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Exploring playground surfaces can be daunting with the wide range of options available.

From wetpour rubber to bonded mulch, wood chips, sand, and various recycled materials, there is something for almost any budget and design requirements.

This page explores these different surfaces and discusses their pros and cons.

We’ll also provide tips and advice so you can decide when to choose the best surfacing material for your playground.

Let’s get started!

Wet Pour Rubber

Wet pour rubber safety flooring is an economical two-layer surface that provides a safe play area for kids.

It comprises a shock pad from recycled rubber granules and a wearing course layer of ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) rubber.

This combination makes it ideal for playgrounds, play areas and other outdoor spaces.

It is durable and slip resistant, and its customisable colours and patterns make it suitable for year-round use – no matter the weather!

It is non-slip nature makes it easily accessible to wheelchair users too.

Installation is quick and easy with minimal maintenance required afterwards; lay the two layers – known as ‘poured in place’ – starting with the shockpad followed by the wearing course which gives off colour and texture to your space.

The result? A natural look that can be tailored to match any surrounding area!

In conclusion, wet pour rubber safety flooring offers an affordable, versatile, and long-lasting solution – perfect for protecting children from falls while providing endless fun!

Advantages of Wet Pour Rubber

Wet pour rubber surfacing is perfect for playgrounds, play areas and other outdoor spaces.

Its durable surface can handle heavy usage and foot traffic, and its slip resistance helps keep kids safe while playing.

Not only does it cushion trips and falls from height, but it also offers a safer play environment than other options.

Cost-wise, this solution is unbeatable – minimal maintenance is required and easy to install quickly!

You can get creative with colours and patterns to create an eye-catching area. And when you’re done? You’ll have a natural look that blends seamlessly with the surroundings.

Disadvantages of Wet Pour Rubber

Despite the many advantages, what potential drawbacks should be considered with wet pour rubber surfacing?

UV light can cause fading or discolouration over time, and the surface does not provide much cushioning, leading to trips and falls.

If not properly maintained, lead or other toxins in the rubber granules could pose a health risk.

Plus, it can become slippery when wet – so regular cleaning is key!

Artificial Turf

Artificial turf is a finished surface that looks and feels just like natural grass.

It’s cost-effective, requires minimal maintenance – perfect for playgrounds with heavy usage – and can be used in all weather conditions. But what should you consider when choosing artificial turf for your playground?

Well, the type of play equipment used is important to determine the level of shock absorption needed.

Artificial turf works great for sports such as five-a-side football or tennis, climbing frames and swings too!

You’ll need to pick artificial grass for sports pitches that ensures the ball bounces consistently.

And if you’re looking for something extra special, there are options like needlepunch grass carpets.

Advantages of Artificial Turf

When considering playground surfacing options, artificial turf has many advantages. Firstly, it is low maintenance, requiring occasional sweeping or brushing to remove dirt and debris.

Secondly, it provides a consistent playing surface, with minimal irregularities and no need to worry about natural grass being patchy or overgrown. Thirdly, artificial turf is extremely durable, making it suitable for heavy usage and large playgrounds.

Finally, it is available in various colours, allowing for a range of aesthetic choices that can be tailored to the playground.

When choosing artificial turf for a playground, there are a range of types available.

Synthetic grass is the most common type and is suitable for sports such as five-a-side football and tennis.

Sand-filled turf is less expensive than other types, but provides less cushioning, so a base course is often required.

Disadvantages of Artificial Turf

Although artificial turf has many advantages, is it worth the potential drawbacks?

Firstly, artificial turf costs more than other playground surfaces.

Secondly, it doesn’t provide the same cushioning as natural grass and other surfaces – shock pads may be needed. And some people find that artificial turf causes skin irritation.

Dynamic items such as swings and slides are not suitable for artificial turf without a shockpad due to lack of shock absorption. Foundations must be laid for installation – a more involved process than other surfaces.

Finally, although low maintenance, sweeping and brushing is still required to remove dirt and debris – how much effort will you need to put in?

Mulch, Bark and Wood Chips

Mulches, bark and wood chips are a popular option for playground surfacing due to their natural look, cost effectiveness, and ease of installation.

They provide a safe surface for play and are typically used in combination with other surfacing types to provide cushioning and an aesthetically pleasing appearance.

Mulches, bark and wood chips come in a variety of forms, including rubber mulch, engineered wood fiber, pea gravel, and natural grass. Rubber mulch is made from recycled tires and is often used for pathways and nature trails.

Engineered wood fiber is made from recycled pallet wood and has a similar look and feel to natural bark.

Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages, from the amount of maintenance required to the potential for splinters and other hazards. While mulches, bark and wood chips are typically used for playgrounds, they can also be used for landscaping, erosion control areas, and for creating pathways.

