Commercial Playgrounds and Safety Surfacing

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How much does a playground installation cost?

As a rule of thumb, a commercial playground installation costs anywhere from 25% to 35% of the retail price of the play set. This is due to the fact that, unlike residential play sets, commercial playground pieces have to be anchored to the ground. This means that footings have to be dug and concrete poured. Every post, slide bed, climber and other components have to be set in concrete or surface mounted if you already have a concrete pad.

What would my complete cost be when I buy a playground set?

You have to add the price of installation and shipping as well as the price of safety surfacing if you don't have any.

Is it better to install the playground or the safety surfacing first?

It depends on what safety surfacing you are getting. If it is poured in rubber, the playground set goes first, and then the rubber is troweled around the playground. While a playground set can be installed after a poured in place rubber surface, it will add the unncessary cost of cutting and patching around the posts. On the other hand, if you are getting a synthetic turf application, it is sometimes easier to install the turf first and then cut and seam later. In any case, check with your playground representative before arranging for surfacing separately.

How do I clean my poured in place surface?

Use a regular hose, blower, brooms with soft brisles. You can use a power washer with a wide nozzle. Don't use metal shovels, or any sharp objects that might cut or otherwise dislodge the rubber granules. Don't use any substances that damage rubber or dilute glues (Like Xylene)

How often should I replenish my playground's mulch?

The easiest way to remember when to replenish your playground mulch is to mark on the posts when you have a new application. When you can see that the mark is a few inches above the mulch level, it's time to replenish. And remember to only get certified wood fiber.

What's the best way to cover a sandbox?

You are required by code to cover your sandbox whenever it is not used. If you don't, your sand box might become a litter box. You should use a cover that has a mesh top surface, so the water doesn't acccumulate there, making it difficult to remove. Tarps will generally blow away with the wind. We prefer a sand box cover that is weighted at the ends, so one person can put it on and take it off.

How do I know if I have space for a swing set?

Swing sets take a lot of space. What's why we are seeing less and less of them in small daycares. if it's for preschoolers, You measure the height of the swing (usually 7' to 8'), double that measurement, and that's the space you need for the front of the swing. You need to add the width of the swing frame (about 10') plus 12 feet of buffer zone. A typical one bay, two seat swing set will need an area of 25' by 32'. A toddler swing set will typically require less space, because instead of measuring the height of the swing from the surfacing to the beam, you measure from the bucket seat to the beam.

What's the difference between Poured in Place Rubber and Bonded Rubber?

Poured in Place Rubber is a two layer system. The bottom layer is comprised usually of SBR, which comes usually from tire rubber buffings. The top layer, also called the wear layer, typically consists of EPDM, TPV or other synthetic rubber. both layers are held together by a binder. The installation of poured in place rubber takes place in two phases. First the bottom layer, which is the impact attenuating layer (its thickness is decided by the fall heights in the playground) is intalled. Once that has cured (usually 24 hours), the wear layer is installed. Bonded rubber on the other hand is pigmented shredded rubber that is mixed with binders and installed as one layer.

What do you recommend as safety surfacing for toddlers?

You should stay away from any loose surfacing in toddler playgrounds since toddlers like to pick up stuff and put it in their mouths. You should particularly stay away from pea gravel and shredded rubber. All unitary surfacing solutions (rubber tiles, poured in place rubber, synthetic turf) are good candidates.

Should I take off the canopy in my shade structures in the winter?

The shade cloth in your shade structure should be taken off before snow falls and if you are expecting high winds.

What is the best layout for a playground?

There is no 'best layout' for a playground. It all depends on your site, your age group, the number of kids playing in the playground at the same time, amount of sun the playground gets, the type of surfacing, slope, drainage, other natural barriers and obstructions that might be in your site as well as many other factors. This is why it is important to work with a playground representative that has experience and knows these factors. Generally, you should be aware of a few key things such as bundling play values in such a way that they don't interfere with each other. For example, you want to separate swings from other activities because of the use zone they require. You also want to make supervision easy by keeping lines of sights clear to make it easy for teachers and parents to keep in eye on the kids. You also need to work with the environment you have to make sure the playground pieces are not an eye sore. And finally, verify that everything looks good on paper before the digging starts.

Further Reading

Poured in Place Rubber Repair

Check out our do-it-yourself poured in place rubber repair patch kit here.


Wonderful service and attention to detail. Hal not only anticipated all our concerns and questions, but his answers shed more light on the options we had for our site. The installation was on time, and flawless. Michael, the head of the installation team, made sure the area leading to the site was safe before they started. I appreciated that.
Cynthia Ross

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We stand behind every product or service we sell you. Our philosophy is that customer support is an integral part of the sales process. So our warranty doesn't simply cover the material we sell, it also covers our labor. All our products carry a lifetime limited warranty on all steel posts, stainless steel hardware, aluminum fittings and aluminum post caps, a limited 10 year warranty on all punched decks, a limited 5 year warranty on all rails, rungs, loops, roto-molded components and plastic sheet components, and finally, a limited one year warranty on all moving parts, swing seats, swing hangers, and other material not covered above. Our Warranty does not cover damage done intentionally to our products, acts of God, and products that have not been maintained according to manufacturer specifications.

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