Customer's often call our company asking for our advice on what is the best playground flooring surface for them. Truth is: it depends. Choosing your rubber playground is a big decision. Here are 10 tips to choose your rubber playground when deciding between recycled rubber mulch and playground tiles:
Okay, you have your equipment all figured out, you have your location and you're all ready to go with your new (or improved) playground, but WAIT! What the heck are you going to put it on?! Your two options for rubber playground flooring are rubber mulch and rubber tiles. Choosing your playground flooring can be intimidating, especially if you've never done any research into the world of rubber flooring or playground flooring. That's okay, we're here to guide you and help you choose the rubber flooring for your playground that is best for you, but first, let's start with a few questions.
1. How tall is your playground equipment?
The thickness of tiles or depth of the mulch will determine the fall height rating as described in ASTM F1292 (<--- ASTM F1292 sets the standards and specification for playground equipment).
2. How large is your playground?
More area = more surface to cover. The cost per square foot can drastically affect the initial price of your job when very large.
3. What is your budget for playground flooring?
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. However, they are more permanent, require little maintenance and have a much longer life, meaning lower cost in the long run.
4. 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.
5. Will you be installing your rubber playground flooring yourself?
While both rubber tiles and rubber mulch can be installed by the end user, the tiles will require a little more prep and labor to install correctly.
6. What surface will be underneath your playground flooring?
Uneven surfaces can be masked by the rubber mulch (the down side is this may hide hazards like roots, sticks or glass). Rubber tiles are best laid over cement, asphalt, or 3-4 inches of level, crushed and tamped aggregate covered with landscape fabric.
7. Private or public playground?
Many public playgrounds must be insured or have zoning requirements. While both rubber mulch and rubber tiles will provide certified fall height ratings, the rubber tiles are a more consistent playground flooring since they cannot be displaced.
8. How much traffic will your playground see?
While durability is not the issue for either rubber mulch or rubber tiles, rubber mulch can be displaced in the highest playground