Advantages of Mulches, Bark and Wood Chips

Mulches, bark and wood chips are a great way to give playgrounds a natural, inviting look with minimal effort.

Bark mulch is an especially cost-effective solution – it’s easy to install and can last up to 15 years with little maintenance. Plus, it provides a soft cushioning for play equipment that keeps kids safe while they have fun.

Engineered wood fiber is another great option; it provides an ideal surface for play areas, and its installation process is simple and inexpensive. Pea gravel is yet another affordable choice – just spread the layer of pea gravel (up to 12 inches thick) and you’re good to go!

Natural grass may be attractive, but keep in mind that it requires ongoing maintenance and can become uneven over time.

Disadvantages of Mulches, Bark and Wood Chips

Mulches, bark and wood chips can be a great playground surfacing option, but they do come with some risks.

Splinters and other sharp objects may be present in the loose mulch, bark or wood chips – posing a hazard for young children.

Wind and rain can also displace them, creating an uneven surface that could lead to tripping hazards. And eco mulch – made from recycled solid rubber shreds and PU binder – is not suitable for dynamic items like swings or climbing frames.

So while these materials offer a natural look at an affordable price, it’s important to consider all factors before selecting the best surface for your playground. Regular maintenance checks are essential to ensure safety and prevent any potential issues arising down the line!

Bonded Rubber Mulch

Rubber mulch is like a cushion for playgrounds, providing a comfortable playing surface and superior shock absorption.

This type of surfacing is created by bonding together small pieces of recycled rubber and installed with a poured-in-place system.

It’s the perfect choice for play areas as it offers great protection, and durability in all weather conditions, comes in various colours to suit any aesthetic preference and meets critical fall height regulations – plus it’s wheelchair and buggy accessible!

But how long does this magical material last?

Well, typically around 10 years – but only if you use quality materials and install the surface correctly.

Otherwise heavy use can cause the wet pour rubber mulch to break up prematurely. So why not make sure your playground stays safe for longer by investing in good materials?

Advantages of Rubber Mulch

Rubber mulch is a playground’s dream come true, boasting many advantages that make it the perfect surface for play.

It’s cost-effective and requires minimal groundworks and maintenance – making it an easy choice.

Not to mention, its slip-resistant and absorbs impact like a sponge – providing a safe environment for children to explore.

Installation is simple too; the poured-in-place system ensures durability and longevity of the surface.

Rubber mulch comes in various colours so you can easily create pathways or transfer sites! And don’t forget about accessibility; this surface is wheelchair and buggy friendly – allowing everyone to join in on the fun!

The natural look of rubber mulch adds an aesthetically pleasing touch to any playground setting.

This type of surfacing provides great protection from falls while also being visually appealing – making it an excellent choice for playgrounds everywhere!

Disadvantages of Wet Pour Rubber Mulch

Although rubber mulch has many benefits, it also comes with some potential drawbacks.

Cost is one of the main issues – this type of surfacing can be pricey to install. Over time, rubber mulch may fade and require re-coating.


Sand is an ideal option for surfacing playgrounds, making it a great choice for home playgrounds.

Play-grade sand is fine and pleasant, plus much cleaner than play sand.

However, unlike other loose-fill surfaces, sand cannot be compacted – so it’s important to spread it evenly and not too deep.

Why choose sand over play sand? Firstly, its much tidier and less likely to attract cats or dogs. Plus, installing it is far easier than rubber mulch!

Finally, this cost-effective surface provides cushioning and shock absorption – perfect for any play area!

Advantages of Sand

The consistency of sand can make or break its suitability as a playground surface.

When wet, it becomes firmer and more stable – perfect for cushioning and shock absorption.

But when dry, it can become loose and prone to compaction. Sand is an ideal choice for those on a budget, offering great value for money while being easy to install.

Disadvantages of Sand

Sand can become compacted if not spread evenly, leading to an uneven surface.

Windy conditions can also blow away the sand, leaving a bare patch.

The wet and dry consistency of sand can create puddles and mud – a safety hazard for those playing on the playground.

Resin Bound Stone

Resin bound stone is a special mix of gravel and resin, hand-troweled onto a permeable asphalt base, providing an attractive and safe environment for play.

It’s durable and long-lasting, suitable for crawling, wheelchair access and vehicular traffic.

Plus, its porous nature reduces water buildup – making it ideal! So why not choose resin set stone for your playground?

Advantages of Resin Bound Stone

Resin Bound stone is an excellent choice for playgrounds, offering a plethora of benefits.

It’s durable and long-lasting, making it perfect for heavy foot traffic. Plus, it requires minimal upkeep to keep looking its best.

