How to Install and Maintain Outdoor Playground Flooring.

Now that you have your playground equipment (hopefully one of our Spimbeys, of course), you must focus your attention on putting the right outdoor playground flooring to protect your children from possible injuries related to playing.

Swing sets, playhouses, and playgrounds all need to have a proper flooring surface. Unfortunately, playground-related injuries are not as rare as you may think.

Every year, thousands of children (literally, this is not one of those times when we exaggerate) visit the ER with head traumas and broken bones. This is not a pretty thing, and we want to keep your children out of that particular statistic. Playground time should always be a happy time.

Now, when it comes to playground flooring options, the market offers us several options we can go for. We have a very easy, simple guide you can read to inform you even better about the options subject. You can find it here.

For now, you just need to know that they are basically two types of protective surfaces you can use around the playground area: loose-fill materials and Poured-In-Place Surfaces.

Whatever option you go for, be mindful of the following factors:

  • It must be slip-resistant.

  • Aim for high-quality materials. Playground safety is not a joke.

  • A regulator agency must endorse the shock absorption capacity of the material. This also includes that the material is safe to keep the fall height rating.

Now that you have all the information you need, it is time to install the playground floor material you chose to keep your children safe and out of danger.

But before doing that, we must insist that even if you installed the playground on a surface like grass or sand, these are not safe enough for your children. Weather conditions like rain and humidity can and will change the shock absorption qualities of these surfaces.

If you think we are exaggerating, we invite you to watch a football match and see if the players are happy when they hit the ground after a tackle (spoiler alert, they are definitely not happy). And yeah, sure, nobody is going to tackle our children while playing on the playground, but if they trip or fall, hitting grass will be no relief.

Now, let us continue with the installation tips.

Loose-fill materials installation.

Rubber mulch, wooden chips, and wood mulch are among the most popular options for loose-fill materials. But when using these options, there are several things we need to look for:

  • Maintain a minimum depth of 9 inches [22,9 cm] of loose-fill materials such as wood mulch/chips, engineered wood fiber (EWF), or shredded/recycled rubber mulch for equipment up to 8 feet [2,4 m] high; and 9 inches [22,9 cm] of sand or pea gravel for equipment up to 5 feet high.

  • An initial fill level of 12 inches [30,5 cm]will compress to about a 9- inches [22,9 cm] depth of surfacing over time. The surfacing will also compact, displace, and settle, and should be periodically refilled to maintain at least a 9- inch [22,9 cm] depth.

  • Use a minimum of 6 inches of protective surfacing for play equipment less than 4 feet in height. If maintained properly, this should be adequate. At depths less than 6 inches [15,2 cm], the protective material is too easily displaced or compacted.

  • Use containment, such as digging out around the perimeter and/or lining the perimeter with landscape edging. Don’t forget to account for water drainage.

  • Check and maintain the depth of the loose-fill surfacing material. To maintain the right amount of loose-fill materials, mark the correct level on play equipment support posts; that way, you can easily see when to replenish or redistribute the surfacing.

  • Do not install loose-fill surfacing over hard surfaces such as concrete or asphalt. This will significantly reduce the shock-absorption quality of the material.

Poured-In-Place Surfaces installation.

Now, let us clarify something, for these surfaces you will need a playground flooring installation crew. They are not DIY projects you can plan for an afternoon Sunday. Rubber mats, playground turf, playground tiles, and playground mats are the most common options in this department.

Make sure to follow these basic guidelines:

  • Review surface specifications before purchasing this type of surfacing. Ask the installer/manufacturer for a report showing that the products have been tested to the following safety standard: ASTM F 1292 Standard Specification for Impact Attenuation of Surfacing Materials Within the Use Zone of Playground Equipment

  • This report should show the specific height for which the surface is intended to protect against serious head injury. This height should be equal to or greater than the fall height – the vertical distance between a designated play surface (elevated surface for standing, sitting, or climbing) and the protective surfacing below – of your play equipment.

  • Check the protective surfacing frequently for wear.

What to look for after the installation?

In the beginning, during, and after the playing season, be mindful of this:

  • Make sure to check for foreign objects.

  • Rake and check the depth of loose fill protective surfacing materials to prevent compaction and maintain appropriate depth. Replace as necessary.

  • Check for misplaced or out-of-place rubber tiles. A tile out of place increases the chances of slipping and falling.

  • Rubber mulch and tiles can overheat a lot during the summer days but do not spray water on the surface unless it is extremely hot. If you do spay water to cool down the playground area, make sure nobody plays on the playground until the surface is dry.

We hope you can follow these recommendations and look for the best option of protective surface you can find. We want all our children from the Spimbey family to be safe and to have fun without compromising their health.

Spimbey is safe, style and fun. We want to fill you home with happy memories everybody will treasure.
Give joy. Have a Spimbey at home.

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