Rubber Mulch: The Truth of Playground Safety
The modern era of playgrounds and play areas is here. Spaces made to optimize the safety of playgrounds have always been the priority for educators and education management professionals. New technology helps in this endeavor, one of the most significant improvements being safer flooring options like playground rubber mulch.
You can’t go wrong choosing rubber mulch playground flooring because it offers a wide array of beneficial advantages. Aside from being safer than traditional wood chips, it’s also cost-effective, high quality, and easy to install.
If your playground is still using traditional wood chip mulch or engineered wood fiber mulch (EWF), it’s time for a change. Keep reading to learn more about rubber mulch playground flooring!
You wouldn’t send your child to play in an unsafe or harmful place. Creating an environment where children are free to run, explore, and yes, occasionally fall down means making the essential elements of that space safe.
The Safest Material
Playground rubber mulch flooring is by far the safest material because of its shock-absorbing qualities. When a child falls on cement or wood, treating a wound or scrapes is a common next step. With rubber mulch, that softer (inevitable) fall will be cushioned, and the material is less likely to break the skin than wood or EWF. One particular issue is to watch the heat of rubber mulch, as it can heat up under direct sunlight for extended periods of time.
The Softest Material
Rubber composites mean better materials that are softer to the touch. There is less risk of contaminants like wire, fiber, plastic, and wood. When children are running (or rolling) around at recess or on the weekend, you don’t want to concern yourselves with what harmful products they might be exposed to. It could just be an accident, but protecting those young ones is always the priority, and eliminating as much risk as possible is the name of the game.
On the downside, that softness can sometimes be difficult for a wheelchair, scooter, or walker to navigate, and as such, any mobility considerations should be taken into account. If your playground needs to be optimized for accessibility, planning your rubber mulch use has to be a priority. For that matter, a better solution may be poured rubber playground surfacing.
Rubber mulch isn’t just the safest option, it’s the most cost-effective option as well. When balancing the cost vs. benefit of rubber mulch, you’ll quickly find it beats out every other option.
Your playground requires installation and maintenance. Being in the lower-middle range of pricing, rubber mulch costs little to install. If you have the time, you can install the surface yourself, and the savings will increase drastically. The main cost of rubber mulch is the installation, so eliminating this will save a bundle. However, rubber mulch requires 6 inches of material due to fall height requirements versus 4.5 inches for a material like a poured rubber surface. This should also factor into your calculations.
Replacing any kind of playground mulch is necessary, as you want to maintain six inches of cushion whenever possible. Luckily, rubber mulch stays in place longer than wood mulch or EWF. Every kind of mulch will need replacement and replenishing, but with rubber mulch, you will be replenishing it much less frequently, saving you time and money.
One consideration is that while you will save on maintenance, you will have less flexibility in your maintenance requirements.
Installing rubber mulch is better for you, and the kids. Whether in a daycare, school, or public park, rubber mulch feels better, performs better, and has a longer comprehensive replacement life span.
With an estimated life span of 10 years, rubber mulch will not need a complete overhaul (comprehensive replacement) very often. If you only need to change the base layer and the foundations of the surface once every decade, you will save a lot of money. Although it will last a long time, it can also get dusty, and should be cleaned regularly.
While biodegradable has become a catch-all buzzword, it isn’t always the best choice. Your wood or EWF mulch will disappear faster because it is constantly being returned to the ground. It is decomposing constantly, leading to a more frequent replacement schedule, meaning higher costs every single time.
Fast, Easy Installation
Choosing rubber mulch for your playground gives you an advantage in upfront costs as well. When it comes time to install loose-fill material, transportation and installation are both made easier.
The DIY Option
The cost of hiring professionals keeps rising, and so does the cost of installing rubber mulch. If you choose to install it yourself, you will save on the upfront costs of the mulch while being able to do it yourself on the timeline that works for you.
Has your order arrived? Drop it into the space you want, make sure it is thick enough, and your playground is ready. If it isn’t thick enough, it will create safety issues. It needs to be at least 6 inches thick. If you’re not sure how to do it, it’s better to bring in professional help.
If you buy rubber mulch playground flooring from a hardware or lawn/garden store, you can transport the loose-fill material easily. Rent a truck or borrow a pickup truck, and you’ll be able to move it to your playground quickly. If you buy it online, the shipping cost will be minimal, saving you even more money!
The Story So Far
Your rubber mulch is going to perform better, cost you less, cause less stress, and make your playground safer and more fun. The old methods of wood mulch or EWF have worked for a long time and continue to be used, but just because something has been done one way for a long time doesn’t make it the right choice.
Rubber mulch is still the new kid on the block, which means that it isn’t as widely used as the other playground mulch options. Rubber mulch is like an e-book that does the same job as a traditional physical book, but better and at a lower cost.
Switching now means staying ahead of the standard. While it may not be common right now, rubber mulch is the future safety standard and preferred choice for playgrounds. Educators and designers will need to make the choice eventually, and it is better to do it sooner than later.
Your children and students are the ultimate responsibility. Their parents and caregivers trust that when they go to play on a playground, they will have fun without getting injured. Rubber mulch playground flooring is like an insurance policy against normal and extraneous problems that come with the territory of managing a playground.
If you want to worry less about that responsibility and get better results with safer children and happier parents, rubber mulch is the way to go.
Here’s the Deal
You get to upgrade and improve your playground, making it safer and longer lasting. You get to save money and simplify the process. Your rubber mulch surface will last longer and require less upkeep, and you can rest assured that your duty to protecting and caring for the children using that playground is fulfilled. Make the switch today and build the playground of tomorrow.
The Next Steps
At this point, you already have an idea about the benefits rubber surfaces can bring to your playground. Even though its upfront cost is high, it is still a very practical and viable option for your organization. It can pay for itself through the prevention of costly accidents and expensive repairs — you can even use it as a selling point.