When it comes to choosing a playground safety surface sometimes consumers have to balance safety and budget.
Many years ago my son was showing off for some young ladies at lunch on his middle school playground. He attempted to jump out and slide down a fire pole and missed the pole falling about 7 feet. Unfortunately he landed on his arm and broke it in two places and it affected the nerves in his arm. He had to be moved an hour north to a children’s hospital and was given morphine to help with the pain. He was a very adept violin player and thankfully the nerve damage corrected itself over time; that was a long summer.
That was a tough day for me as his school playground was woefully under code and had a thick mat of wood sticks that were so far from compliant/safe it was shameful. The tough part was that I did not want to sue the school (they paid for his medical care) but my frustration was very high.
Over the last 15 years there have been a lot of playground mulch manufacturers and marketeers come and go. One thing that sets us apart is that we are a small business where I, the owner, am here everyday and my employees are authorized to stop production for any reason if they even suspect there may be a quality issue. We do not grind tires for a living – we make mulch for a living. My staff are as concerned about the success of our customer’s projects as I am; often to a fault. We don’t chase sales, we provide real lasting solutions for everyday homeowners.
We strive to manufacturer the highest quality products possible by using the best coatings and production technologies available while providing a great value for our customers. There are always going to be producers and marketeers that want to provide you with the lowest priced rubber mulch possible.
I am not going to skimp on our products to guarantee you that we will “never be beat”. I don’t want a cut rate heart transplant, heaven forbid that day comes, and in the same way I do not think that children’s safety is a commodity.
That being said, I can assure you that our products are made with the highest commitment to your children and we will always provide you with the best pricing we can, but we will not ever put our employees in a position to shave a few pennies off our products at the risk of your project being a failure. Below I have tried to outline some basic considerations for your backyard playground.
The three most common playground surfaces are turf, wood mulch, and rubber mulch. Each have their own pros and cons.
1) Turf/Grass as a Playground Surface
Pros: Probably already exists and the only maintenance is mowing the lawn. Cheapest by far.
Cons: Kids wear turf thin under swings and slides which gets muddy. Softer than concrete but no real safety cushion. Easy solution is to use swing mats so kids can drag their feet without creating more work for Mom and Dad.
2) Wood Mulch as a Playground Surface
Pros: Inexpensive and when used at a 12″ depth provides a great cushion.
Cons: High maintenance, decays quickly, must be kept very thick to provide a cushion, colored mulch bleeds color and can ruin clothes, needs replenished annually.
Rubber Mulch as a Playground Surface
Pros: Highest safety rating per inch of depth over common materials used in playgrounds. High quality brands will not bleed color on kids and clothes. Doesn’t decay or hold moisture. Typically lasts longer than children are interested in using the playset and can be re-purposed for landscape use down the road.
Cons: Higher initial cost, requires a border system, attracts other kids from the neighborhood!
Overall we appreciate your time in reading this and invite you to take a look at our company, products, and methods via our video collection. Any questions just let us know. We are always here to help.