The Soft Solution

PebbleFlex offers builders and architects a soft, safe surface that is UV-stable, doesn’t fade, degrade, crack or shrink in the sun. The product has been around since 1994 and is installed mostly around pools and in other outdoor spaces, but also has been seen in kitchens, bathrooms and showers. Playground spaces including basketball courts are popular applications as well.

“PebbleFlex is mixed with a urethane binder which forms a chemical bond between individual pebbles, unlike urethanes mixed with rubber or recycled tires,” says Frank Minutillo, managing partner, Flexible Floor Systems, Wilmington, N.C. “The benefit of a chemical bond is added strength so pieces don’t fall apart. The resulting surface will not be squishy, exactly, but definitely will give a little. It’s a soft feeling on the foot.”

Custom colors and designs are available. Lines and patterns are not painted onto the PebbleFlex surface. Rather, they are integrated into the design using custom-colored pebbles with color that permeates 100 percent through each pebble. Any design is possible, and PebbleFlex handles the installation. Fifteen standard colors are available but custom colors are optional. “If an architect’s client is a business owner who wants a company logo on a basketball court or poolside, we can do that, no problem,” Minutillo says.

The surface arrives on-site in clear bags and is a pour-in-place product. Concrete on which the flexible surface is poured must cure for at least 30 days before installation. The most successful applications result from specification early in a project, and notification to the entire design and construction team that it will be coming.

“We’re trying to educate architects and builders about new and innovative ways to solve common problems that exist with current surfaces. When people see it or walk on it, they tell us this stuff is amazing. It’s a good alternative to concrete because you can’t customize concrete and there’s no guarantee it won’t crack the minute the truck backs out of the driveway. We guarantee our product for 10 years,” he says.

PebbleFlex is not inexpensive, but it’s designed to last. It’s petroleum-based which affects cost, but it also can be recycled at the end of the lifespan. The product is made in the United States, Minutillo notes. For more information visit pebbleflex.com or circle 28 on the inquiry card.

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