Playground Rubber Safety Surfacing are so absorbed in play that they often forget to be careful. When they do, they inevitably fall. The right surface material absorbs the shock of the fall and dampens it, minimizing injuries to children and adults. Playground rubber safety surfacing also reduces the risk of costly catastrophes, like a broken ankle or a head injury. The CPSC recommends an area of shock-absorbing surfacing beneath and around all equipment for a minimum of 6 feet in all directions.
There are many options for playground surfacing, including loose-fill and solid surfaces. Loose-fill options include rubber mulch, wood fiber mulch, engineered wood fiber (EWF), playground sand, pea gravel and more. These materials have the lowest up-front cost but require regular raking and occasional topping off to maintain their shock-absorption and stay within ADA compliance.
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EWF is a popular choice as it is made from clean, recycled tire rubber and comes in a variety of colors. It also has a longer life than wood mulch and requires less frequent raking. However, it must be topped off regularly to remain safe at the originally specified fall heights and to prevent erosion in high-traffic areas such as under swings and slides.
The more durable poured-in-place and interlocking resilient tile options have higher up-front costs, but they are long-lasting and require very little maintenance to maintain their performance and ADA accessibility. Poured-in-place surfaces are a good option for a large area, allowing installers to account for landscape variances and install a smooth, even surface that lasts for years.