Athletics Track Construction – Types of Track

Porous vs Sandwich Systems

We are proud to be specialists when it comes to athletics track construction. We have installed many tracks, from the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games track to numerous tracks in schools and colleges which range in size, track system, colour and budget. The most commonly installed types of athletics track systems installed in the UK are porous and sandwich. A question we are frequently asked is, “What is the difference?”

Porous tracks are designed to allow water to filter through the track, essentially, they consist of a rubber binder base mat and a top layer.
The base layer consists of SBR (styrene-butadiene rubber) granules which are mixed with a binder and laid in-situ. The top layer consists of smaller EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) rubber granules, which are mixed on-site with a PU resin binder. This is sprayed on top of the base mat layer.

Porous systems are:
• Designed to allow water to drain through the track, therefore no additional track drainage system is required.

• Tend to be the most cost effective track system to install; an ideal choice for athletics clubs, universities, colleges and schools.
• Can be made in a variety of colours; a sealing layer may be required to stop colour fade.

Sandwich track systems are essentially designed to stop the water draining through. Like a porous system, sandwich tracks have a rubber base mat layer at the bottom and top layer. In-between these is the “sandwich layer” made from a polyurethane compound which is non-porous, it creates a barrier to stop water from seeping from the top layer to the base layer.

Sandwich systems:
• Offer improved shock-absorption performance to the porous system.
• Offer a greater lifespan than porous systems as the EPDM cast be retextured numerous times.
• Can also be made in a variety of colours.
• Are more suited for national and regional athletic competitions.