Playground Surfacing Cost Comparison
Published: March 9, 2017 | Credit: Softline Solutions

Comparing pour in place rubber surfacing to loose fill (sand and EWF)

Pour-in-place rubber surfacing is actually more affordable than sand or wood fiber.

We compared the cost over four years for surfacing a 2000 Sq Ft playground:

Expenditures include base prep, surfacing supply and installation, and maintenance costs.

Within 3 years, pour-in-place rubber safety surfacing actually earns you money!

How can this be?

Let’s take the average playground size of 2000 square feet. Base preparation cost is about $10,000 to prepare the area for surfacing. The cost of a black recycled pour in place surface to cover the area is around $28,000.00, sand is only $10,400.00, and wood fiber is around $13,600.00.

It may seem that pour in place rubber is more expensive, but it's not.

The maintenance costs for loose fill surfacing are hidden costs which can hurt you later on. A sand orwood fiber surface should be inspected bi-weekly to rid of any foreign objects, rake the area and top up with either sand or wood fiber. Over a period of four years*, this means 96 site visits. Let's work with the conservative number of $300 per site visit plus $1,500.00 per year to top up the surfacing material. This amounts to $34,800.00 spent on maintenance over a period of four years for a sand or wood fiber surface.

Pour-in-place surfacing saves you both time and money. These surfaces should be inspected periodically and the area swept of any debris. These inspections are quick and easy to complete as it is easy to identify any foreign objects on the surface. Maintenance costs are around $800/year which allows for 4 site visits, (which are much quicker and easier than site visits for sand or wood fiber). Over a period of 4 years, this means you spend only $3,200.00 in maintaining your surface. This cost is significantly less than the $34,800 spent maintaining a loose-fill surface.

Although pour-in-place rubber surfacing may appear to be more expensive short-term, it saves costs significantly long-term.

In addition to this, the FirstBase pour-in-place safety surface system is also:

• Fully customizable

• Easy to maintain 

• Wheelchair accessible

• Healthy for the environment - using recycled rubber tires 

• IPEMA Certified (please visit to verify certification)

Last updated on 
February 28, 2019