Curious about playground flooring? We’ll answer all your questions — Playground Flooring: The Good, the Bad, and the Fun!
To a kid, a playground means FUN! To a parent or school administrator, a playground means worrying about potential injuries, ranging from scrapes and bruises to broken bones. That’s why most modern playgrounds have replaced hard surfaces like asphalt and concrete with softer, safer surfaces.
Sand and wood chips aren’t a foot’s best friend, either. Anyone from Arizona knows how the heat can quickly turn a game of “The-Sand-is-Lava” into an all-too-true reality. No fun! Here are some options that will make your play area a hit with kids and parents alike.
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If you’re going to go with loose fill, we recommend Playground Rubber Mulch. This option gives you all the fall protection of loose fill with none of the downsides.
Unlike dirt, rubber mulch won’t absorb water (summer Monsoons, anyone?) And unlike wood chips, the neighborhood cat won’t mistake your playground for a litter box.
Rubber playground mulch is environmentally friendly, since it’s recycled from old tires, and it’s easy on the eyes and feet. It’s also a homerun when it comes to maintenance because there’s virtually nothing you need to do to keep it clean. Jackpot.
Oh, did we mention it’s less than 25 cents per pound? Because that’s nice, too. Don’t forget to use Rubber Timbers to give the edge of your playground a clean look.
Rubber Mulch Thickness & Safety
Regardless of which playground flooring you choose, different products will offer different safety specs and thickness options. Typically the thickness of the flooring correlates to the fall height safety rating*, but the long version (which I’ll save you from) is a bit more complicated than that.
Be sure to check the specs on your specific product so you know how thick your rubber mulch needs to be in order to ensure safety for your playground.
*Fall height safety rating = the highest point a child can safely stand on.
Of the bound material options, we recommend the easiest installation route: Playground Tiles. Super easy to install, playground tiles are an extremely durable and versatile option. They provide excellent shock absorption for big falls and great traction for little feet.
Playgrounds, community centers, skate parks, daycares, patios—you name it. Anywhere children play, these tiles are certain to give the space an attractive safety boost.
In terms of designs, you have options. Want to go colorful? These kinds of tiles come in just about every color imaginable.
Got a big area? You can lay as many tiles as needed, and create inviting designs or use your school colors.
Got a small area? That’s cool too. Tiles work for you, and beveled edge pieces make your play area blend nicely into the rest of the space.
Playground Tile Thickness & Safety
Similar to rubber mulch, rubber playground tiles vary in terms of their safety specs. Thicker tiles (usually) have higher fall height safety ratings.
Commercial playgrounds and schools typically require a heavy duty tile that is rated for 8′ or higher, while home playgrounds are usually fine with 6′ or under. Of course, this depends on the height of your specific equipment, so be sure to measure your equipment and check the specific product specs to ensure safety.
Want the best of both worlds? Playground Swing Mats give the safe and clean look of tiles and can be used in conjunction with rubber mulch. Put these babies at the ends of slides and under swings to give your play area some extra shock absorbency.
Got a walkway, home gym, or patio that could use a bit of grip? Swing Mats let you spot treat your safety needs wherever they arise.
Playground Mats – Not for Safety
While playground mats look nice and offer a smoother landing space on the ground, these little guys are not created with fall height safety in mind. In fact, playground mats are better suited for protecting your flooring than your kiddos, so make sure you always have a good playground safety surface underneath.
Not sure what the best option is for your needs? No problem. We’re here to help. Contact one of our skilled professionals today to explore your options! And for more info on playground safety, check out our entire post on the subject!