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Frequently Asked Questions

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Running Tracks Questions

I am interested in a synthetic track surface, what is the best choice?

The overwhelming majority of running track surfaces are produced on site with combinations of either latex or polyurethane binder and rubber. Your choice of surface will take into account use, performance requirements, budget, and life cycle costs. General Acrylics provides value and quality in all of their Ultra-Track (latex bound) and Spurtan/Rekortan (polyurethane bound) systems.

The latex bound synthetic surface systems are the least expensive initially making this a good choice when a limited budget is the controlling factor. This type of track has a shorter life cycle and is not as consistently resilient in all types of outdoor temperatures as compared to polyurethane - softer when hot and harder when cold. They are typically installed in a 3/8” or a ½” depth. Latex systems are most commonly black due to the cost of the material to apply in other colors.

Polyurethane based running track surfaces cover a full spectrum of systems providing longer life cycle and higher performance surfaces. The surfaces are typically 13mm (1/2”), except for the full solid pour systems, which vary in depth. The standard colors are track red and black although other colors are available at additional cost.

Spurtan BS is a porous system consisting of a paved base mat of binder and black rubber with 2 structural spray coats to provide wear and UV protection.

Spurtan BSS is the same as the Spurtan BS with the addition of a coat of solid-pour polyurethane between the base mat and the structural spray coats making the surface non-porous. This means that dirt, water and sand will remain on the top where it can be easily removed providing a longer lasting surface and lower maintenance costs.

The solid-pour line of surfaces are non-porous, are more durable, require resurfacing at less frequent intervals and provide the highest performance level.

Spurtan BV is a “sandwich” system with the paved base mat covered by top layer of solid-pour polyurethane and rubber.

Rekortan track surfaces are full depth solid-pour polyurethane with a choice of high performance characteristics and finishes.

How do I know if my track is the correct length to satisfy the 400 meter requirement?

The point at which a running track is 400 meters is an imaginary line called the “measure line”.

In lane one the placement of the measure line varies in relationship to the inside lane line based upon whether or not the track has a 2” or more raised portable or permanent inside curb.

These requirements are very specific, 20cm from the outside of the inside lane line for a flush curb and 30 cm for a raised curb. Precise measurement is imperative that is nearly impossible to obtain with a wheel. Therefore, if you want to have the length of your running track checked or a 400 meter track designed, contacting a company with a Certified Track Builder on staff such as General Acrylics or a professional engineer with experience in running track construction is advised.

What are the options for the base construction of a running track?

Traditionally running track ovals have been constructed of hot mix asphalt paving. This was typically chosen over the concrete option due to lower initial cost of installation. Very soon asphalt begins to deteriorate and structural cracks, heaving and settling begins to appear. This often means that the track needs to be completely removed and replaced even before the synthetic surface has reached the end of its usable life.

Post –tensioned concrete provides long-term value and solutions to the problems of asphalt paving. Post-tensioning is the use of steel cables within the concrete slab that are stressed and locked into place. This provides a very crack-resistant and stable slab that will last through multiple synthetic surface applications. General Acrylics has perfected a method of installing the track oval without any working joints or saw cuts. This method of construction always provides an advantageous life-cycle cost. It is especially recommended for areas with poor soils, limited future access for reconstruction or where the priority is to provide long-term value.

Long jump, triple jump, and pole vault runways are almost always constructed of concrete. Concrete provides excellent planarity not possible in asphalt paving of this width. It is resistant to vegetation growing into the edges or under the runway.

When is it time to resurface my existing synthetic track surface?

It is important to monitor your synthetic surface on a regular basis to make sure that resurfacing is planned at the appropriate time to prevent expensive deterioration of the resilient layers of the surface and maintain the highest safety level possible for the athlete. General Acrylics will be happy to provide regular inspections of your surface in order to keep it in top condition and help you budget for maintenance and resurfacing.

On black synthetic surfaces it is important to look for deeply worn areas, loose rubber, structural cracking and delamination. With a colored surface the wear on the structural spray coats that allows the black to show through after several years will alert you to the need to consider re-spraying the track

The longer excessive wear is allowed to progress without the addition of new spray coats or additional layers of rubber and binder (latex surfaces) the more expensive the eventual solution will be. Loose rubber, deeply worn areas, cracks and delaminated surface are all potential safety issues. A surface that has become hard or too thin does not provide the resilience or performance characteristics for which the system was designed.

What maintenance does my running track require?

The biggest enemies of your running track are water, dirt and vegetation. It is very important to adjust sprinkler heads regularly to avoid repeated overspray of the surface which will cause staining and delamination. It is also important to make sure that surface water be allowed to drain off and is not blocked by vegetation.

Control of vegetation is also essential. Uncontrolled grass and weeds can destroy the edges of an asphalt base and cause delamination of the surface. Vegetation may also grow under the asphalt causing “weed bumps” that are not only a problem for the surface but a danger to the runners.

Cleaning the surface to remove dirt and sand is also vital to extending the life of your running track surface. Sweeping and washing the surface on a regular schedule is recommended.

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