In this write-up, we will discuss rubber as the best playground mulch. We will talk about it in detail, covering its various types, pros, and miscellaneous information.
Fall protection is of utmost importance when it comes to playgrounds. For when kids play on a playground, they tend to fall a lot and injure themselves. So, whether you are planning on installing rubber mulch in your backyard playground or are plain curious about it, this blog is for you.
What is Rubber Mulch?
Rubber mulch is made from recycled rubber using things like used tires. It comes in various colors, is cost-effective, looks amazingly beautiful even for landscaping purposes, and is available in several colors.
Rubber mulch is fast replacing the other traditional materials used for fall protection in playgrounds. Other materials like sand and wood are recommended as well but one has to be sure of the purpose. That is to say, you would not want to place a swing-set or slide on an uneven or unstable surface. This is where rubber mulch scores ahead.
Rubber as the Best Playground Mulch
There are several advantages of using rubber mulch-
1. Environmentally friendly
Not just the end product but the entire manufacturing process is environmentally friendly. Rubber mulch is made from old and used tires that are removed from the metal frame. The rubber is thoroughly washed to remove any toxic substance. This is then shredded to create small pieces ranging from about 10mm to 32mm. By using rubber mulch, we are not contributing more plastic to the ecosystem rather we are using material that would have ended up in landfills. No toxic gases are released while manufacturing rubber mulch.
2. Safety at the playground
Rubber mulch has the ability to absorb maximum impact. For example, about six inches of rubber mulch can absorb the impact of a fall from about 10 feet high. The kids tend to fall a lot while playing. Rubber mulch can provide about one to three times higher protection against falls. Therefore, to avoid any risk of injuries rubber mulch as the best playground material wins.
3. No threat of splinters
4. Durable product
Rubber mulch can last several lifetimes, provided you take good care of it. It doesn’t degrade easily, and it will be many years before it starts fading away in quality.
5. High insulation
Rubber absorbs heat. Therefore, it keeps the ground under it cool and ventilated. If you plan on planting something on it be assured that rubber will protect it against harsh weather conditions.
6. Repels insects
Rubber is not an organic material to attract insects like termites or ants. The children can easily get bitten by such insects. Therefore, another reason why rubber as the best playground mulch works.
Due to its ability to keep water out, it doesn’t allow weeds or fungi growth. Plus, it doesn’t let water accumulate in puddles. The playground stays protected and so do the children playing on it.
8. Firm and stable
For outdoor playgrounds you need a material that can withstand harsh weather conditions. Rubber mulch is a heavy material. It doesn’t get blown away by wind nor does it float away with rainwater. Rather rubber tends to stick together and stay in its place. In comparison to other organic mulches, rubber mulch becomes a natural and easy choice.
9. Low on maintenance
Not just stable and durable. rubber mulch doesn’t require frequent cleaning. It can withstand all weather conditions and need not be replaced now and then.
10. Easy to install
Laying down rubber mulch is DIY. It is easy to install, and one need not hire professional help for it. Additionally, you do not need to prepare the surface before laying down the rubber mulch. In fact, you do not need a 100% smooth surface either. However, do check out a few videos on the installation process before you rush to add colorful rubber mulch to the playground.
These days companies sell rubber mulch in various attractive and appealing colors. Instead of going for one color, you can add several colors of rubber mulch to the playground and create a beautiful play area for kids. What’s more? It is aesthetically appealing.
Rubber mulch is comparatively cheaper. Plus, you do not need to keep purchasing new bags to replace the worn-out mulch. The initial cost may be more but in the long run, it turns out to be more affordable than wood or sand.
13. Versatile product
Rubber mulch can be laid on practically any surface. It stays firm on concrete, sand, wood, soil, and grass.
14. Consistent surface
Another advantage as to why rubber as the best playground mulch works is because it is seamless. Therefore, there is no chance for dirt to accumulate. Dirt can be really hard to clean.
