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What Should I Do To Make My Backyard Playset Safer?

By Lisa Hobbie Created: February, 2021 - Modified: August, 2023

Having a fun and safe backyard playset or playground is such a fabulous addition to any residential, church, school, or commercial setting. For a child, not much beats the ability to play on a swing set, monkey bars, or jungle gym - bringing imagination and adventure to life while getting exercise and enjoying the outdoors. Making this space a safe one is imperative - ensuring more time can be playing, and less time can be spent nurturing injuries. Selecting a backyard playset flooring option that will provide a cushioned landing surface and hygienic environment are among the main ways to make a backyard playset safer.

Here, we will answer the questions of how much outdoor playground surfacing costs and what should be put under a backyard playset. While answering these questions, we will also highlight the following popular outdoor playground surfaces offered at Greatmats:

  1. Black StayLock Perforated Tile- Roughly $4.50 per square foot
  2. Blue Sky Outdoor Interlocking Tile Colors- Approximately $9.87 per square foot
  3. Blue Sky Rubber Swing Mats- Approximately $10.73 per square foot
  4. Blue Sky Rubber Playground Tile Colors- Roughly $10.72 per square foot
  5. Ergo Matta Perforated Outdoor Tile - Roughly $9.29 per square foot
  6. Playground Swingset Mat- Roughly $8.50 per square foot
  7. Sterling Playground Tile Black- Approximately $7.98 per square foot

How Much Does Outdoor Playground Surfacing Cost?

Many factors determine the costs of outdoor playground surfaces. The material from which the product is made is one of the most obvious, with PVC being cheaper than rubber in most situations. Shipping costs also add to the overall cost, as do installation prep requirements, overall lifetime costs, and other factors.

Greatmats offers backyard playset flooring options to suit just about every budget, but the most popular products range in base pricing from $4.50 per square foot to about $10.99 per square foot - and many options in between. Of the 7 most popular products, let’s take a look at 3 price points - the least expensive, the middle of the road, and the most expensive.

Black StayLock Perforated TileBlack StayLock Perforated Tile is one the most affordable outdoor playground surfaces, costing roughly $4.50 per square foot. There are no additional installation costs, as this product doesn’t require professional installation, or special tools or adhesive. This durable PVC plastic flooring has an active locking connector design that allows it to float over an existing subsurface or floor. It makes for a safe swing set or slide base flooring solution with its 20-inch fall height rating, as well.

The product is small and lightweight, so has the ability to be shipped to your door via UPS Ground, FedEx Ground, and/or Freight depending on the size of your order.

The Sterling Playground Tile BlackSterling Playground Tile Black is a middle-of-the-road priced product, priced at around $7.98 per square foot. This option comes with a limited lifetime warranty - offering a bit more security in the investment and a lower lifetime cost than the StayLock product. It’s worth the extra money if this will be backyard playset flooring underneath a climbing apparatus, as it boasts a 4 feet fall height rating - increasing its safety value.

This is an interlocking tile product, so great for a DIY project, therefore eliminating the expense of hiring a professional installer if you’re an adventurous do-it-yourselfer. Because the tiles are pieced together with interlocking edges, unlike poured-in-place rubber surfacing, you wouldn’t have to replace the entire surface if some of the higher-wear areas begin to wear down, as you could simply replace that tile. No patching or excessive labor is required, saving extra money in maintenance, repair, and replacement costs. Due to its weight, shipping will be freight with this product, which may cost more than ground for small orders.

Blue Sky Rubber Swing MatsBlue Sky Rubber Swing Mats are at the top of the price range, costing approximately $10.73 per square foot of coverage. Even though these outdoor playground surfaces cost more per square foot, they are designed to cover a smaller space - like under a swing set as their name implies versus an entire playground or series of climbing stations. Each mat provides 15 square feet of coverage, and because it is made from rough and tough rubber, you’ll enjoy great value over time.

These are perfect for under swings and slide landings, and they offer cushioned anti-fatigue benefits. They also absorb the brunt of the contact when children drag their feet while using swings, preventing a large rut to form in the ground if it absorbed the contact. This reduces the potential tripping hazard from forming.

There are no professional installation costs that will be incurred with this product, either, and like the Sterling Playground tile, this will also come via freight.

Part 2: What Do You Put Under A Backyard Playset?

Having a safe backyard playset flooring solution is such an integral part of creating a fun space in which kids can play and create years of memories. There are many different options available that will far outperform wood chips, gravel, and other unforgiving surfaces, with products to suit playsets sized big and small.

Grass can become damaged, messy, and dangerous, and concrete is hard and unforgiving. Wood can splinter and warp, and gravel can be sharp and pointy. Any loose fill can hide hazards. If you have ideas about having a soft, thick surface on which kids can play outdoors, one of the following four products will look and perform well.

Blue Sky Outdoor Interlocking Tile ColorsBlue Sky Outdoor Interlocking Tile Colors is an interlocking rubber product that is 2.25 inches thick and features a 4-foot fall height rating. It is available for around $9.87 per square foot and carries with it a 5-year-limited warranty.

It is a colorful option that is easy to maintain, unlike wood chips, sand, or gravel which needs to be continually raked. Also unlike those surfaces, this playground tile provides long-term safety with ADA accessibility when used with optional border edging. That makes it easy for children in wheelchairs to be able to access the playground and enjoy their time on it.

Blue Sky Rubber Playground Tile ColorsBlue Sky Rubber Playground Tile Colors is a product that provides a safe backyard playset flooring solution. Available at approximately $10.72 per square foot, this one carries with it a 5-year warranty. Also featuring a 6-foot fall height rating, this is another product that eliminates the need for loose materials which can often hide potential hazards like needles, broken glass, or even drugs. This impact-absorbing resilient safety surfacing can be used in the entire play area, or, in a fall area or zone around installs of equipment.

Ergo Matta Perforated Outdoor TileErgo Matta Perforated Outdoor Tile is often used when needing outdoor playground surfaces, as it boasts many great features. It is priced at around $9.29 per square foot and carries with it a 5-year limited warranty. It’s brightly colored and made of PVC plastic that is non-absorbent and suitable for any climate.

This product has a 20-inch fall height rating, so it’s perfect in a preschool playground or similar setting where the potential of falling from a high apparatus isn’t present. Another safety feature is that these are non-slip - even when damp, and their design allows for easy drainage - eliminating standing water and keeping the tiles looking vibrant and dry.

Playground Swingset MatFinally, the Playground Swingset Mat is another fabulous option to consider when looking for the best outdoor playground surfaces, and it’s available for approximately $8.50 per square foot. This backyard playset flooring product is the perfect size for swing sets and slide landings, at 32x54 inches and 2 inches thick. Both of these areas are often covered with loose-fill mulch that can easily be kicked out by playing children. In comparison, rubber playground mats stay put, greatly increasing the safety of the playground.

This product delivers a balance of cushion and safety under swings, and it’s designed to inhibit the growth of mold and fungi. It also works to keep harmful insects away.

Greatmats - For Backyard Playset Flooring Solutions.

Although the items featured are among the most popular and widely used, Greatmats offers so many more from which you may choose. For outdoor playground surfaces that look inviting but provide safety and durability, Greatmats has an option for you. For fewer injuries, less liability, and more fun, choose a backyard playset flooring solution designed specifically with playground safety in mind.

The friendly and knowledgeable staff will walk you through the process of selecting the option that best suits your needs, desires, and budget. They will even help you with designing your space, and they will send out free samples of certain products. If you have a specific color, material, or design in mind, chances are, Greatmats has it. When you’re ready to begin shopping for outdoor playground surfaces, let Greatmats go to work for you.