Playground surfacing is the material that lies under and around the playground structure. The most common types of playground surfacing are usually made from wood or rubber. But there are other choices worth considering, especially if you plan on building an inclusive playground that meets all ADA requirements.
To help you determine the best playground safety surfacing materials for your project, here are five of the best options and the benefits to expect with each.
1. Poured In Place Rubber
Poured in place rubber, or PIP rubber, is one of the best options for an ADA accessible park. It’s made from two layers - the base layer and the wear layer. PIP rubber is durable, stretchy and low maintenance. It’s also resistant to UV light, inclement weather and wear and tear. Plus, there are plenty of color options, allowing you to visually spruce up your park with various shapes, patterns and images.
2. Recycled Rubber Tiles
Recycled rubber tiles offer excellent shock absorption and require minimal maintenance. Each tile locks together to create a floating-type floor that is clean, safe and stable. Aside from the aesthetic qualities, recycled rubber tiles also offer excellent drainage and noise reduction. And, if a child falls, they are less likely to suffer a serious injury on a shock absorbing surface.
3. Engineered Wood Fiber
Engineered wood fiber may not have the same aesthetic appeal as recycled rubber, but it’s an economical choice that allows communities to build beautiful, safe parks on a budget. Engineered wood fiber still offers a clean, natural look and protects children from falls. It also meets all accessibility guidelines, as wheelchairs, crutches and walkers can move efficiently through the mulch.
4. Recycled Bonded Rubber
Another rubber option worth considering is recycled bonded rubber. This surfacing material is made from 100% shredded rubber tires and mimics the look of engineered wood fiber but without all the maintenance. Like other types of rubber surfacing, recycled bonded rubber is available in multiple colors, meets all ADA surfacing criteria and qualifies for LEED credits.
5. Synthetic Turf
To give your playground design a seamless appearance, synthetic turf is an excellent choice. This surfacing is safe and features a foam padding underlayment that protects kids from serious injuries. It’s also much softer than mulch, sand or natural grass and requires very little maintenance. For dog parks, we recommend the pet-friendly version called pup turf.
As one of the most trusted playground surfacing companies, Cunningham Recreation carries all of these surfacing options - and more! We will be happy to discuss the various surfacing solutions that will benefit your project, keep children safe and improve the look of your community.