Do we consider clean factors when selecting playground and play space surfaces?


2/13/20231 min read

There has been a lot of talk recently about Green & Clean. We want to open that discussion in the parks and recreation industry. Keeping society and the environment safe. Softline focuses on these principles everyday through offering environmentally sustainable (and continued sustainability – we will talk about that a bit later) and the safest playground surfaces available to the market.When industry professionals focus on the playground safety, they focus on the type of equipment and the surfacing options available that will meet their vision. Playground surfaces are either loose-fill or unitary. These are:

  • Engineered Wood Fiber

  • Sand

  • Pea Gravel/Stone

  • Rubber Mulch

  • Unitary Poured In Place Rubber Surfacing

  • Playground Tiles

What is often missed is how safe the loose-fill surfaces really are. Loose-fill surfaces can meet all the regulatory standards at the time of installation however, through a good few days use, the surface may not meet the standards it was tested for. This is due to surface migration causing impact attenuation differences in surfaces that are not regularly maintained. Furthermore, there are more than just the regulatory standards to be worried about.When we compare the advantages and disadvantages of unitary and loose-fill surfacing, we constantly run into the lack of “CLEAN” concern. To name a few things that concern us greatly are; hidden objects (needles), feces, mold and insects (fire-ants, spiders nests). Unfortunately, we have also found these apply to Playground Tiles (which is categorized unitary). Poured in place rubber surfacing is the only CLEAN surface option for playgrounds.