Playground Surfacing

Playground Surfacing


According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 79% of all playground injuries are due to falls. 68% are due to falls to the ground surface.  This is why it is imperative to have adequate fall surface for safety and avoid liability.

We at Creative PlayScapes are fall surface experts.  We have access to the latest testing data and materials specifications to design a surface that will meet your exact needs on the playground.  We consider, budget, maintenance costs, durability of surfaces, wear patterns, and use patterns to suggest products and installation techniques that will fit the exact needs of your facility.

All Playgrounds need surfacing to reduce the threat of life-threatening head injuries.  Surfacing materials fall into two categories, as follows:

Loose Fill Materials
Products generally include shredded rubber, sand, pea gravel wood mulch or Engineered Wood Fiber (EWF), and wood chips.  All must be installed to a depth of 9″ minimum and all protect to different fall attenuation heights.  The actual depth required to protect the playground is dictated by the fall height of the equipment.

This Chart applies to 9″ of Fill
Depth > Material > Fall Ht. Protection

9″        Shredded Rubber    10′

9″        Sand                          4′

9″        Pea Gravel                5′

9″        Wood Mulch             7′

9″        Wood Chips              10′

It is important to note that standard Landscape Mulch is typically not tested to meet CPSC standards.  Specific engineered testing and data is provided for certified Engineered Wood Fiber Mulch. (EWF).  Any playground supervisor should confirm that any mulch provided has been tested to meet and comply with ASTM 1292, and meet specifications of ASTM F2075.  Certification papers are routinely provided with playground mulch delivery.

Unitary Surfacing Materials
Products include rubber mats, tiles, and poured in place (PIP) rubber.  These systems also include mats covered with artificial turf products to give the natural look and feel of turf grass.  The initial cost of a unitary surface is more, however when you consider the minimal maintenance these systems require over a 10-15 year life span, they are very sensible.  Once a unitary system is installed, the need for continual monitoring and replenishment of material is almost entirely eliminated.

EPDM Surfacing
These state of the art surfaces are constructed of minute rubber pellets which are consolidated together in a unitary surface with urethane binder in varying depths based on fall height requirements (usually around 3″-5″” thick).  The material is installed in a two-step process.  First, the rubber base course is laid; it is composed of SBR granules.  These are tiny shreds of recycled rubber tires that have been cleaned of contaminate.  The SBR rubber base constitutes the majority of the rubber depth and forms the “cushiony” portion of the surface.  Secondly, the top course is installed, it referred to as EPDM.  The EPDM constitutes the wearing surface and is generally installed at a depth of 3/8″.  This colorful top coating is fade resistant with UV inhibitors, and can be custom colored to achieve dramatic affects.  Custom colors, hopscotch panels, logos etc. are sometimes incorporated in the designs.  EPDM is an excellent surfacing choice for facilities with a keen eye for safety, low maintenance, and life cycle cost savings.

CRM Surfacing
This is also a great long term alternative to loose fill.  Recycled off-road tires are shredded into shredded rubber mulch which greatly resembles shredded wood mulch.  The rubber mulch is mixed with urethane binder and poured into a unitary slab in a one pour application.  The end product is very user friendly and gives a very natural look to the play area.

Pre-engineered tiles are another great solution for many projects.  Tiles are pre-manufactured in a controlled environment which assures color accuracy and very tight dimensional tolerances.  Like EPDM and CRM, the depth of the tile is dictated by fall heights.

Both EPDM and CRM and tiles surfaces should be installed on a stable stone or concrete base course.  All three products are fully permeable and free draining which eliminates dealing with drain inlets on the playground.  Our customers who have these systems love them.  They are able to let the kids on the playground minutes after a rain storm.  There are no more messy shoes, clothes, splinters or concerns when a PIP system is installed.

Artificial Turf
We also offers a full line of artificial turf products for use on the playground and on dog parks.  We offer several product lines of turf which we combine in a system with waterproof recycled foam pads to design a natural green low maintenance turf system.  The system is economical, clean and free draining.

Safety Starts w/ Stability!

Kurt Karriker
Creative Playscapes

Playground Surfacing
Playground Surfacing
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