Rubber mulch doesn’t become slippery when it is wet. Unlike tiles, rubber mulch is waterproof.
Rubber mulch is resistant to abrasion. It doesn’t get torn or worn away easily.
The above reasons clearly indicate why we consider rubber mulch as the best playground mulch. It ticks off all the right points on our list.
Now that we know why rubber mulch is the best, it’s time to move on to the different types available in the market.
Various Types of Rubber Mulch- Selecting the right one
A lot of thought goes into purchasing the right rubber mulch for a playground. Before you rush off and pick any type from the shelf, think about the following questions-
- Do I plan to create a theme-based playground?
- Is there a color scheme I plan to follow?
- How big is the area where I plan to lay the rubber mulch?
- The age of the kids that are going to play is a very important factor.
- Pre-decide the type of playing equipment you plan on installing.
Once you are clear on the above-mentioned points/questions, you can narrow down your research. It will make your life easy.
Following are the different types available to purchase-
- NuPlay Rubber Nugget Playground– it claims to be made with 99.9% wire free recycled rubber. It offers a 12-year color loss guarantee and is non-inflammable.
- Rubberific Rubber Mulch– this one claims to be made from 100% recycled rubber. It guarantees that this product will not fade or rot or lose any of its beauty and will stay the same for years together.
- KIDWISE Playground Rubber Mulch– this type is 99.9% steel free and has nylon threads in it. It claims to be contaminants free and meets all the industry standards.
These choices of rubber mulch advocate our recommendation of rubber as the best playground mulch. Once we have selected and purchased the right one for our playground, it is time to learn about the installation process.
Installing Rubber Mulch in the Playground
Laying down rubber mulch is not a complicated process. We have enumerated the general steps to follow-
- You need to begin by spreading landscaping fabric on the entire area where you plan on installing the rubber mulch. This cover acts as a barrier between the ground and the mulch. This step is important because the covering won’t allow any moisture or mud to seep into the mulch and reduce the absorbing capacity of the mulch. Plus, it will keep the weeds out.
- The next step, open the bags and unload mulch on the ground in huge piles.
- Now spread the mulch all over the area till it is even everywhere.
- If you happen to have existing playground equipment, it becomes easier to install rubber mulch.
Voila!!! You have brand new rubber mulch in your playground. Once you start using it you will realize why we consider rubber as the best playground mulch.
Why are Materials other than Rubber Mulch aren’t Suitable for Playgrounds?
Materials like wood, sand, and grass were great choices before rubber mulch came along. There are several cons of installing these materials in the playground-
- Wood attracts bugs and pests. Therefore, not a safe option. Plus, mold can settle on it.
- Splinters are a major hazard in any playground. This is one of the main reasons why wood isn’t a suitable material.
- Wood mulch requires attention in terms of replacement and maintenance. It fades and shifts.
- With time wood fades away under harsh weather conditions.
- Chemicals are used to color the wood and give it a presentable appearance.
- Pea gravel is another less suitable material because it breaks, crumbles and compacts.
- Also, children might play with it, potentially harming each other.
- It is difficult to maneuver on pea gravel.
- It requires regular maintenance, and the pebbles can enter inside the socks and shoes.
- Sand has similar issues. It is difficult to navigate on it and with time it becomes hard.
- It attracts unwanted guests like ants. Plus, sand can enter shoes and socks as well.
- Grass, perhaps, requires maximum maintenance. Plus, it is a hard surface.
- It is prone to becoming slippery when wet. Plus, rainwater can collect in puddles.
- With regular use, it becomes patchy and attracts unwanted bugs and pests.
It is due to these disadvantages we consider rubber as the best playground mulch.
To wrap up our discussion on rubber as the best playground mulch it is safe to say that rubber mulch wins, hand down! There are several choices in the market, and one must keep the purpose and climate in mind before arriving at a decision. However, when it comes to playgrounds and child safety, rubber mulch is the best suited.