When it comes to playground safety, play area surface under and around equipment is vital. Quality surfacing can make the difference between a minor fall and a serious injury. That’s why it’s important to choose a material that offers good shock absorption, stays in place and holds up well over time.
Loose fill materials like wood chips, sand and pea gravel may look appealing but they can shift and thin over time, which poses potential hazards for children. They also require regular raking to avoid compaction and check for hidden sharp objects, pests or other dangers.
The Science of Play Area Surfaces: What Lies Beneath the Playground
Engineered wood fiber (EWF) offers the natural look of wood and is safe, initially less expensive and easy to install. It’s a popular choice because it knits together to compact, making it a safer loose-fill option. However, EWF can still thin out in high-traffic areas, especially under swings where tiny feet often kick loose-fill materials away. That’s why it’s crucial to install Border Timbers from Playworld, an interlocking border element that keeps loose-fill surfacing in place.
Unitary surfaces such as Playground Surfaces and rubber tiles offer a smooth surface that’s easy for children with mobility issues to access. They also have a long lifespan and are ADA-compliant. However, they can cost more upfront than other options and may need additional costs for weed control or drainage. In addition, they often have a limited warranty for damage due to impact from falling debris.