Playground Safety Surfacing

Keep Your Playground Safe!

All public play equipment requires some type of resilient safety surfacing installed under the equipment to reduce injury in case of a child’s fall, and provide a level of safety and accessibility for your playground users. Since there are many types of playground safety surfacing which vary in cost, maintenance and installation requirements, you can rely on us to fully explain the differences between all the surfacing available to you for your safety surfacing needs. Contact General Recreation Inc. and let us help you choose the playground safety surfacing that is right for your project!

Poured-In-Place Rubber Safety Surfacing

Use Recycled Rubber for a Safe Multi-Layered Playground Surface

Poured-In-Place rubber safety surfacing is a two-layer resilient rubber system that is mixed and poured on-site by General Recreation’s own trained professional installers. The first layer, or cushion course, consists of a special blend of recycled tire buffings and a premium urethane binder. The cushion course can be installed at various thicknesses to meet the critical fall height of the play equipment. The second layer, or wearing course, consists of the highest quality EPDM granules blended with the same premium urethane binder.

PlayGuard Tiles by Ecore

Place Rubber Surfacing on Your Playground with State-of-the-Art Rubber Tiles

PlayGuard bonded rubber tiles and wear mats are unitary materials designed exclusively to reduce the risk of serious injury associated with falls from playground equipment. From the traditional pigmented line to the 18 designs of PlayGuard Ultra, PlayGuard is the playground surfacing of choice for new and renovated playgrounds. These industry-leading rubber tiles and wear mats feature easy installation and maintenance, bold color choices, and the industry’s only 15-year warranty!

Loose Fill Rubber Mulch

Learn About the Special Qualities of Loose-Fill Surfacing Options

Loose-Fill Rubber Mulch is a unique loose-fill surfacing material that consists of granular loose-fill rubber particles, also referred to as rubber chunks, nuggets, or shredded rubber. Playground-surfacing loose-fill rubber mulch conforms to all CPSC safety guidelines and – due to the high usage of recycled rubber – has earned ADA approval, making playground environments safe for our children while preserving the ecological environment. Loose-Fill Rubber Mulch is the most economical playground safety surface – and on top of that, many loose-fill materials for playground surfacing are guaranteed for the lifetime of the play environment.

Woodcarpet® (Engineered Wood Fiber – EWF) By Zeager Brothers, Inc.


The Popular Engineered Wood Fiber (EWF) Surfacing Option

Engineered Wood Fiber makes for some of the most economical playground surfacing materials on the market. Engineered Wood Fiber is used on nearly 3/4 of all municipal and scholastic play areas in the United States due to its tremendous impact attenuation and shock absorption qualities. Providing firm yet slip-resistant unitary surfaces, EWF allows for wheelchairs and strollers to traverse across it. Less expensive products such as sand and pea gravel just aren’t as accessible as Engineered Wood Fiber. Woodcarpet® by Zeager is certified by IPEMA per F1292 and F2075 standard test methods. In fact, Zeager has their own test equipment to perform in-the-field testing on their playground surfacing.

Synthetic Turf Playground Safety Surfacing

Synthetic Turf is a Low-Maintenance Playground Surfacing Option

Synthetic turf products area becoming more commonly used as playground safety surfacing. The low-maintenance combined with the natural look of turf (it appears almost like real grass!) make it increasingly more popular. Foam pads beneath the turf layer provide the critical fall height protection. This variety of playground surfacing conforms to ADA accessibility and meets all other CPSC and ASTM safety requirements. A variety of turf-surface materials are available depending on the requirements of the playground project.

Combination of Surface Materials

Combine Firm Rubber Tiles, Poured-In-Place Rubber & Loose-Fill Surfaces

Using a combination of safety surfacing materials can sometimes provide a more cost effective way to make sure the area requires less surfacing maintenance while also insuring that the critical areas for ADA accessibility are maintained. Often areas of wood fiber combine with poured-in-place rubber, poured-in-place bonded rubber tile, synthetic turf surfacing, loose-fill materials, low-maintenance wear mats in heavy wear areas. The result is a playground surface that’s safer and requires less ongoing maintenance. General Recreation can custom-design solutions to reduce the overall budget while still meeting the design requirements of your playground project.

