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Playground Flooring

Do not put your climbing frame on concrete or tarmac. Most customers put climbing frames on grass and this is fine. If you read no more that is fine if you now want to shoot off and explore our range of climbing frames go ahead, for more details read on.

Climbing frames and play area installation both require safe surfacing so they can be enjoyed with peace of mind for parents for years to come.

Playground Safety Surfacing

Playground surfacing is needed it marks out an safety area for playing on the climbing frame it's good practice and is highly recommended that you have 1.8 meters of space around the frame. This accommodate for falls and possible impacts from those on swings. Having the frame next to walls that child could bang heads on or slide out onto is avoided, common sense maybe, but it still needs to said. If you use fencing this can create a very visible area for play and a feature space in the garden. Some will mark this out wooden beams on the floor which negates the need for any gates and is usually much cheaper.

About Safety Surfacing

Children will accidentally fall, even the safest of climbing frames most careful of child will fall (sorry to break that to you) the role of safety surfacing is to absorb the impact reducing the seriousness of any potential injury.

We do recommend that impact absorbing surfaces are installed beneath all equipment. With a fall height up to 1.2m grass is an adequate surface assuming a minimum 150mm of subsoil. Re-enforcing my first point, if its tarmac or concrete it safer playground surface needs to be put in place. Fortunately at this and up to 1.2 ROSPA says grass surface is fine.

How Much Do I Need?

safety area needed

The Design of your safety area is determined by the dimensions of your Climbing frame. The maximum free fall height will allow you to work out the depth and extent of safety surfacing. This will depend on the type of surface below a link to all types surfacing mentioned above.

The depth of the surface required will depend on the type of surface used.

However, the extent or distance from the frame that a safety surface should extend is shown below, This is meant as a guide to public playground safety so some best judgement is required for home use.

Fall HeightSurface Distance
1.5 m1.5 m
1.6 m1.56 m
1.7 m1.63 m
1.8 m1.70 m
1.9 m1.76 m
2.0 m1.83 m
2.1 m1.90 m
2.2 m1.96 m
Fall HeightSurface Distance
2.3 m2.03 m
2.4 m2.10 m
2.5 m2.16 m
2.6 m2.23 m
2.7 m2.30 m
2.8 m2.37 m
2.9 m2.43 m
3 m2.50 m

Types Of Surfacing

playground safety surfaces

Grass - All purpose surface, but can have little resistance or impact absorbency in dry conditions.

Bark Mulch - One of the original and still most popular choices for surfacing mainly due to its lower cost compared to other types of surfacing. With a consistency that wheelchairs can use , but still be good at absorbing the shocks.

Loose Fill Rubber Mulch- heavy duty and long lasting and often made from recycled tires that are cleaned and shredded usually this is available in bright colours as well so if your going for a striking look this could be for you. It wont absorb or retain water so freezing isn't a problem.

Rubber Tiles / Matting - easy to fit and out in place just need to make sure its a suitable thickness for the fall height.

Sand - Popular impact absorbing surfacing material to go under playground equipment. Whilst it's undoubtedly an attractive surfacing for playgrounds, it should be noted that this would require a high level of maintenance.

Wet Pour - a continuous rubber surface that gives a high quality , hard wearing slip resistant surface requiring little or no maintenance,

Synthetic Grass - all weather surfacing available with or without a pile and is an ideal solution for surfacing play areas.

Maintenance Considerations

Without doubt bark chipping and sand the easiest to install are the hardest to maintain with regular maintenance needed to keep it effective. Sand will require regular raking and forking to keep it loose enough to be an effective safety surface. Also disinfectant will need to be applied and children kept away from the area, the disinfectant bottle should provide exact recommendations.

Sand will also become solid if proper drainage isn't in place. This is okay on a slope which in turn wouldn't be good for the frame itself which needs the surface to be level. There needs to be good natural drainage available no slope and clay like ground will need a sandbox which negates the ease of installation that sand has going for it.

Bark Chipping - lasts approximately 6-12 months, it compacts and turns to mulch needing constant replacement. Costing money to remove children get dirty playing in it and this comes in the house. It also is very much like a large cat tray.

Rubber chippings are an excellent choice not absorbing water so freezing and becoming solid with a little rain isn't a problem, racking for getting an even spread is required as needed. It's very effective and because it doesn't require replacing it life span gives it a great advantage.

There are many options to consider and many options you need to look at before choosing which surface you go for. We would love to hear your feedback and if you are currently using any of these surfaces we would love to hear what you think.