Playground surfacing is arguably the most important part of any playground installation. It’s this that will determine how much use the playground gets, how it withstands that use, as well as how it performs in terms of safety. Whether you’re resurfacing an existing playground or installing a brand new one, it’s important to make sure that you know what to look for when it comes to picking the best playground surface material.
What role does playground surface material play?
It might just look like the ground but actually playground surface material has a lot more to add to how a playground is used and enjoyed. The right option will be as safe as possible – shock-absorbing, softer than something like concrete and designed to meet key safety standards. The right playground surface will also have plenty of aesthetic appeal and help to establish trust with the parents who are going to bring their children to the playground. So, what are the options and which is the best playground surface material?
- Grass or artificial grass. The big advantage of artificial grass is that it looks just like real grass and it’s also much softer than a surface made of a material like concrete. Both grass and artificial grass can be relatively easily maintained. However, there are some disadvantages to consider with real grass, including waterlogging in water and getting dried out in summer, which means that the grass can lose a lot of its shock absorbing properties.
- Loose fill surfacing. This type of playground surface material is, as the name suggests, made up of loose fill materials that sit on the surface of the playground. That could be something like sand, pea shingles or woodchip. Loose fill is often a great choice under equipment like slides and climbing frames and installation is very simple. It doesn’t tend to work if there is equipment in the playground that is moving, as it can then become displaced.
- Synthetic surfacing. Although this can have the highest up front cost, synthetic surfacing is often the best long-term investment for playgrounds, which is why it’s so popular today. It is an all-purpose option that has a natural resistance to wear and tear and is also very simple to install and maintain. Synthetic surfacing is long lasting, safe and very versatile in terms of what you can do with it. There tend to be two options for synthetic surfacing:
- Rubber mulch. Made from shredded car tyres it has very impressive safety attributes, is soft and bouncy and also has a very appealing aesthetic. Rubber mulch works in urban or rural settings and also comes in a range of different colours.
- Wet pour rubber. Soft rubber granules are bound in polyurethane and used as a seamless safety surface for any playground environment. This type of surface is highly shock absorbent, easy to customise and also weather resistant.
The best type of playground surface material depends on your objectives in terms of cost and longevity – but synthetic surfacing has obvious advantages in any environment. Explore the extensive range of high quality Playtop surfaces for playgrounds, sports, splash parks and other recreational spaces