When planning for your park or playground, it is very important to know who your audience is. When it comes to playground surface options, what matters is the material you choose. Some playground surfaces offer superior playground fall protection, however other materials are just unsafe. Obviously, you would want to install a playground surface material that can cushion a fall and fits into your budget.
But let us be honest here as there is nothing called a perfect surface. But still, a surface should be the complete package i.e. safe, accessible, available, affordable and of course, fits into your budget. So let us take a look at all the important factors to consider before making your final purchase:
As a playground owner, the most significant factor to consider when choosing playground surfaces is the level of playground fall protection you wish to get. So how do you know that the product you want is safe? Well, you can ask your vendor for ASTM F1292 test results and if they field-tested the surface (ASTM F3313). Moreover, you must choose a surface that you can properly maintain and you can also ask the supplier for proper documents to help you with the same.
Are you looking for ADA compliant surfaces? Under the ADA, newly constructed playgrounds must abide with the accessibility guidelines. These guidelines make sure that all children get to access and enjoy playground equipment equally. Moreover, find out if the seller ha any maintenance suggestions or any installation guidelines to help you maintain an accessible surface.
Here, we do not mean whether the surface is available or not. What we mean is, will you get any support when you are stuck, and will the seller be available when you have any doubts or issues with the warranty? Usually, most of the playground owners feel reluctant in chasing down the vendor and then get deceived when it comes to questions and answers about the product they purchased. So make sure you choose the product whose seller addresses all your questions or concerns whenever you need.
Now your budget is the deciding factor when choosing safe playground surfaces. Playground surfacing costs differ considerably between materials, and also you need to consider the maintenance costs. It is quite easy to go for a unitary surface in order to reduce your maintenance costs, but it would be better if you go with loose-fill materials like EWF that are much affordable than the unitary surface materials.
Some surfaces are made to last, while others are not. But you must make sure that you ask the manufacturer about the raw material used in the product, as it can make a big difference in how long the playground surface will last. Moreover, confirm with your vendor whether the product is backed with a warranty. Also make sure that the product should be free from defects when you buy the product.
Remember, you can also add wear mats to simplify EWF maintenance in high-use areas. And as always, never ever hesitate to contact your vendor if you have any questions related to its maintenance.