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Playground Flooring Buyers Guide

Playground Flooring Buyers Guide, Options and Ideas

Interlocking playground flooring tiles and indoor safe foam puzzle mats with fall height ratings

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Playground Flooring Video

Interlocking Rubber Playground Tiles as Park Playground Mats
According to the CDC website, each year in the United States, emergency departments treat more than 200,000 children ages 14 and younger for playground-related injuries. As municipalities learn more about the importance of fall-height protection, they are mandating safety surfacing for playground areas in schools and parks.

At Greatmats, we carry a variety of playground mats and tiles, most made of rubber, designed to provide a consistent and reliable fall-height protection for children.

The right playground flooring has to fulfill quite a few roles after it’s installed. It needs to deliver a soft landing for falls, to maintain the integrity of the surface without wearing down prematurely, and to look great.

Multiple types of playground flooring are available. Finding just the right design to match your needs can be a challenge. Here’s an introduction to this type of flooring, helping you find the proper options at the best cost.

Design choices. Start the process of shopping for playground flooring by determining which type of design you’d like to use. Tiles and mats are the most popular options for those seeking an easy-to-perform installation with a durable configuration.

Individual tiles are not heavy, and they can be cut to fit around existing equipment. Foam or rubber are the most common choices in the tile format. The tiles lock together tightly, remaining in place without the need for adhesive and causing the seams to almost disappear. Some plastic playground tiles are available with for low height playground usage.

Rubber mats are perfect for high traffic areas, as they have the ability to withstand plenty of abuse. They’re also inexpensive.

Rolls of material are popular too, as they can be laid out relatively quickly and easily. Rolls will have a small number of seams, so the installation looks clean and neat, while also reducing tripping hazards. However, rolls are heavy, so special equipment may be required. Cutting the roll to fit around already existing playground items can be a challenge as well. Rolls are available primarily in padded turf.

A poured-in-place rubber surface is an option, but you will need some know-how and special equipment to make it work. It’s not quite as durable as tiles, especially if you end up with thin spots during the pouring process.

Another option is rubber crumb fill. Crumbs provide cushioning, but they will work their way out of place as children run and play, causing bare spots that need to be refilled regularly. Tiles or rolls require far less maintenance than crumb fill.

If you’re struggling with coming up with a design choice, it may help to select the material you want to use first and then pick a design that uses the desired material. Rubber, foam, and turf are the most common choices for customers.

Rubber. Whether you’re using a few mats or a full interlocking tile installation, this material is highly popular in areas where children will play.

Durability is key differentiator for rubber. It will stand up to all kinds of weather without wearing down. It does not absorb water, so it works nicely for outdoor use, where it will resist the formation of mold and mildew. But it also has a look that’s perfect for an indoor playground design, as it’s available in several color choices. It even carries some of the best fall height ratings, allowing it to work nicely under climbing playground equipment.

Should you just want a large mat to place in an area of the playground where the grass is wearing away, such as under a swing set, these products are easy to lay out and have a cheap price.

Versus mulch, rubber tiles will maintain their integrity over time. You never have to worry about the rubber material being kicked out of place as you do with mulch. Additionally, mulch sometimes will have sharp chunks of wood in it, creating a safety hazard.

Foam. When you’re seeking shock absorption for indoor playground flooring, foam works nicely. Some products carry up to a 4 foot fall height rating, while others are made to protect children from the normal course of bumps and bruises during play time, providing safety. Foam is always soft and forgiving if a child falls down.

Foam works especially well for a playground indoors. However, some foam tiling products are made to be used outdoors, providing waterproof qualities and resistance to UV damage. These types of tiles are generally recommended for play areas around swimming pools - such as splash pads.

Installation is a simple process with interlocking foam pieces. Versus a type of flooring that you’ll pour over the playground surface, foam is also inexpensive, giving you a great value.

Artificial turf. When you want a type of playground flooring that resembles natural grass, artificial turf is an excellent selection. Turf will work for either an installation indoors or outdoors, although most customers choose to use it outside.

It provides a beautiful green look all year around without requiring maintenance, like mowing, weeding, reseeding, and fertilizing. When you pick a style of artificial grass that has padding underneath, this product will even be softer than natural grass. Some pads have a fall height rating, meaning you can use the turf underneath tall playground equipment.

In areas that receive a lot of rain, artificial turf products are made to allow water to flow through the surface and drain away. This prevents water from pooling on the turf.

Installing playground flooring. Another consideration for this type of surface is the time and expertise required when installing. If you’ll be using volunteers, having a simply designed product is desirable, as you may not have special equipment or experts available.

For more ideas, click of the links in this playground flooring guide. It provides multiple testimonials, blogs, videos, and install tips and tricks to create the perfect space for play time.