Whether you are managing a park or school playground, it’s crucial that you choose the right surface to place underneath the playset. Not only could this impact the longevity of your playset, but choosing the wrong materials as flooring could present a significant health and safety risk – especially as slips, trips, and falls are more likely to happen here than in other outdoor spaces.
Fortunately, there are many different kinds of flooring to choose from, including:
- Poured-in-place rubber
- Bonded rubber mulch
- Artificial turf
- Flexi Pave
In this guide, we’ll explore the different types of playset flooring mentioned above so that you can choose the best materials for your latest playground or playset project.
Poured-in-place rubber flooring is made from 100% Pre-Consumer (Virgin) Recycled chunk rubber base with a TPV Granual binding. This creates playset flooring that is not only durable and weather-resistant but also helps you to uphold rigorous health and safety standards.
For example, once hardened in place, this flooring provides cushioning against falls, reducing the chances of injuries occurring on your playground.
Many studies have found that this is a far better alternative to concrete flooring, as “children sustained significantly more injuries in playgrounds with concrete surfaces than those with bark or rubberized surfaces.”
This kind of material, if properly cared for, can last anywhere between 10-15 years, which means that thousands of children can enjoy your site before a replacement is necessary.
Bonded rubber mulch.
Bonded rubber mulch is made from 100% Recycled Shredded Rubber, which is installed in such a way that it hardens, creating a strong, even surface for your playground or park. As a result of its high durability, it’s also often used for athletic surfaces, such as running tracks.
This material offers a lot of impact protection, which is useful around playground fixtures that are at height, such as swings, climbing frames, and slides. Again, this can go a long way toward preventing injuries, especially when you consider the fact that, in one study, “playgrounds with rubber surfaces had the lowest rate of injury, with a risk half that of bark and a fifth of that of concrete.” As such, installing this flooring is a great way to make your school safer.
The resin used to fuse the shredded rubber together also protects the surface from the elements, reducing damage caused by weather conditions such as rain.
Artificial Turf is the perfect playground flooring for those who are considering more natural design choices due to the fact that it is designed to look like natural grass. However, it requires much less maintenance and upkeep, as it is made from a mixture of rubber and urethane components.
Not only would these materials enable you to maintain a natural, pleasing aesthetic in your park – ensuring the playground blends into the rest of the space – the colors featured can also be customized to match playground equipment and other fixtures.
As the thickness of artificial turf can be adjusted, you can ensure that you provide children with adequate fall and impact protection, depending on which kind of playground equipment you have within your park itself. For example, the higher your playset is placed, the thicker the flooring should be as a result of this.
Flexi Pave is made from recycled rubber tires, meaning it’s an excellent way to upgrade your playground with eco-friendly materials. As it’s more important than ever to take action when it comes to being more sustainable, this is a great step forward. Furthemore, as discussed above, rubber-based flooring options often offer the best protection against playground injuries.
However, one of the major benefits of installing this underneath your playsets is its long-lasting durability. For example, like many rubber-based surfaces, it is highly porous, allowing thousands of gallons per hour of groundwater recharge. As a result, this will stop water from accumulating on the ground, even after heavy rainfall – reducing the chances of injuries occurring as a result of this. As such, it may be particularly useful in areas that experience high rainfall.
Things to think about when choosing playset flooring.
All of the above options are sustainable choices for playset flooring, whether you’re installing a playset in a local park, school, or nursery. However, when installing these fixtures, there are some factors you may want to consider.
When it comes to choosing the right flooring to put under your playset, durability plays a key role. After all, you do not want to have to replace the flooring every few months because it’s damaged, waterlogged, or cracked. Fortunately, the aforementioned flooring choices are known for their durability due to the fact that the materials used are carefully selected for this very purpose. For example, porous materials reduce water damage.
All playgrounds require some level of upkeep in order to keep them in the best possible condition and ensure that health and safety standards are upheld. However, some surfaces require significantly less effort to maintain than others. Doing some research into this topic ahead of time will help you to make a more informed decision. For example, you should learn how to clean a rubber playground surface, using tools such as a cleaning cloth and sponge, rubber bucket, and vacuum.
While health and safety and impact protection are undoubtedly the most important factors to consider when it comes to choosing flooring for your playground or playset – you should also pay close attention to how you want the space to look. As most of the materials for the flooring mentioned above are mixed on-site, you can easily incorporate different colors and patterns onto the surface. For example, this could include school or nursery logos or games such as hopscotch and more. Alternatively, you could select artificial turf if you were on the lookout for something a little more ‘natural’ – though this can also be customized accordingly.