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In the last few years, we’ve had some extremely hot summers, raising the question: Does wet pour surfacing get hot? Will it still be safe? Whether at playgrounds, public parks, or sports facilities, the surfacing material used in these areas can significantly impact the ability of kids to enjoy outdoor activities safely in the heat. Let’s dive into this topic to provide you with comprehensive insights.

What is Wet Pour Surfacing?

Wet pour surfacing is a composite material made from rubber granules bound together with a polyurethane resin. This innovative surfacing solution is specifically designed for outdoor and indoor play areas, providing a seamless, durable, and flexible surface that can be customised in various colours and designs. Some of the key features of wet pour surfacing:

  • Safety: It has impact-absorbing properties where the thickness of the surface can be adjusted according to the height of the playground equipment. This ensures compliance with safety standards and reduces the risk of injuries from falls.
  • Long Lasting: It is highly durable and resistant to wear and tear.
  • Porous: It allows water to drain through, preventing puddles and making it usable shortly after rain.
  • Customisation: It can be laid in various colours, patterns, and even educational or playful designs to enhance the aesthetic appeal.
  • Eco-friendly: Rubber granules, such as car tyres, are usually derived from recycled rubber, making it an environmentally friendly option.

Factors Affecting Temperature

To understand how hot wet pour surfacing gets in the summer, we must consider several factors:

  • Colour: Darker colours absorb more sunlight and can become significantly hotter than lighter shades.
  • Material Composition: The rubber granules used in wet pour surfacing can retain heat, but how much depends on their specific composition and the colour of the material.
  • Sun Exposure: Areas that receive direct sunlight for the majority of the day will naturally become hotter than shaded areas.
  • Ambient Temperature: The hotter the climate, the more likely the surface will become hot to the touch.

Comparing With Other Surfaces

When evaluating outdoor surfacing options, it’s essential to consider how they respond to environmental conditions, especially during the hot summer months. Wet pour surfacing, concrete, asphalt, and natural grass each offer distinct advantages and limitations, particularly regarding temperature, safety, durability, and maintenance.

Concrete and Asphalt: The Heat Challenge

Concrete and asphalt are ubiquitous in outdoor environments and prized for their durability and longevity. However, these materials absorb a significant amount of heat from the sun, which can reach incredibly high temperatures during summer. The thermal conductivity of these materials means that they heat up quickly and retain that heat for extended periods, prolonging the risk of exposure.

Natural Grass: A Cooler but High-Maintenance Alternative

In contrast, natural grass presents a cooler alternative to hard surfaces like concrete and asphalt. Grass and soil do not absorb as much heat, providing a more comfortable surface temperature even on hot days. However, grass surfaces require regular maintenance, including watering, mowing, and reseeding, to remain usable and safe. Additionally, grass and soil offer limited protection against falls, posing a higher risk of injury in play areas than engineered surfaces.

Wet Pour Surfacing: Balancing Temperature, Safety, and Durability

Wet pour surfacing emerges as a balanced solution, addressing the heat, safety, and maintenance concerns associated with other materials. While it can warm up under direct sunlight, its composition allows it to remain cooler than concrete or asphalt, minimising the risk of thermal discomfort or burns. The material’s inherent elasticity provides excellent impact absorption, significantly reducing the risk of injuries from falls—a critical consideration in playgrounds and sports areas. This makes wet pour surfacing an ideal compromise between the hard durability of concrete, asphalt, and the natural coolness and aesthetic of grass.

Mitigating Heat on Wet Pour Surfaces

There are strategies to reduce the heat even further absorbed by wet pour surfacing during the summer:

  • Choosing Lighter Colours: The colour of a surface plays a crucial role in its heat absorption properties. Dark colours absorb more sunlight, leading to higher surface temperatures. Conversely, lighter colours reflect a greater portion of the solar spectrum, maintaining a cooler surface. When selecting wet pour surfacing, opting for lighter shades such as beige, light grey, or pastel hues can significantly reduce heat absorption. This choice is particularly important in areas exposed to direct sunlight for extended periods.
  • Installing Shade Structures: Shade structures, such as canopies, pergolas, or natural tree cover, provide an effective barrier against direct sunlight, significantly reducing the surface temperature of the wet pour surfacing beneath them. These structures can be strategically placed over high-traffic areas, playground equipment, or seating areas to provide continuous shade throughout the day. Shade structures lower the temperature and protect users from UV exposure, enhancing the overall safety and comfort of outdoor spaces.
  • Regular Maintenance: The condition of wet pour surfacing can affect its temperature and overall performance in the heat. Over time, debris, dirt, and wear can impact the surface’s integrity and ability to reflect sunlight. Regular maintenance, including cleaning and inspecting the surface for damage, helps maintain its reflective properties and ensures optimal performance. Additionally, addressing repairs promptly can prevent further degradation, which might exacerbate heat retention.
  • Water Features: Incorporating water features such as sprinklers, misters, or water play areas adjacent to or within the wet pour surfacing can significantly reduce surface temperatures. The evaporation of water from these features cools the air around the play area, contributing to a more comfortable environment. On particularly hot days, activating these water features can provide immediate relief from the heat, allowing children to continue playing safely. This strategy not only enhances the cooling effect but also adds an element of fun and excitement to the play area, encouraging active and engaging outdoor play.

Managing Heat on Wet Pour Surfaces

In answering the question, “Does wet pour surfacing get hot in the summer?” we find that while it does warm up, the increase in temperature is manageable and does not detract from its many positive attributes. With proper planning and design considerations, wet pour surfacing continues to be an excellent option for creating safe, enjoyable outdoor spaces year-round.

Contact us for surfacing solutions.