Tips for Purchasing Playground Flooring

By Kyle Schurman Created: August, 2018 - Modified: April, 2024

Nothing quite lights up the kids’ eyes like when you announce it’s time to run around on the playground flooring and climb on the equipment. Whether it’s the chance to try out a favorite swing, spend time with friends and family, or burn off some energy, time at the playground is a blast for the kids.

As a parent, though, you also want to pay attention to the safety and quality of the play space. Equipment needs to be up to date and in good condition. The space needs to have areas with shade when it’s time for a break. But don’t forget about the quality of the playground flooring. If the floor tiles are uneven or in poor shape, not only does the space have a trip hazard, but you may wonder about the maintenance of the equipment.

If you are in charge of building a playground for a park, school, church, commercial space, or at home, selecting the equipment may receive a lot of attention. However, choices for floors deserve just as much attention. We’ll help you learn how to buy playground flooring that meshes with your ideas for the space.

Top Considerations for Buying Playground Flooring

best options for buying playground flooring

1. Location

One of the first considerations for creating a floor for the play space is determining the location – indoors or outdoors.

Indoor playgrounds are perfect for rainy and winter days when the kids are going stir-crazy. But without the best indoor playground floors installed, playtime can be even crazier … and more dangerous. Because the indoor area doesn’t have weather exposure, you have more options for picking surfaces indoors, such as foam or PVC plastic.

In an outdoor play space, durable rubber flooring with a fall height rating makes the space safe while providing good value. Rubber often is the best outdoor play area flooring, as it provides traction when wet and won’t degrade in UV rays from the sun.

2. Material

Matching the best material for playground surfaces to your particular needs for the space is a must. You have a few different options.

  • Foam: Foam has cushioning that works in an indoor space and provides a good value, but it’s not quite as durable as others.
  • PVC plastic: In an area that receives a lot of rain, perforated PVC plastic works to prevent puddles from forming. It also works nicely in an indoor play space.
  • Artificial turf: Choosing turf for a playground works nicely when you want the look of real grass without the maintenance hassles.
  • Rubber: When comparing rubber mats vs. mulch, the mats and tiles provide a far safer space that won’t wash away during the first serious rainstorm. Plus, kids could pick up and throw the mulch, creating a messy problem that leaves you needing to replace it regularly. Rubber tiles and mats will stay put, even around the most rambunctious kids.

3. Safety

fall protected playground flooring
Having fall height protection at a playground is a vital safety aspect. Kids may not worry much about falling off playground equipment, but you as a parent almost certainly do worry. You can protect them with fall height flooring with protection against falls from 20 inches to 10 feet, depending on the height of the equipment you have in place.

The thickness of playground floors plays a key role in fall height safety ratings. Thicker tiles cost more, but for maximum safety, tiles up to 5 inches in thickness are available.

Another key consideration is whether your playground needs to be wheelchair compliant or ADA-compliant. Materials for these play spaces need ramps and other items aimed at keeping every child safe and engaged.

If you are building the playground in a space that’s constantly exposed to the sun, you must consider the temperature of the playground surface. Light-colored playground flooring helps quite a bit in this area, preventing dangerous skin burns.

4. Budget

If you have a tight budget, estimating the cost to install playground flooring is an important starting place. We can help you make accurate cost estimates, so you know what you can afford and how to generate a budget that works.

The cost for a simple space in your home’s backyard can be quite different than a large space at a school or daycare. We can help you find affordable playground floors for use at home, and tiles that work in larger spaces. All of our options will keep the kids entertained and having a great time, no matter what kind of budget you have.

One cost to consider is the installation of the playground flooring. Some tiles work for a DIY installation requiring minimal ground preparation, while others must have a professional installation, such as with many rubber tiles. Our customer service team can help you understand the installation requirements.

If your budget allows for colorful designs, the kids’ eyes light up even more. Colorful designs for playgrounds are possible with certain rubber and PVC plastic tiles, and we can help you find the right options that won’t break the bank.

Greatmats is Ready to Help You Learn How to Buy Playground Flooring

It can be a bit overwhelming to choose the floor tiles for your playground on your own. Rely on the Greatmats customer service team to give you plenty of options. Whether you have a tight budget, want a DIY install, or need to meet certain safety requirements, our team can help. Reach out to our playground flooring experts today; we’ll make sure your space lives up to the safety you want to see, and the fun space your kids demand – loudly!