Safety surfacing is an integral part of every playground project, whether you’re planning for a park, neighborhood, school, or other application. It ensures the safety of children who will be using the play equipment while providing a cohesive look for the play area.
We’ve done installations on hundreds of playgrounds for daycares, schools and homeowners every year, including the Indianapolis Public School System. The material that we most commonly use is called Soft-Step Playground Mulch. Playground mulch meets and exceeds ASTM standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (ASTM F1292) and exceeds the requirements of the American Disabilities Act (ADA) for wheelchair accessibility testing (ASTM F1951).
Which Type of Playground Surfacing is Right for My Project?
Each type of surfacing has pros and cons, so it’s important to learn about all the available types of surfacing before making a final decision. Budget is often a primary consideration when choosing a surfacing material. Keep in mind that while some types of surfacing may have lower up-front costs (such as wood mulch), they can actually end up costing more in the long run since they to be maintained and topped off regularly to ensure continued ASTM compliance.
Playground equipment should never be installed over concrete, asphalt, compacted ground, or grass, since these surfaces provide little to no absorption upon impact. Only products tested to ASTM F1292 standards are appropriate playground surfacing materials.
How Much Does Safety Surfacing Cost?
As a general rule, safety surfacing can be anywhere from 20-50% of the total project cost, so it’s important to consider from the initial planning phase and not as an afterthought. Because each project is different, the cost of safety surfacing can vary widely. The best way to get an accurate cost analysis to have a professional provide you with a quote. To determine the cost for playground surfacing, we will consider a number of factors unique to your project including:
- Type of surfacing
- Total area that needs surfacing
- ADA accessibility requirements
- Critical Fall Height
- Type of Subfloor
When you contact us for a quote, we’ll discuss the needs of your facility and budget to ensure we find the best surfacing solution for your project.
Types of Surfacing
As you might expect, safety surfacing is available in a wide range of styles and materials including synthetic turf, rubber mulch, wood mulch, rubber tiles, poured-in-place rubber, and bonded rubber mulch. Our commercial staff will help you find the best surface option for your project at competitive material and installation prices. Below you’ll find information about the most popular playground surfacing options as well examples of our recent surfacing projects.
Poured In Place
Poured in place safety surfacing is the best surface of choice for public and private schools, parks, and daycare centers. It is extremely durable, cleans easily, and is ADA friendly. Our poured in place rubber safety surface can be customized to the colors, designs and shapes that best fit your application.
Artificial grass, or synthetic turf surfacing as it is sometimes referred to, has the look of real grass but does not require mowing. It provides a more natural look and feel than rubber tiles, or pour in place or mulch. It doesn’t migrate like mulch and is more cost effective than pour in place surfacing.
Rubber interlocking tiles offer great shock absorption, low maintenance, long wear and excellent accessibility. Soft tiles are great for high traffic areas. Rubber tiles are also a popular choice for indoor play areas as they are very easy to clean and individual tiles can be replaced in case of damage.
Playsafer™ Rubber Mulch cushions falls and minimizes dangerous playground impacts. It eliminates the need for annual mulching, since rubber doesn’t break down as wood does (though it may occasionally need topped off). It’s heavy enough to stay put, and you can use less of it to control weeds – you need about 6 inches of rubber mulch compared with about 9 inches of wood mulch.
Wood mulch is a popular surfacing choice because it is budget-friendly and has a natural aesthetic. Commercial Recreation Group uses Sof-Step playground mulch, since it is a superior quality wood-fiber material that meets ASTM F1292-99, HIC and G-MA Requirements. It is non-toxic and has no contaminants or heavy metals.
SnapSports makes great portable basketball and sports courts! The multi-play features two different surfaces: solid and grid. Both share the secure fit and stable playing surface needed for any kind of sport. The grid system can also be used indoors or outside.
Borders & Access Ramps
Safety borders keep loose-fill surfacing in and maintain your surfacing through intensive weather and traffic. Borders, also referred to as timbers, are available in classic black, rubber, or wood (for a more natural aesthetic). Access ramps are crucial for ADA compliance because they allow strollers and wheelchairs easy access to the play area.