Knowing kids and stopping them from playing altogether is out of the question. But you can protect them from debilitating playground injuries using materials with a soft touch for the playground’s surface. These surfacing materials cover the ground under and around the playground equipment, cushioning the impact of falls and preventing cuts, burns, and abrasions.
In this article, we will review some of the best playground surfacing materials contractors employ to ensure children stay protected while playing.
Engineered Wood Fiber Mulch
Engineered wood fiber (EWF) is made of shredded wood processed to remove bark, twigs, and leaves, leaving only the pulpy interior wood fiber. The end product is a soft playground surfacing material with a natural look that blends well with the outdoor environment.
Other than absorbing shocks and reducing injuries from falls, EWF mulch is a loose-fill material that can also provide traction and stability for children when they run and play. However, because of its degradable nature, EWF requires regular maintenance to ensure proper drainage and weed control, as well as periodic replenishment to compensate for compaction and decomposition.
Rubber mulch is another loose-fill material that is ideal for playground surfacing. It is fabricated from recycled tires or rubber products and has a similar appearance to wood mulch. Still, unlike EWF, it is more durable and resilient as it does not decompose, rot, or attract insects like termites.
Rubber mulch provides excellent shock absorption and injury prevention for playgrounds. It can withstand harsh weather conditions and heavy use without losing its effectiveness. However, it can be more expensive than EWF and may raise some valid environmental concerns.
Some rubber mulch products may contain chemicals that irritate the respiratory tract or metals that can leach into the soil or water table. So, be sure to ask your playground surfacing contractor for an eco-friendly rubber mulch alternative.
Poured-in-place rubber is a unitary surfacing material comprising two layers: a base layer of rubber granules and a top layer of EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) or TPV (Thermoplastic vulcanisate).
The bottom layer is the cushion layer, and it’s made of crumb rubber or recycled rubber tires compacted to the tune of about 1–5 inches thick, depending on the usage and play equipment. The top layer, or the wear layer, is only about half an inch thick and is made of EPDM or TPV granules.
Both layers are bound together with a polyurethane binder, mixed, and poured on-site to create a seamless surface that conforms to the shape of the playground.
Poured-in-place rubber is one of the most versatile and easily customisable playground surfacing materials, as it can be installed over any sub-base to accommodate any design or configuration. The material is highly durable and resistant to wear and tear; however, poured-in-place rubber is one of the most expensive playground surfacing materials, demanding professional care and maintenance.
Playground surfacing materials are essential safety aspects of any playground, no matter how expansive or dainty the surroundings may be. Whether at school, a recreational park, or your backyard, employing any of these materials won’t keep your kids from falling, but they will provide them the levity to get back up and keep grinding if they do.
Are you looking to design a playground in London? Kane Construction Services are playground surfacing London contractors recognised for creating striking playground surfaces that not only meet the highest safety standards but maintain an aesthetic allure.