In many ways, the process of designing a playground is a bit like returning to your childhood fantasies. You have an opportunity to create a space that will inspire imagination, encourage play-based learning and allow young children to simply stay active and have fun. While it's easy to get caught up in equipment choices, you should keep in mind that playground flooring plays an equally important role. When you select the right playground flooring for your project, you can design a space that is safe, fun and inviting.
Here's everything you need to know about choosing the right playground flooring for your next community playground.
Types of Playground Flooring
Knowing your options when it comes to playground flooring can help you make the best choice for your project. These are the most common types of playground flooring:
Poured-in-place rubber is a versatile and durable playground flooring option. Known for its bright, vivid designs and intricate patterns, poured-in-place rubber is becoming a favorite flooring types among playground designers. Young children are attracted to the colorful patterns on the surface, and parents appreciate the fact that the rubber offers a softer, more buoyant surface for those hard playground landings.
Available in various layers and granule sizes, poured-in-place rubber can be modified to suit the budget of the project. Generally speaking, the initial cost of poured-in-place rubber is higher, but it lasts for a longer period of time and requires minimal maintenance.
Artificial turf is trending in the world of playground design, as project organizers seek to create a natural and welcoming look for their playground. In addition to offering the look of natural grass, synthetic turf also adds layer of safety that other playground flooring options do not have, and as a bonus, it's very easy to maintain.
At FlexGround, we offer an innovative artificial turf solution that combines the safety and security of poured-in-place rubber with the beauty of artificial turf. Our two-layer system includes a sub-layer of poured-in-place rubber, which adds buoyancy to the playground flooring, and a top layer made with premier artificial turf.
Bonded rubber is a playground surfacing option that is ideal for those who are looking to rely on the natural look of mulch without the ongoing maintenance that is required with natural wood mulch. Bonded rubber is created by adhering rubber mulch together in order to create a flat, stable surface. It has natural bounce, and the texture of the surface helps to prevent playground users from slipping and falling while they are enjoying the space.
Rubber mulch is yet another surfacing solution that is used as an alternative to traditional wood mulch, which has long been used on playgrounds. Rubber mulch looks like wood mulch, but it's created from recycled rubber materials. When compared to wood mulch, rubber mulch is heavier and less likely to blow or be redistributed around the playground. It also is a safer surfacing option in the event of a slip and fall accident.
Engineered Wood Fiber
Engineered wood fiber has long been one of the most common playground flooring options, but in recent years, designers are finding that it is not always the best long-term solution. Engineered wood fiber is incredibly affordable, and it is a sustainable solution. However, it often has to be refilled, and it is difficult to maintain as debris can easily get stuck in the fibers.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Playground Flooring
There are several factors that should play a role in your final decision regarding playground flooring, such as:
Safety must be the most important consideration in every element of playground design. When it comes to playground surfacing, you will want to make sure that you consider the following:
- The depth of the playground surfacing. There are requirements related to the height of the playground flooring, depending on the material you choose.
- The layout of your playground flooring. You may need to make sure that the surfacing extends several feet beyond all play equipment.
- The likelihood that debris will get trapped in the surfacing material. You will want to avoid playground flooring that can easily hide dangerous objects or destructive debris.
The amount of routine maintenance that is required for your flooring will depend on the material that you choose. It is important to invest in a low-maintenance playground flooring that can easily be cleaned. At FlexGround, we offer an array of surface repair solutions and products, designed to extend the lifespan of your flooring.
The lifespan of your playground flooring may vary based on the surfacing solution that you choose. Some materials, such as poured-in-place rubber and artificial turf, are designed to last longer than others. There are playground surfacing materials, such as engineered wood fiber, that cost less initially — but they must be refilled frequently and will not last as long as other premium options.
Of course, the cost of the material will play a role in your final decision, as you will want to select a flooring solution that fits within your budget. As you consider the cost, however, keep in mind that there are ongoing costs associated with many less-expensive flooring materials. While you may pay more initially for a premium playground flooring, you often will have lower maintenance costs in the months and years ahead.
Choosing the Best Playground Flooring
Once you have learned about the various flooring types available and took multiple factors into consideration, you can begin to make the final decision. You can choose the best playground flooring when you:
Assess Your Needs
By being aware of your budget and mindful of the targeted age range for your playground, you can begin to narrow down your options for flooring. Keep the equipment that you intend to place on the playground in mind, and be mindful of the types of activities that will take place in that space.
Evaluate the Different Types of Flooring
As you begin to narrow down your selections, be sure to compare the advantages and disadvantages of each flooring solution. You will want to consider factors such as safety, maintenance, durability and cost.
Make a Decision
Finally, choose the playground flooring option that is best for you. If you need reassurance, consider consulting with a professional in order to get their expert opinion on your project.
Buy Playground Flooring at FlexGround
FlexGround is the premier supplier of playground flooring, offering a range of versatile flooring options that will accommodate the needs of your playground as well as your budget. From poured-in-place surfaces and artificial grass to sport and aquatic surfaces, FlexGround has the playground flooring available that will set your space apart from other play areas in the local area.
Get a quote from FlexGround today.