacing fits seamlessly into any playground design. These surfaces are ideal for improving safety, aesthetics, and even sustainability.

Bonded or Bound Surfacing?
PlaySmart installer laying and flattening green EPDM rubber

The main difference between bonded and bound surfacing is in the installation process.

Bonded surface installation uses resin or other binding agent. Installers spread this across the surface before the chosen aggregate material is placed on top. This gives a rougher texture and often uses larger shipping or shred, providing extra grip and slip protection.

Whereas, bound surfacing is a pre-mixed solution that is spread across the site in one go. This distributes the granules of rubber and other aggregates evenly throughout the surface. This often gives the surface a glossy, smooth look and can be more durable and long-lasting.

In each of these processes, the surface compaction process ensures a flat surface where the material is evenly distributed across the space and will last for longer than loose-fill surfacing.

Cork Flooring- Corkeen

With natural shock absorbent properties, cork is a great sustainable flooring option. Corkeen consists of 90% natural cork, with only 10% binder used to create a unique surface solution. A modern surface solution, the cork granules used in Corkeen are a great alternative to rubber options for a unique surface design.

Cork as a surface material has unique properties. It is hypoallergenic, durable and has amazing shock absorbent qualities, making it a safe surface for active play and heavy activity.

The surface engineering of Corkeen uses a two-layer structure of a hard-wearing surface layer and softer, shock-absorbent lower layer. These work together to distribute pressure throughout the surface as each granule takes a portion of the force. With bound granules, air is able to pass through the surface to an extent, making it breathable, but also improving shock absorbency as air is able to move alongside the cork and binder material easily to further reduce the impact of a fall or hard step on the surface.

Corkeen cork surfacing, closeup, and installed at Eden Project as heavy duty sustainable pathways
Recycled Rubber Playground Surfacing- JungleMulch

A natural play bark alternative with greater durability, JungleMulch bonded flooring uses rubberised mulch with larger chippings. This creates a unique texture for pathways, playgrounds, and tree surrounds. The natural-looking material is a great design element that blends in with surroundings. Additionally, this is also a sustainable choice as all the rubber is sourced from recycled rubber tyres.

The size of the granules however can cause some issues. Rubberised mulch is a more shock-absorbent, durable material than natural play bark. However, over time play area rubber chippings can come loose, especially when picked at by young children. Additionally to requiring maintenance, the chippings can also become choking hazards for young children when they come loose.

Playgrounds may also fade as the rubber mulch colours wear off from the surface of the larger chippings over time. Known as carbon black residue, this can be hazardous if ingested.

Therefore, we recommend regular inspection and maintenance of the surface. Also, you should consider a virgin rubber alternative in play areas with young children. This rubber mulch maintenance, however, is very simple, involving sweeping or a gentle wash with a low-pressure hose if required.

Rustic Red Jungle Mulch Rubber Mulch, closeup and installed under tyre swing as playground safety surfacing
Virgin Rubber Surfacing- EPDM MulchSmart

EPDM rubber crumb play surfacing is a bonded play surface with greater tensile strength than wet pour or recycled rubber. This provides the surface with unmatched durability from colour and rubber wear.

The fine rubber granules used in EPDM surfacing create a smoothly textured surface. Also, this has improved safety protection due to the added tensile strength of the material. The rubber crumb is able to absorb more energy on contact with the surface, spreading the impact through the layers of rubber. Due to this shock absorption, EPDM is recommended for high-traffic areas or under playground equipment where greater critical fall height protection is required.

Each granule is coloured, meaning that it doesn’t fade and the higher tensile strength and purity reduce the risk of carbon black residue. The peroxide vulcanized binding solution keeps the EPDM protected from UV colour damage as well as fully weatherproof.

Aggregate Gravel Surfacing - SmartPave

We recommend SmartPave as a unique resin bound paving for pathways, walkways, and even driveways. Composite resin bound aggregates of natural and synthetic materials provide the best grip for users. With two varieties with unique hybrid resin polyurethane binders, SmartPave can benefit your surface in many ways.

The black recycled rubber gravel aggregate version of SmartPave is SUDS compliant. This is because it is a permeable resin bound gravel surface with moisture-curing polyurethane binder. Therefore, we recommend it for urban and built-up areas. A SUDS, or Sustainable Urban Drainage System, is an environmental zone that prioritizes the natural water cycle. This is because of existing drainage and standing water issues due to impermeable ground, wet climates, and limited vegetation.

SmartPave works with natural water drainage better than other types of driveway surfaces and paving like impermeable tarmac and concrete. This is because it allows water to pass through the compacted rubber and decorative aggregates into the groundwater supply. This benefits the local ecosystem while reducing risks of puddling, surface runoff, and flooding.

The variety of shapes used in an aggregate paving material add to the unique properties of SmartPave. Water is able to pass into the surface quickly to prevent puddling. Water through the material comes at a varied pace as it works through different shapes and sizes of aggregate. Therefore, this prevents water-logging of the surface material below.

SmartPave Rubber paving with Yellow Aggregates, close-up and installed as a driveway
Which Surface Option is Right for You?

PlaySmart provides a variety of bound and bonded surfacing designed with unique properties and benefits to suit any requirements. Discuss your options today with our experts by booking a call. You can also get your Free Quick Quote with our handy contact form.

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