There are several types of protective surfaces for playgrounds, both in terms of manufacturing material and application. They can be wood, sand, natural or synthetic materials, unitary, placed on-site, or loose fill. The selection of the protective surface for the playground will depend on the client’s requirements, the area, time of execution, and budget; in this article, we will know in depth some of the main types of protective surfaces in playgrounds to help you to make a proper selection at the moment of realizing a playground project.
PIP (Pour-in-place) rubber surfaces are a type of synthetic unitary surface for playgrounds. PIP is mixed and placed in the exact location where a fall attenuation surface is needed. One of the main advantages of PIP is that they are ideal for playgrounds because of their cushioning capabilities; they are slip resistant and have excellent water permeability, preventing puddles from accumulating. Another advantage is that PIP is available in different colors, so various patterns and shapes can be made, giving playgrounds a unique touch. Additionally, PIP creates a smooth, clean, and durable surface, which allows excellent mobility for strollers, wheelchairs, walkers, or any other mobility aid.
One of the most popular options for protective surfaces is rubber tiles. This option is an environmentally friendly product since a large part of its raw material comes from recycled tires, thus helping minimize the negative environmental impact. These tiles have a great capacity to cushion blows and falls in playgrounds, they are quick and easy to install, and they are available in different sizes and thicknesses, so they are very adaptable to any space according to the playground’s own needs, allowing the design of fun, safe, accessible and durable surfaces.
EWF, or Engineered Wood Fiber, is an accessible option for playgrounds. It is a good choice for any playground due to its good shock absorption qualities. It generates a firm surface with anti-slip properties that, installed correctly, offers excellent accessibility. This type of protective surface absorbs water well and, if properly installed, offers sufficient stability and ease of mobility for wheelchairs. It should be noted that this type of surface is made of loose material, so over time, it compresses, which decreases its shock absorption capacity, making it necessary to perform maintenance more frequently than rubber surfaces, for example.
Options for everyone
There are many options for protective surfaces, but it is always important to consider several factors; above all, safety is paramount, and the surface must meet standards of protection and accessibility. Considering the initial and long-term costs, including maintenance and replacement, is also essential. In addition, appearance and ease of use for all children, including those with disabilities, must be considered. By evaluating all of these variables, an informed decision can be made regarding which protective surfacing option is best for your playground.
What do you think about this topic? Do you know another type of protective surface?