Interlocking zip or tongue-and-groove tiles?

When considering rubber flooring for your playground, sports ground or terrace, usually one has to choose between tiles with profiled or non-profiled edges. One thing is sure: for above-mentioned areas, it is always better to choose a profiled tile.


Both connection systems, the interlocking zip and the tongue and groove are advantageous. Not only do they help with the installation but, more importantly, reduce problems such as tile shifting, shrinking, cupping, or open joints. Non-profiled rubber tiles belonging to FS series are cheaper but even careful installation with edging and glueing won’t completely eliminate these problems.

So, which system should I choose?

Interlocking tabs on the tile edges join Warco tiles in a form-fit connection

interlocking zip system

The interlocking zip is not made to appeal to children, by resembling jigsaw puzzle. Due to the large total joint area, this is the most effective, from the technical point of view, connection system. The locking “teeth” is the best way to join outdoor rubber tiles, not only for children’s playgrounds but all areas, with the exception of a horse stall (it should be cleaned regularly, so loose formation is recommended). It is vandalism-proof and yet can be reinstalled without problems. The 3-dimensional locking tabs run around the tile. During the assembly, a new tile fits perfectly into the zip teeth of the already-laid tile. This system eliminates any mistakes by installation. The connection is form-fit connection, which is a great problem-solver. On the outer row, the “teeth” can be cut off. Sometimes it is better to cut the tile in half, and use the halves in the beginning and the end of a row. In this way you don’t waste any material, and have straight cuts on the surface edges. In case of a playground surface without edging, safety tiles do not need to be glued to each other; the interlocking zip will hold them in place anyway.

Warco rubber tiles with the tongue and groove system

tongue and groove system

The tongue-and-groove system is commonly used in wooden furniture or parquets. In our rubber floor tiles, on two tile sides there is a 10 mm wide and deep groove, and on the other two sides – a matching tongue. This system is offered in 30 and 40 mm tiles (with thinner tiles this system is not feasible). During the assembly, one has to slide the tongue side of one tile into the groove side of the next one. They may be installed in offset to each other, a cross joint should be avoided. The tongue-and-groove system reduces the risk of open joints, caused by thermal expansion. If the surface is not edged, at least outer rows should be glued to each other with PU adhesive. This will eliminate tile shifting and stabilises the grid. If we want to increase the stability of the installed safety flooring, we might additionally glue the tiles in the corners.

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