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Why Does Choosing the Right Playground Surfacing Matter?Why Does Choosing the Right Playground Surfacing Matter?
Playground Equipment Oct 31, 2022

Why Does Choosing the Right Playground Surfacing Matter?

Playground Safety Surfacing Overview

While the commercial playground equipment you choose for your school playground, park playground, church playground, or community playground is important, that’s not the only key to having a successful playground. It’s also every bit as important to install the right playground flooring or playground surface to suit the various play elements you have in place. Why? Because when it comes to playground use, prioritizing safety is always of paramount importance.

The Right Playground Surfacing Can Help Prevent Playground Injuries

The fact of the matter is that more than 200,000 U.S. children receive hospital treatment for playground-related injuries every year. That’s one statistic you really can’t ignore if your organization provides an outdoor playground. But the good news? Most of the injuries that occur are completely preventable!

The majority of playground injuries happen due to accidental falls or spills. When it comes to playground activity, there’s really no way to prevent ALL falls from occurring. Let’s face it, children who are growing, developing, and learning things like balance & coordination aren’t always 100% in control of their bodies!

That’s why it’s so important to make sure you have the right playground surfacing in place. Installing the right playground surface material is one of the best things you can do to help make a child’s playground experience as safe and injury-free as possible.

Major Categories of Playground Surfacing

Different folks tend to categorize playground safety surfacing in different ways, but all playground surfacing basically falls under one of three umbrellas:

Loose-fill surfaces

Like the name implies, loose-fill surfacing entails the use of loose materials like wood chips or chunks of rubber. It’s usually advantageous to start by laying down a geotextile fabric before any loose-fill surfacing material is installed, as this will serve as an effective weed barrier. Containment curbs should also be used with loose-fill materials to keep them from migrating outside the intended zone of usage. This will also help in terms of maintaining the proper depth of surface material.

Unitary surfaces

The installation of poured unitary surfaces like PIP, bonded rubber, or other rubber playground surfacing will often require a skilled technical crew that’s well-trained in the proper installation of unitary materials. Certain temperature and weather conditions will also need to be met in order for the unitary surface installation to be successful. Once installation is complete, you’ll need to allow a proper amount of time for surface curing before allowing any users to enter your playground.

Synthetic turf

Synthetic turf is another wonderful, natural-looking option when it comes to safety surfacing, but this material is best installed by professionals. Interested in considering some synthetic turf options for your playground or recreational area? Reach out to the team at Carolina Recreation & Design!

Playground Surfacing Types Offered by Carolina Recreation & Design

If you currently have or are planning to install a public-use playground facility for your organization, safety surfacing is usually a legal requirement in most cases. Here are some popular safety surfacing options we can provide and install at CRD:

Engineered Wood Fiber (EWF)

Engineered Wood Fiber is a loose-fill surface comprised of engineered, non-toxic, crushed wood fiber. EWF is very effective in terms of providing for fall safety, and it also adds a more natural look to your playground.

Synthetic Turf

You’ve probably seen synthetic turf used on football and soccer fields, but those aren’t the only applications where synthetic turf can be valuable. Turf is a durable surface that can be used to add safety value to your playground, as well. It looks and feels like real grass but never needs mowing!

Recycled Poured Rubber (PIP)

Pour-in-place rubber (also known as PIP or recycled poured rubber) is attractive, seamless, & resilient. It offers both great impact attenuation and full ADA accessibility. And the look of your PIP surface is completely customizable too. You can choose your own colors, designs, logos, and/or outdoor game templates to include, as well.

Rubber Tile

Rubber tile is a compact surface which offers great shock absorption, easy accessibility, and requires very little maintenance. These tiles can be placed in many attractive patterns and designs and can also include outlines for games like leapfrog, hopscotch, four square, and more.

Recycled Bonded Rubber

Recycled bonded rubber is a unitary safety surface made of tiles which consist of shredded recycled tires, a polyurethane binder, and custom pigments. It feels springy to the touch, and it’s designed to be a long-lasting playground solution.

Recycled Shredded Rubber

If you prefer loose-fill safety surfaces, wood mulch or EWF isn’t your only option. A recycled shredded rubber surface is made from recycled tires that have been cleaned and ground into small pieces. Loose-fill rubber is more shock-absorbent than wood fiber, lasts longer, and is available in a variety of customizable colors.

General Tips for Making Playgrounds & Playground Surfaces Safer

There are many things you can do to help make your outdoor playground environment safer for children:

  • Provide proper adult supervision. Never leave a group of children unattended on the playground.
  • Keep an eye out for loose or broken equipment. Children shouldn’t be allowed to use (or go near) any damaged equipment until proper repairs can be completed.
  • Outdoor playgrounds and bare feet don’t really go together. Make sure participants wear closed-toe shoes when using the playground. Not only will this help to prevent any puncture wounds, but it can’t help to prevent unnecessary falls and other injuries, too.
  • If you have wood mulch or another type of loose-fill, check periodically to make sure your surfacing reaches a proper depth. It’s a good idea to have a recommended surfacing depth marker clearly delineated on every play element or playground feature.
  • If your playground features a molded rubber playground surface, you’ll also want to check regularly for any material tears or missing rubber pieces.

Carolina Recreation & Design Can Provide for All of Your Playground AND Playground Surfacing Needs!

Carolina Recreation & Design is your preferred provider and installer of commercial playgrounds, themed playground equipment, outdoor recreation equipment, and safety surfacing in NC, SC, VA, and TN. We can also install barriers, fabric shades, mounted cameras, and other essential site amenities to make your outdoor facility complete.

We’re also general contractors, meaning we can take care of everything from site preparation to permitting, to electrical, water, & sewer, to fencing, landscaping, masonry, or whatever else you may need in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, or Tennessee. At Carolina Recreation & Design, we’re much more than just playground dealers; we’re providers of complete, turnkey solutions!

Got questions? Ready to get started? Give us a call today at (704) 664-1833! You can also reach out to us online by filling out this simple form. We’re all about providing you with the absolute best value for your investment, while maintaining a clear focus on SAFETY, and keeping out a keen eye for FUN! If you’re a school, preschool, daycare, church or faith center, hospital, park, community center, YMCA, or HOA located in our service area, Carolina Recreation & Design has you covered!