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  • Writer's pictureBeau Hartwick

Types Of Playground Safety Surfacing

types of playground safety surfacing

What's the best Playground Safety Surface to keep kids safe?

If you're thinking about types of playground safety surfacing for your facility then you need to consider a few different playground safety surfaces to choose from.

In this post we'll break down each safety surface for you so you can move forward with confidence knowing that your tots will be in good hands.

When it comes to choosing a safety surfacing for a public playground, at a school or park then you need to consider all aspects of each safety surface. Safety being the #1 priority.

There's two different types of safety surfaces:

  1. Loose-fill safety surfaces

  2. Unitary safety surfaces

What is a Loose-fill Safety Surface?

A loose-fill safety surface is a surface that is consistent with rubber mulch, wood chips, sand or pea gravel.

Loose-fill material is usually installed by a landscaping or safety surface contractor and sometimes homeowners because it's as simple as opening the bags and leveling them out over the desired area. Rubber mulch or engineered wood fiber (EWF) is another form of loose-fill surfacing and this is just a simplified version of the Bonded Rubber Mulch which uses binder to hold it together.

Loose-fill material is the most affordable option of safety surfacing however it does have some drawbacks.

The main drawbacks of loose-fill safety surfaces is that 9/10 times it is not ADA compliant and it requires the most maintenance as the loose-fill is susceptible to erosion.

Because of weathering and use, loose-fill materials will compress by at least 25% over time. This means that they need to be replaced to keep the surfacing at the proper depth to sufficiently cushion falls. In general, it is advised to place 12 inches of loose fill material underneath and around playground equipment. The loose material may occasionally need to be replenished or replaced because items like glass shards, other sharp objects, or animal manure might become buried in it and pose a risk.

What is a Unitary Safety Surface?

Unitary safety surfaces are rubber tiles, bonded rubber mulch or poured-in-place-rubber held together by a binder.

Unitary surfacing has a greater initial cost than loose-fill surfacing, but because of its high durability and low maintenance requirements, it may end up being less expensive over time. Additionally very safe, unitary surfacing ensures total accessibility and user-friendliness for guests using wheelchairs or other mobility aids. To make playgrounds more appealing to kids and caregivers, rubberized surfacing that is poured in place or bonded in place comes in a broad range of colors and shapes.

How to choose the Best Playground Safety Surface for your Playground?

bonded rubber mulch safety surface

It is crucial that you investigate the possibilities and consult with professionals when selecting a surface for your playground. A playground surfacing specialist can assist you in identifying the type of surfacing that best suits the demands of your location and the users of the playground.

Your playground has distinct needs and specifications all of which need to be considered so that way you're not open to any lawsuits in the future.

The right playground surface for your school, community park, or early childhood playground depends on a number of factors, including the cost of initial purchase, installation, continuing maintenance, long-term durability, aesthetic appeal, level of safety, and ADA compliance.

If you're considering poured-in-place-rubber please read this article as we go over the 7 Questions You Need To Know When Getting Poured In Place Rubber.

Playground Safety Surfacing is Important!
poured in place rubber safety surfacing

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) states that falls to playground surfaces result in almost 70% of all injuries, making playground surfacing an essential component of playground safety. Playgrounds built without safety surfacing on top of concrete, grass, dirt, or pavers are dangerous and should not be installed.

Playground flooring needs to be thick and soft enough to lessen the impact of a child falling in order to reduce danger and increase safety.

Certain playground surfaces not only boost safety but also make the area more accessible to users with mobility impairments. Ground cover materials for public playgrounds are required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to provide accessibility for all individuals, including those with physical disabilities who may have difficulty walking or standing, such as those using wheelchairs or crutches.

Contact Us Today If You're Interested In Getting Your New Safety Surface

We've helped dozens of daycares, churches, schools and parks design, implement and install their safety surfaces and we'd love to help you with yours!

Please feel free to visit our Contact Us page or click the button below to fill out our contact form.

We offer FREE ESTIMATES on every surfacing job we do! We look forward to assisting you with all of your safety surfacing needs.


Beau Hartwick, Owner

Dino Safety Surfacing

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