Not only that, but it’s also slip-resistant – ensuring safety in playgrounds. Moreover, resin set stone helps create a visually appealing and inviting atmosphere in the playground.

Disadvantages of Resin Set Stone

As with any surfacing material, have you ever wondered what the potential drawbacks of using resin bound stone for playgrounds are?

It’s relatively expensive compared to other options and can fade over time.

Plus, slipping and tripping can occur on resin set stone – so regular maintenance is key to keep it safe and attractive.

Concrete, Asphalt and Pavers

Concrete, asphalt and pavers – three playground surfacing options offering various advantages.

From being hard-wearing and low maintenance to coming in various colours and designs, they are used worldwide for play areas.

Asphalt is economical, providing a smooth, durable surface when combined with safety surfacing.

Concrete is also popular due to its durability but can crack over time, so regular upkeep is necessary.

Pavers come in many colours and designs, making them attractive and cost-effective; however, they can become slippery when wet, so they may not be suitable for high levels of play.

No matter what option you choose, it’s essential to include appropriate safety surfacing as this will help reduce the risk of injury from falls.

Advantages of Concrete, Asphalt and Pavers

Concrete, asphalt and pavers possess powerful perks when used as playground surfacing.

They are incredibly indestructible and can handle heavy use, making them perfect for high-traffic play areas. Plus, they require minimal maintenance – a cost-effective choice for any playground!

But how can these materials be matched to any play space?

With their vibrant colors and creative designs, concrete, asphalt and pavers offer endless possibilities! So no matter the size or shape of your play area, you’ll find the perfect fit with these versatile materials.

Disadvantages of Concrete, Asphalt and Pavers

While concrete, asphalt and pavers offer a number of advantages, do they really make the cut for playgrounds?

They can crack over time, so regular maintenance is essential to keep them in good condition. Plus, when wet they become slippery – not ideal for high-energy play!

Loose Stone

Natural stone is a popular playground choice, providing an aesthetically pleasing and durable surface.

It’s slip-resistant, low maintenance and can be arranged in interesting patterns to create visual impact.

Using natural stone has its perks – it’s strong enough to withstand wear and tear from kids playing on it, plus you don’t have to worry about regular upkeep or replacing the material anytime soon.

Its unique texture also makes it less likely for children to slip while running around.

However, some things need consideration when arranging natural stones: their shapes and sizes should be taken into account so they won’t present a tripping hazard; the amount of space available should also be considered, as larger stones may require more room than smaller ones.

Additionally, sealing them is essential to prevent staining and erosion caused by water or weathering.

In conclusion, natural stone is an excellent option for playground surfacing due to its durability, safety features and attractive appearance when properly placed with care.

With proper installation techniques, such as taking into account size variations of the stones plus sealing them against staining or erosion – your playground will look great while keeping everyone safe!


Regarding playground surfacing, a wide range of options are available to suit different needs and budgets.

The most common choices are wet pour rubber, artificial turf, mulches and wood chips, wet pour rubber mulch, sand, timber, resin set stone, concrete, asphalt and pavers, natural lawns, and natural stone.

Each of these types of surface has unique advantages, as well as potential drawbacks.

Wet pour rubber is durable, slip-resistant and cost-effective, but may require regular maintenance and can fade or discolour over time.

Artificial turf provides a low-maintenance, aesthetically pleasing option, but could irritate skin, wear out easily and should not be used with dynamic play items. Mulches and wood chips offer a cushioning and natural look, while they must be maintained regularly to remain splash-proof.

Rubber mulch is also cushioning and safe, yet could be slippery when wet and expensive to install.

Sand is inexpensive and easy to install, however this surface can become compacted and form puddles when dry or wet.

Concrete, asphalt and pavers can provide a visually appealing, cost-effective surface, yet require regular maintenance to reduce cracking and the potential for slipping.

Natural lawns can offer a pleasant aesthetic appearance, but can be prone to weed growth and damage from heavy use. Finally, natural stone can provide a slip and aesthetically resistant surface, though appropriately positioning and sealing the stones is essential.

Ultimately, selecting the appropriate surfacing for a playground requires careful consideration in terms of budget and the purpose of the surface.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an appropriate playground surfacing material?

For a safe and secure playground surface which requires minimal maintenance, wet pour rubber is an ideal solution.

Its hard wearing and slip resistant properties provide an excellent cushioning effect, ensuring a safer environment for those at play.

This makes it ideal for playgrounds, parks, and other recreational areas. It is also easy to install and maintain, making it a cost-effective solution for any outdoor space

What is the best material for outdoor playground?

The best materials for outdoor playgrounds are wetpour and rubber mulch, which provide protection from falls and slips. These materials are soft, absorb shock, and easily installed according to safety regulations.

Ground-cover materials are essential in providing a safe environment for children to play in.

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