10 Easy Tips to Help you Choose your Rubber Playground Surface. Ask Yourself:
Customer’s often call our company asking for our advice on what is the best playground flooring surface for them. Our reply is almost always the same which is that “It depends.” From there we usually ask a series of question to help determine the customer’s needs. Here are a few of those questions you can ask yourself to help you determine which outdoor playground surface would be better for you when deciding between recycled rubber mulch and rubber playground tiles:
- How tall is your equipment? The thickness of tiles or depth of the mulch will determine the fall height rating as described in ASTM F1292.
- How large is your playground? More area means more surface to cover. The cost per square foot can drastically affect the initial price of your job when very large.
- What is your budget? Initial cost vs. life time cost. Cost of rubber mulch is lower to begin with but will require periodic maintenance and filling in of areas washed, blown or carried away. Play ground tiles are more expensive initially, more permanent, require little maintenance and have a much longer life equating to lower cost over time.
- Where do you live? Weather, temperature, rainfall? While mulch doesn’t float, it is still loose and can be displaced by high winds or flowing water. Tiles will stay in place and better handle the elements.
- Self install or contractor? While both can be installed by the end user, the tiles will require a little more prep and labor to install correctly.
- What surface is there now? Uneven surfaces can be masked by the mulch (the down side is this may hide hazards like roots, sticks or glass). Tiles are best laid over cement, asphalt, or 3-4 inches of level, crushed and tamped aggregate covered with landscape fabric.
- Private or public playground? Many public areas must be insured or have zoning requirements. While both mulch and tiles will provide certified fall height ratings, the tiles are more consistent since they cannot be displaced.
- How much traffic will your playground see? While durability is not the issue for either mulch or tiles, mulch can be displaced in the highest traffic areas, reducing the fall height protection. Most manufacturers of tiles have the option for a dense EPDM virgin rubber top layer adding durability and ease of cleaning.
- What colors do you want? Both mulch and tiles have the option for basic colors (usually black, gray, blue, green, red) but premium tiles with an EPDM virgin rubber surface are available and can be customized for exciting designs or nearly limitless color combinations.
- How fast do you want your playground surface? The rubber mulch is being produced continuously and can usually be shipped in 3 to 8 business days. The tiles are made to order and usually have a lead time of 5 to 15 business days.
We know that this is by no means all the questions that need to be asked, it is a god start that can help point you in the right direction. Everyone’s area and usage will be different and unique. We hope we have provided enough information to get you started. Whichever rubber playground surface you choose, you will have years of protection for those visiting your area and the peace of mind knowing you did your part to keep waste tires from landfills. For more information or to have additional questions answered visit www.rubberflooringinc.com or call at 800-613-0996.