Stepping onto your neighborhood park for the first time, you might have noticed the soft flooring—bouncy and comfortable. When considering the many potential playground ideas, you might be wondering a few things. A natural question—what is playground floor called? A playground floor is known as a play-ground surface, which is flooring that’s typically meant to protect people from accidental falls. Now that you know how a playground surface should be, you might be wondering: What type of surface is a playground? Typically, a play-ground surface is a rubber surface. Playground matting needs to be durable, shock-absorbent, slip-resistant, and water-resistant—qualities that rubber is known for. With these general questions about playground ideas answered, let’s talk about the types of play-ground surfacing.
What is the Best Surface for a Play Area?
In general, the best surface for a play area is play-area rubber. Rubber is durable, shock-absorbent, slip-resistant, and water-resistant. These qualities make rubber one of the best materials for any play-ground surface. Playgrounds are generally appreciated for their more exciting features—bright colors, winding slides, and high-reaching swings. While these features are noteworthy, one of playgrounds’ subtler features goes unnoticed. The amount of care a playground architect devotes toward child playground safety is often underappreciated. Yet, it’s the important factor when deciding what playground ideas are best for your backyard. All good playground safety starts with a soft play-area floor. Again, what is the best surface for a place area? The best playground surface is generally made of rubber. But, we should talk about other play-ground-surface options, too, because they do have their places in the play-ground-surfacing conversation. In this article, we’ll compare the common types of outdoor soft flooring, giving you a holistic understanding of playground surfacing materials:
Wood Fiber Play-Ground Surface
Wood fiber is an upgraded version of wood mulch. It lasts longer than mulch. Wood-type play-area surfaces have their place within certain playground ideas. But their disadvantages are noticeable. First off, because wood fiber is a loose filling, it’s going to be harder to manage. Over time, the fillings tend to displace, and the pool of fillings slowly depletes. This leads to an unsafe play-ground surface, as the level of the fillings affects how much shock-absorption your outdoor play surface exhibits. Furthermore, because wood is an organic material, it is susceptible to water, fungi, and bacteria. Thus, wood fillings can become unsanitary and—frankly—gross. What’s more, wood fiber is uncomfortable to run on barefoot. Barefoot playground play doesn’t happen very much at public playgrounds. But in a residential backyard playground, being barefoot is much more common. In addition, because wood fiber is a loose-filling playground cover, it potentially hides any dangerous objects present on the playground. Sharp objects thrown into or left at the playground can become difficult to identify, leaving it up to a playground-goer to discover it on their own. Finally, wood splinters. While the wood used for play-area surfaces is less likely to splinter than other cuts of wood, it can still splinter. This can minorly injure your children, acutely damaging their bodies while putting them in for a world of pain and annoyance. Wood fiber is a reasonable choice if a rubber-surface playground is out of the question.
Sand Play-Ground Surface
For a lot of people, when thinking about playground ideas, the image of a sandbox comes quickly to mind. You can see why sand is so closely associated with playground ideas. It’s fun to play with, and it feels good to walk on. But, sand isn’t popularly used as a play-ground surface anymore. Sand has several safety issues that—when compared to options like rubber—make it obviously suboptimal. For one thing, sand compacts and hardens when saturated. Rain or garden-water that reaches this surface can make the surface dangerous—unable to properly cushion the impact of an accidental fall. Furthermore, individual grains of sand are light. Wind and human movements easily displace sand from its original place, creating a mess in your backyard and requiring you to replenish your loose fillings. Like wood mulch and fiber, sand easily hides any potentially dangerous objects on the playground. Things like broken glass, if dropped into sand, become buried. This sort of scenario is especially dangerous with sand. Children love scooping their arms into and burying themselves in sand. One plunge in the wrong place, and a nightmare awaits. But, we’ve got to give sand credit. The main benefit of a sand playground-floor is that it’s cheap. If your budget absolutely cannot make room for a play-ground-matting upgrade, then sand can sometimes be the right choice in actualizing your playground ideas.
Rubber Play-Ground Surface
Rubber is the perfect union between safety and cost-effectiveness. Outdoor rubber play mats create a playground soft surface that is practically unrivaled in its durability, shock-absorption, slip-resistance, and water-resistance. Rubber playground surfaces usually fulfill all the child playground safety standards, such as appropriate fall-height ratings. Rubber surfaces for playgrounds, like those offered by Rubber-Cal, are fall-height rated for heights of up to six feet, which means that an accidental fall from a six-foot height likely won’t cause serious injury. Furthermore, rubber has a naturally high coefficient of friction. Thus, rubber playground flooring drastically reduces the likelihood that a child will slip and fall, should playground conditions be slippery or otherwise. Rubber tiles for playground equipment are also easy to install yourself, requiring little technical knowledge and no professional installation. And because this play-area matting comes in playground-rubber-tile form, all you need to do if your flooring becomes damaged is replace the tile that’s unusable. Finally, foreign objects stay visible atop rubber. Unlike wood fiber and unlike sand, rubber doesn’t bury objects, making it a more predictable playground padding. What is the best ground cover for a playground? With rubber being one of the best playground surface materials, it’s difficult to choose anything but rubber tiles for playground equipment and safety. Their advantages are innumerable.
What is Playground Floor Called?
A playground floor is called a play-ground surface, and play-ground surfaces come in many types. For example, wood mulch or fiber, sand, and rubber are all common forms of play-area surfacing. These surfaces support the weight of playground equipment, as well as children. Play-area surfaces are typically designed to dampen the impact of falling objects, which serves to make playgrounds safer for children since accidents are relatively common.
What Type of Surface is a Playground?
A playground surface is typically made of rubber since rubber is durable, shock-absorbing, water-resistant, and slip-resistant. A rubber play-ground surface offers many advantages to playground safety that other common types of soft play-tiles don’t. Furthermore, manufacturers like Rubber-Cal typically offer recycled playground surfaces. By using reclaimed rubber, Rubber-Cal can offer its products at lower prices since the raw materials it uses in production don’t cost as much as their non-recycled counterparts. These are just some of the reasons for why designers are building playground surfaces mainly with rubber—despite all the potential playground ideas.
What is the Best Ground Cover for a Playground?
The best ground cover for a playground is rubber playground-floor-mats. Loose-filling surfaces, such as mulch, fiber, and sand, don’t offer all the benefits that a rubber play-ground surface does. They are often harder to manage in the long term, and the problems they cause can be costly to fix. We’re confident that—with the knowledge you’ve just gained—you’ll be informed when you decide to purchase a playset ground cover. Its material matters. So long as you are diligent in implementing your playground ideas, you shouldn’t regret your decision.
Playground Ideas: Choosing the Best Playground Surface