SofSurfaces: Elevating Playground Safety and Innovation

SofSurfaces, a renowned player in the playground surfacing industry, has a history of reshaping product development. Their journey began in 1999 when they achieved a significant milestone by becoming the first company to offer a five-year warranty for a playground surfacing product. This warranty covered materials, workmanship, and compliance with ASTM F1292 standards, setting a new benchmark for quality and safety in the industry. Since that groundbreaking moment, SofSurfaces has maintained its commitment to producing high-quality products that are widely recognized.

Over the past eighteen months, SofSurfaces has dedicated a substantial amount of time and effort to developing new products and pushing the boundaries of innovation. Their Research and Development (R&D) campaign has been built upon their original success and the SofTILE warranty, positioning them as industry leaders in the pursuit of even higher-performing surfacing solutions. They have achieved remarkable progress by scrutinizing their processes, from refining recipes to enhancing process control, resulting in the introduction of a new generation of products.

Recognizing that conventional testing methods might not fully capture their product's performance capabilities, SofSurfaces took a pioneering approach. In-house engineers custom-built cutting-edge testing machines designed to push the product to its limits and exceed performance benchmarks. These machines were engineered to subject the product to repeated high-speed impacts from various angles and test its abrasion resistance. Importantly, this testing was conducted both before and after undergoing accelerated weathering tests in the challenging climates of Arizona and Florida, where extreme heat and humidity pose significant challenges for surfacing materials. This rigorous testing not only underscores the durability and resilience of SofSurfaces' products but also highlights their ability to think innovatively, ensuring the delivery of high-quality surfacing solutions.

The impact testing results are noteworthy, forming the basis for developing specifications, with SofTILE HIC (Head Injury Criteria) results consistently averaging less than half of the allowable 1000 rating set by the current ASTM F1292 standard. This remarkable achievement sets an industry standard that was previously deemed unattainable, reaffirming SofSurfaces' commitment to safety and durability.

SofSurfaces remains dedicated to shaping the future of playground surfacing through innovative ideas. They have recently launched an interactive guide to safety surfacing, which provides valuable insights into their unique product offerings and design elements. Additionally, this guide offers general information about the characteristics of major safety surfaces available in the playground industry to date.

SofSurfaces is more than just an industry leader; they are pioneers in redefining playground surfacing standards. Their unwavering commitment to quality, safety, and innovation has positioned them as a driving force in the industry.

Providing a Safe Landing for Our Children

The choice of surfacing underneath a play structure is a crucial consideration during the planning of a new playground. This decision is so vital that there are specific guidelines and standards governing the type of surface that should be installed under play equipment.

SofSURFACES Inc., a leading player in the playground surfacing industry, founded in 1993 in Petrolia, Ontario, Canada, initially focused on installing poured-in-place surfacing. While they found success with this approach, SofSURFACES was determined to explore alternative options that could offer enhanced performance at a lower cost. Their research and development efforts led to the creation of the SofTILE family of products.

Jeromy Morningstar, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, highlights the uniqueness of their product, particularly the innovative KrosLOCK U-shaped interlocking mechanism built into their tiles. This mechanism enables the surfacing to be installed directly over a compacted aggregate sub-base, eliminating the need for a concrete sub-base. It also significantly reduces adhesive requirements and costs, setting their product apart from traditional tile surfacing options.

The KrosLOCK mechanism not only simplifies installation but also eliminates gaps between tiles and prevents curling at the seams. What's more, the system is designed to be user-friendly, reducing the need for specially trained installers.

SofSURFACES tiles are engineered to absorb the shock of a falling child. Their hollow-core stanchion design not only provides an impressive critical fall height rating but also enhances product density and durability, ultimately reducing costs and weight.

A standout feature of SofSURFACES products is their industry-leading five-year warranty for ASTM F1292-99 compliance in any weather condition. This extended warranty sets them apart from other companies, and they are now aiming to take it to the next level by offering a warranty covering critical fall height performance for the entire lifecycle of the play equipment, which they estimate to be 20-25 years. This will be essential as the trend toward increasing fall height requirements continues, and the long-term cost of surfacing maintenance is compared to loose-fill alternatives.

One of the most appealing aspects of SofSURFACES products, especially from a child's perspective, is the wide range of colors and patterns available at no additional cost. This flexibility allows designers and planners to create vibrant and engaging playgrounds that captivate children's imaginations while providing a safe and protective environment.

As long as children need protection while exploring their physical limits and learning through play, SofSURFACES Inc. remains committed to advancing its industry-leading products and services.