When it comes to playground safety, there is a lot that goes into creating an environment that minimizes harm and injuries. One of the most important components is laying down the right safety surfacing that absorbs shock to soften the impact of falls. This material is not only critical to ensure ADA compliance, but it also helps prevent head injuries which are the most common form of playground injury.
Working with a playground surface expert is essential when choosing a safe and long-lasting material. They should be able to recommend different options based on your needs and budget. A good expert will also be able to answer any questions you might have about installation, maintenance or ongoing care.
Inquire about their installation process and timelines. They should be able to provide you with a clear outline of how they will prepare the site and install your surfacing. They should also be able to give you an idea of how much your project will cost, including materials, labor and delivery/installation fees.
Lastly, it is essential to ask about their warranty and ongoing maintenance requirements. A reputable safety surfacing experts provider will be willing to stand by their work and offer a warranty in the case of any issues with their products or services. Additionally, they should be able to provide you with outlines of their maintenance requirements, including inspections and repairs.
What Are the Best Playground Surfacing Materials?
The type of surfacing you choose will depend on many factors, including initial purchase costs, installation costs, ongoing maintenance and visual appeal. There are a number of playground surface options that can meet these needs, but it is important to speak with a safety surfacing expert to determine which material is best for your project.
Loose fill wood fiber mulch and recycled rubber mulch are the most popular quality surfacing options for projects on a tight budget. They are made of clean and recycled material that is long-lasting and provides a nice color option for your playground. However, these loose fill systems require periodic raking and topping off to maintain their proper depth and cushioning.
Poured in place (PIP) or unitary surfacing systems like rubber mats and tiles are more expensive than loose fill, but they are long-lasting and durable with high HIC ratings. They are also ADA compliant and can be installed over compacted soil, crushed rock or asphalt.
Swings are a special case when it comes to determining the size of the area required for surfacing. The height of the swings must be measured and then doubled to determine how much surfacing is needed.
The best surfacing for swings is a combination of wood fiber and rubber mulch, or even 100% rubber. This layered system is the best in terms of shock attenuation, durability and appearance.