Outdoor playgrounds are an exciting place for children to play and use their imaginations. They create environments that benefit child development as well as the community in a number of different ways. While playgrounds are meant to be fun, they should also be safe. One of the best ways to ensure children are safe on the playground is by adding safety surfacing underneath playground equipment to meet fall-height requirements.
A playground fall zone is an area around swings, slides, and higher playground equipment. The CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) regulates that the fall zone's surfacing must extend beyond the equipment for a minimum of six feet.
To accommodate fall-height regulations, there are plenty of safety surfacing options available to choose from including loose-fill products, poured rubber products, and rubber tiles. The world of playground flooring can take on many different designs while also maintaining fall-height requirements. Playground surfacing has an ultimate goal of protecting children in case of a fall — it needs to be poured at a depth that is tested to be safe for children at specific falls heights.
For example, pour-in-place surfacing will need to be about 5 inches of depth to protect a fall from 12 ft. A fall onto pour-in-place surfacing from 4 ft will only need 1.5 inches of depth to protect a child. These are all things worth considering when weighing the different options for playground surfacing.
This is especially relevant to falls from slides and swings. The surfacing in front of a slide's exit should extend a minimum of six feet and a maximum of fourteen feet. Swings have a fall zone rule of thumb of two times the length of the pivot point. If the pivot point of the swing is 6 ft, the fall zone around the swing should be 12 feet to the front and the back or 24 feet in diameter from the swing.
A popular choice for playground surfacing is rubber playground tiles. There are a lot of benefits to choosing rubber playground tiles as safety surfacing, and in this article, we’ll walk you through some of the highlights.
Easy to Install
Rubber tiles are known for being relatively easy to install, especially when they use a secure interlocking system. Some interlocking rubber tiles will use a built-in alignment foot that makes installation a breeze. This built-in alignment foot contains a locking mechanism on the tile, which provides stability along the entire perimeter and prevents movement of tiled surfaces. Rubber tiles are very durable and easy to replace should one become damaged. Finishing options include ramps, bevels, and corners. Our rubber floor tiles are easy to clean and perfect for high traffic areas.
This locking mechanism helps to prevent failures between tiles where gaps have traditionally allowed debris to settle, causing the tiles to curl.
Rubber playground tiles can be found in many different thicknesses based on various fall-heights to ensure the safety of children. The bottom of rubber tiles provides structural surety related to gradual loss of intensity for fall height situations. This unique design provides a strong and stable footprint while also providing excellent shock absorption and load dispersion.
Rubber playground tiles are a cost-effective safety surfacing solution for many reasons. Unlike loose-fill safety surfacing products like engineered wood fiber or rubber mulch, rubber tiles do not require as much maintenance time. Because they are easy to clean and very durable, rubber tiles do not have to be replaced or refilled as often as some playground surfaces.
Depending on the rubber tile you choose to go with, they can range in cost. Rubber tiles that are highly durable and compliant may be priced similar to poured surfaces.
The one thing you often hear about rubber tiles is that they are low maintenance. What does this mean? Well, when you compare other surfaces to rubber tiles, you’ll see that many of them require some type of regular maintenance. For example, loose-fill surfaces need preventative maintenance like top-off services to ensure the surfacing is maintained at an appropriate depth. Rubber tiles, on the other hand, do not need regular top-offs. Wood chips and rubber mulch can be displaced in high traffic areas, while rubber tiles tend to maintain their integrity over time.
Higher Expected Longevity
With proper care and rubber tiles that are used as outdoor playground flooring or indoor flooring can last a long time. Because this type of playground surfacing is known for being very durable and easily maintainable, it can last anywhere from 8 to 10 years.
Rubber Tiles that are interlocking are ideal playground flooring for outdoor or indoor use. This type of playground surfacing is easy to install and requires very limited adhesive application. Rubber tiles often exceed requirements for impact attenuation and are offered in a variety of different thicknesses for your playground’s fall height requirements.
Of course, over time, any safety surfacing product that lives outside for long enough will begin to show the effects of it — especially in areas that have harsher weather environments. While rubber tiles are known for being reliable, sturdy pieces of playground surfacing, they still need proper maintenance and care to achieve their highest expected lifetime. Overall use and weather can take a toll on rubber tiles as time goes on, and it’s important to inspect the tiles and hardware to make sure nothing needs to be replaced. Cleaning the surface as well as the hardware can help rubber tiles last for longer.
When building a playground, you may want to design an environment that looks colorful and fun for children. Not all playground surfaces can offer the option of customizing the color as well as provide a particular design. With rubber playground tiles, you can often find a large variety of different colors available and use it to create a checkerboard design.Rubber Designs, we offer rubber tiles that are pigmented using organic powder color coating methods that will not delaminate over time. We seal it with a specially formulated polymer agent that binds pigments to the rubber.
Where to Find Rubber Playground Tiles
At Rubber Designs, we offer rubber playground tiles in multiple colors that are ideal for indoor or outdoor playground flooring. Our rubber tiles lock together to create a floating floor type effect to resist deforming in changing weather conditions. Request a quote today.