The right Playground Surfaces can prevent minor falls from becoming major injuries. Whether it’s a sand or unitary surface, the best safety surfacing helps kids bounce back from falls, dampening the impact and preventing injuries. This surfacing isn’t just for cushioning; it also adds aesthetic value to the playground and provides sensory stimulation. It’s also important to ensure that surfacing is installed and maintained correctly to meet accessibility standards.
Loose-fill surfacing is a common and affordable option, but it can shift and become thinner or even disappear in areas of high impact from repeated impact by small feet. Erosion can result in pits and grooves that can be dangerous for children to fall into. In addition, a thin layer of loose-fill can become slippery, creating a tripping hazard for anyone who uses the playground.
The Ultimate Guide to Playground Surface Materials
Unitary surfaces—like rubber tiles, artificial turf, poured-in-place, and carpeting products—offer a range of options. Some offer a more uniform look while others are more customizable to match the theme of the playground. They are also easy to maintain and meet ADA accessibility guidelines when properly installed and maintained.
Poured-in-place rubber (PIP) is another unitary option that offers a highly consistent, uniform look and meets accessibility guidelines when installed and maintained correctly. It is a 2-layer system that includes a shock-absorbing layer of recycled rubber buffings covered with a top finish layer of granular particles all mixed with binder. It is a popular choice for commercial playgrounds, but its intensive installation process—from mixing the binder to troweling the material to level—is often best completed by contractors who specialize in this surface material.