How to Repair or Resurfacing a Rubber Running Track? And When?

Running tracks are some of the most-used sports facilities, especially at schools. From the track team to gym class to community running groups that use the track before and after school hours, people are always putting the miles on your track. Tracks need periodic repairing and resurfacing to keep them safe and competitive.

When Should You Consider Repair or Resurface a Rubber Running Track?

Ask Yourself Some Questions Before Decision

Before you consider repairing or resurfacing a rubber running track, you should ask yourself a few questions: what, and who, do we need it for? Is this the home track of a powerhouse team that hosts several major meets each year, or is it mostly there for recreational use by students and community members? Do people expect it to be reasonably comfortable for some light fitness-oriented running, or do they show up ready to set a PR?

These questions may require a deeper examination if your intended project is not just a repair but an upgrade. Maybe your school’s track team has been advancing under a new coach and is ready to make a few steps up in the T&F world. Or perhaps the athletics department wants to host district championships for a few years before embarking on a major capital improvement project to host a state meet.

The larger the scope of work, the greater the cost in time and money. The project may be constrained by budget or the amount of available time to do the repairs (resurfacing an entire track takes 6-8 weeks). 

Observe the Runway Conditions to Make Decisions

Consider repairing or resurfacing a rubber running track when you observe any of the following issues:

  • Visible Cracks or Bubbles: These indicate aging and wear, which can potentially jeopardize the structural integrity and safety of the track.
  • Uneven Surface: This can affect the performance of athletes and lead to potential injuries.
  • Thinning Rubber: Over time, the rubber can wear down, reducing its effectiveness in providing a safe, cushioned surface.
  • Granules Breaking Off: If parts of the track’s surface are coming loose, this indicates significant wear.
  • Drainage Issues: Poor drainage can lead to water accumulation, further damaging the track and affecting its usability. Drainage may be caused by the depressions of the track where the rubber has been worn down unevenly or where the subsurface has settled.
  • Separation of Layers: If the top layer of the track is peeling away from the base, it is a clear sign that resurfacing is necessary.

Additionally, if the track has small worn areas of up to around 10 square feet, your in-house maintenance team can potentially address these with a running track repair kit. However, for more extensive damage, consulting a professional running track company is recommended.

Regular maintenance and timely repairs can significantly extend the lifespan of a running track, ensuring it remains safe and functional for users.

Minor Repairs: Patching Small Areas

If the damage is superficial, you may be able to repair it yourself, following is a step-by-step guide:

  1. Damage Identification: Small cracks, holes, or worn areas should be identified, often located in high-traffic zones like starting blocks or finish lines.
  2. Cleaning: Thoroughly clean the area to remove debris, dirt, or loose granules, ensuring proper adhesion of the new material.
  3. Preparation: If necessary, cut around the damaged area to create a clean edge. For larger holes or damaged sections, slight enlargement may be required for a sturdy repair.
  4. Mixing Repair Material: Utilize a repair kit containing EPDM rubber granules and a binder. Mix these components thoroughly following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  5. Application: Fill the damaged area with the mixed material and use a trowel to smooth and level the patch with the surrounding surface.
  6. Curing: Allow the repair to cure for the duration recommended by the repair kit manufacturer, typically around 24 hours.

Moderate Repairs: Addressing Larger Areas

  1. Assessment: Larger areas of damage might require more extensive repairs or partial resurfacing. Assess the area to determine the extent of the damage.
  2. Surface Preparation: Similar to minor repairs, the area must be cleaned and prepared. Remove any unstable or loose material.
  3. Material Application: For larger areas, you might need more substantial quantities of repair materials or a different type of repair approach such as adding multiple layers of rubber and binder.
  4. Smoothing and Leveling: To ensure the new surface is even with the existing track surface, use appropriate tools like a trowel, float, or squeegee for smoothing and leveling the repair material. These tools help achieve uniformity and safety by ensuring the repaired area matches the surrounding track surface.
  5. Curing and Sealing: Allow the repair to cure. Some repair methods might require sealing the top layer to protect against weather and wear.

The Difference Between Repair Usual Rubber Running Track and Repair Prefabricated Rubber Running Track

  • Material Composition: Traditional rubber running tracks are typically constructed on-site with poured-in-place or sprayed-on rubber surfaces. Prefabricated tracks, on the other hand, consist of pre-made rubber tiles or rolls that are installed onto a prepared base.
  • Repair Process: Repairing a traditional rubber track often involves patching or resurfacing the damaged area with liquid rubber and binder materials. In contrast, repairing a prefabricated track may involve replacing individual damaged tiles or rolls, rather than patching the surface.
  • Ease of Repair: Prefabricated tracks may offer easier repair options because damaged sections can be replaced more readily without affecting the entire track surface. Traditional tracks may require more extensive repairs if the damage is significant.
  • Durability: Both types of tracks are durable, but the repair process and frequency may vary based on factors such as track usage, maintenance, and climate conditions.

While the basic principles of repair are similar for both types of tracks, the specific methods and materials used may differ due to the construction and composition of the track surface.

Rubber Running Track Resurfacing

When the damage is severe or you need an upgrade on your running track for better performance, you won’t be able to repair it yourself, then you will need professional running track companies to resurface your rubber running track.

Companies selling running tracks usually have their construcion teams, you can select the new rubber running track first and negotiate the resurfacing process with the running track company.

If you want your new rubber running track to durable and easy to repair or replace in the future, we recommend our prefabricated running track to you. They are prefabricated rolls, so if the running track is damaged, you only need to replace the damaged piece of rubber track instead of replacing the entire running track.

Preventative Maintenance

  • Regular Cleaning: Keep the track free of debris and dirt to prevent abrasion and accumulation of materials that can degrade the surface.
  • Proper Usage: Ensure that the track is used with appropriate footwear and that activities that can damage the surface, like using spikes that are too long, are controlled.
  • Weather Considerations: Repair any damage before the wet or cold seasons to prevent water from entering the base material, which can cause further damage through freeze-thaw cycles.

By following these guidelines, you can maintain the functionality and safety of your rubber running track, extending its lifespan and ensuring it remains a reliable surface for athletic activities.

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