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How to Choose the Right Safety Surfacing for Your Playground


How to Choose the Right Safety Surfacing for Your Playground

Without safety surfacing, serious head and bodily injuries would occur on your playground. Surfacing materials like rubber mulch and engineered wood fiber help absorb the shock from slips and falls. However, remember that some injuries from falls can still occur, regardless of the surfacing material you use.

As you consider your options for playground safety surfacing, here are some factors to keep in mind.

ADA Accessibility

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), all newly designed or constructed play areas must comply with ADA guidelines. This includes outdoor playgrounds and indoor play areas found at daycare centers and shopping centers.

Fortunately, most types of playground surfacing are ADA compliant, including poured rubber and rubber tiles. Even engineered wood chips and loose fill rubber are ADA compliant, though you must rake them regularly to keep a clean, even distribution.

Maintenance and Durability

Another factor to think about is the durability of the surfacing. Engineered wood fiber is cost-effective, but it also needs to be refilled periodically. If this isn’t done, there will be “bald” spots on your playground where no surfacing exists.

Rubber tile, poured rubber and artificial turf are more expensive initially, but they require far less maintenance. Additionally, they won’t get blown away or carried away like loose fill materials such as shredded wood or rubber can.


Playground surfacing transforms the look and feel of your park because it’s warm, colorful and inviting. And thanks to synthetic turf and rubber, you have many vivid colors to choose from.

If you want more than one color, opt for poured rubber or rubber tiles. You can even use poured rubber to create various designs like leaves, animal tracks, roadways and rivers that add play value to your space or complete your themed playground equipment.

Playground Budget

You must also consider the budget you have to work with, as this will ultimately influence what you can and can’t do with your playground. Engineered wood fiber is the most budget friendly, followed by loose-fill rubber. The options go up in price from there.

Do keep in mind that you get what you pay for. If you can afford to shell out more in the beginning, a more expensive surfacing material will reward you with less maintenance and a longer lifespan. But if this isn’t possible, you still have the trustworthy and economical wood fill.

Cunningham Recreation carries a wide range of playground surfacing materials for parks of all sizes and budgets. Contact us today to discuss our surfacing options and how to pick the best one for your playground design.