What is a Polymeric?

The composition of a polymeric sports surface is essentially granules of rubber held together by a binding agent of polyurethane and sprayed with a high-traction, coloured top-coat. This composite is laid onto a solid base, principally tarmac, and retained by kerbing.

The most common application of polymeric surfacing in sport is for athletics running tracks, but it is also popular for tennis, netball and basketball courts, multi-use games areas, and indoor sports floors. As with most synthetic sports surfaces, the polymeric system is available in a range of specifications to meet different performance standards.

Polymeric sports surface construction

Our Services | Polymeric

Blakedown is an award-winning specialist sports surfacing contractor with more than fifty years experience in high quality sports civil engineering projects. We offer polymeric surfacing for a range of applications and sports, and we offer a completely in-house design and build service for athletics running tracks and multi-use games area construction.

Our services include porous, sandwich, and solid track systems, full-size polymeric football pitches, and Type 3 and Type 4 games areas.

Case Study | Uxbridge College

Blakedown Sport & Play were employed by main contractor Kier to provide a polymeric MUGA at Uxbridge College in Middlesex. The 32m x 25m surface was coloured in blue and lined for three courts: tennis in white, basketball in red, and netball in yellow.

  • Client: Kier (Main Contractor)
  • Contract Type: JCT Design & Build
  • Contract Value: £106,000
  • Build Time: 4 weeks

Floodlights were installed within the site footprint and columns fitted with crash-padding to maintain safety. The MUGA was completed with 3m high green-coloured twin-bar fencing. Blakedown also installed the 5-a-side 3G football pitch adjacent to the MUGA with shared floodlighting scheme.

Choosing a Polymeric surface

For athletics tracks, the main choice of surface is between porous, sandwich, and solid: the difference being in performance specification, lifespan, and cost.

For multi-use games areas, a polymeric surface is suitable for netball, football, basketball, tennis, badminton, volleyball, athletics and sprint training, and as a general recreation area. Pre-designated MUGA types 'Type 3' and Type 4' are specified for netball and football on polymeric respectively.

The three principle types of athletics track are porous, sandwich, and solid.

Polymeric construction

Build up of a polymeric sports system, from bottom to top: prepared formation and drainage system, textile membrane, stone base, porous 'Engineered' tarmac layer, shockpad, and rubber-textured polymeric playing surface
Playing Surface
The polymeric playing surface is comprised of rubber granulate and binding agent. These materials are mixed together on site and extruded from the machine head directly onto the base. The system will then be sprayed with a high-traction top-coat (formulated to the required colour) which serves as the playing surface. Sports lines are then sprayed onto the top-coat once set.
Polymeric surfaces require a system for impact absorption to protect the user's knees and ankles; the composition of the shockpad will depend on the type of surface being installed. The porous track system is laid onto a pad of rubber granulate held with binding agent. High specification tracks are built onto EPDM, and there also pre-formed surface and pad systems available.
Engineered layer
The polymeric track or MUGA will usually be laid onto an Engineered layer of single or double macadam. This layer ensures the long-term stability of the surface.
Stone layer, Textile Membrane, and Soil Formation
The base construction of a track or MUGA is comprised of free-draining stone layer and textile membrane on top of prepared soil formation.
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