Engineered wood fiber (EWF) is one of the most popular options for playground safety surfacing — and for good reason! Engineered wood fiber is an organic material that is cost-effective, easy to install, and compliant with ADA standards. If you're looking to create a safe and sustainable playground surface with engineered wood fiber, we have an efficient solution to determining the right amount of surfacing for your project.
Our wood mulch calculator simplifies the process by providing you with the perfect formula for planning your playground surface.
How Much Engineered Wood Fiber Do I Need?
Engineered wood fiber is sold by the cubic yard. Most professionals suggest a minimum depth of 9 to 12 inches because wood fiber tends to settle about 3 inches with normal wear and weather conditions. To learn how much wood fiber you need for your project, apply the wood mulch formula below by using the dimensions of your playground.
Width x Length x Depth / 27 (feet in a cubic yard)
Using a calculator, multiply the dimensions of your playground in feet — using its width, length, and the required depth, then dividing the result by 27 (how many feet are in a cubic yard).
For example, if you have a playground that’s 20 feet wide, 20 feet long, with a required depth of 12 inches, the equation should look like [20x20x1] / 27. The result? You'd want to buy about 14.8 to 15 cubic yards of engineered wood fiber.
Note: If you encounter any challenges or have specific questions related to your project, don't hesitate to reach out to our team of experts. We are here to assist you throughout the process, ensuring a successful and hassle-free playground surfacing experience.
About Engineered Wood Fiber
Engineered wood fiber is made from shredded or chipped wood sourced from various types of trees, including hardwood and softwood. The wood is then processed to create soft, fibrous particles that are uniform in size and texture.
As the wood fibers settle, they begin to form a “knitted layer.” This compacted surface becomes smooth enough that wheelchairs, walkers, and strollers can be rolled over it with ease. By providing a cushioned, impact-absorbing surface, wood fiber fosters an enjoyable play environment for children of all ages and abilities.
Engineered wood fiber requires regular maintenance. As time goes by, the surface may become uneven or decompose causing a decrease in depth. In order to maintain proper safety standards, the surface should be regularly raked and measured for depth. If the depth of wood fiber becomes too low to meet the fall height standard, more wood fiber must be added.
For high traffic areas, it's recommended that you install wear mats to help reduce the need for continuous maintenance. Add wear mats underneath swings or slide exits to maintain proper fall heights.
Tip: Installing a drainage system or installing the wood fibers over a layer of gravel, separated by a layer of fabric, is a great way to ensure proper drainage and avoid freezing and puddling.
At Robertson Recreational Surfaces, we produce kid-friendly engineered wood fiber options. Click to view our list of products!