Play It Safe With Playground Surfaces

How To Choose A Playground Safety Surfacing

The Right Surfacing Should Provide Great Shock Absorption

Resilient, regulation-compliant playground surfacing could be the easiest way to prevent serious injuries on public playgrounds. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has estimated that nearly 70% of all playground injuries are caused by a child’s fall to the underlying playground surface.

That’s why the playground surfacing material – and its impact absorbing properties – matters so much.

While current safety guidelines and standards require playground playground safety surfacing photosafety surfacing under and around all playground equipment, the decisions on the type, thickness, installation method, drainage requirements, maintenance required, and accessibility can severely complicate the issue. Since a child’s fall to the playground surface is the primary cause of playground injuries, the decisions around safety surfacing could be the most important made about the overall playground design.

What to Consider When Considering Playground Surfacing Material

About Engineered Wood Fiber (EWF), Loose-Fill Rubber Mulch & Much More

Long-term costs – which could include maintenance, repairs, and replacement – should be considered when choosing a material for your playground surface. Research your playground surfacing options and make an informed decision. Depending on the safety surfacing material chosen, the cost of the surface could be more than the cost of the equipment the playground surface will be under.

Loose-fill options and organic materials, such as engineered wood fiber (EWF) materials, will require far more maintenance than other unitary surfaces such as rubber tiles or poured-in-place rubber. However, the cost for unitary surfacing is significantly higher than it is for loose-fill material for playground surfaces.

What should you consider when evaluating a playground surfacing option:

  • The critical fall height of the equipment within the play area
  • Resiliency, shock absorbency, impact attenuation (must match or exceed the critical fall height, especially in high-usage and high-traffic areas)
  • The cost of material, freight, and installation
  • Site preparation requirements, excavation, borders, drainage considerations
  • Ongoing maintenance required on the playground surface, and the cost for maintenance (Is it low-maintenance?)
  • Accessibility per ADA guidelines (Is it ADA-compliant surfacing?)
  • Expected life of the product
  • Replacement cost
  • Appearance (Does the color blend with the rest of the play space? Does it give off a natural look? Does it look like real grass?)

While the typical unitary surface is low-maintenance, they do require some maintenance and they will degrade and need replacement over time depending on usage, exposure to the sun, colors chosen, drainage issues, and other factors of the play environment.

Another important decision when choosing a unitary surface type for your play area is the surfacing material color. Dark colors will absorb more heat than lighter colors, keeping the surface warmer. While lighter colors will remain cooler, they will show dirt and blemishes more easily. A blend of colors, some lighter and some darker, could be a way for some clients to maximize the advantages and disadvantages of light versus dark colors. Also, earth-tone colors tend to be more UV-resistant than brighter colors in terms of color-degradation.

The experts at General Recreation Inc. have years of experience matching safe playground surfaces with custom playground equipment – and we can find the best playground surface for your playground project too. Whether it’s Synthetic Turf, Poured-In-Place Rubber, Bonded Rubber Tile, Recycled Rubber Tile, or Loose-Fill Material, protect the kids using your playground equipment with General Recreation’s complete line of state-of-the-art playground surfacing options.

As a purveyor of the most comprehensive selection of safety surfacing options for your play environment, General Recreation is your resource for real-world knowledge and hands-on expertise in the benefits of loose-fill materials and unitary materials. Make sure you’re giving children the maximum possible protection with compliant surfacing.

CPSC Minimum Loose Fill Playground Safety Surfacing Depths

CPSC loose fill safety surfacing depths

CPSC Minimum Compressed Loose-Fill Surfacing Depths

The table above is from the CPSC Public Playground Safety Handbook. As these playground safety surfacing cushion-layer depths listed above are only minimums, General Recreation recommends a depth of approximately 25% more than the above chart minimum depths to account for kick-out in heavy-wear and high-traffic areas, such as under swing seats and at slide exits where the impact attenuation and shock absorption of the playground surfacing material are especially important.

General Recreation is committed to making sure you get the right surfacing option for your play areas, keeping the kids safe while letting them have tons of fun on the playground!

Any Questions About Your Playground Safety Surfacing Options? General Recreation Is Here To Help!