Outdoor flooring comes in different materials. But if you are looking for something that you can use on your children's playground, there are many things to consider. It is not enough that the floor looks beautiful in your backyard. It should be safe for your kids, easy to install and maintain, and durable for everyday use and in different weather conditions.
This blog post will examine three outdoor playground flooring options. We’ve listed down their pros and cons so that you can decide which flooring is most suitable for your playground project.
Different Flooring Materials for Your Outdoor Playground
We’ve looked high and low for highly recommended flooring choices for outdoor use. Let's look at them one by one so that you can be sure of your flooring choice.
You have two options when it comes to rubber flooring.
The first is solid rubber. This option can come in tiles that you fit together to cover the flooring area. It can also be in the form of a big roll that can cover the entire flooring space.
The second option is rubber mulch. Made from recycled and shredded rubber, this option makes a soft and cushioned surface.
- Rubber flooring is very easy to install. You don't need to pour concrete or add a special coating to the base floor. Just cover the ground, and there’s your flooring. Additionally, rubber is nonporous: even if your subfloor is damp, it won't affect the installation or quality of your rubber flooring.
- It is affordable. If you're looking for a flooring option that won't break the bank, this is the cheapest option.
- Using rubber saves the environment. Rubber flooring mostly uses old and recycled rubber. Thus, you are not creating more waste.
- It is easy to maintain. Weather changes will not deteriorate the rubber tiles. Also, cleaning them doesn't require any special tools: just grab a brush and run water through the surface, and you have a clean and shiny floor.
- It's best for children's safety. Landing on rubber won't have the same impact that comes with concrete, wood, or stone floors. Instead, it has a bounce that prevents your kids from having injuries and bruises.
- It has a strong toxic smell. It will take days to a week for the smell to dissipate, even outdoors.
- Rubber tiles are thick and big. It's more suitable for spacious places. Using this in a crowded room will prove a difficulty in installation.
- Rubber’s smooth surface can be slippery when wet. You can have it textured to increase friction, but it still won’t make it nonslip.
If you want the full outdoor feeling, the turf may be the best outdoor floor for the playground. Turf tiles mimic artificial grass. Also, its high-quality polyethylene plastic material makes it resistant to extreme temperature and wear and tear.
- Turf flooring has a padded subfloor. Thus, it cushions your steps. When your child accidentally lands on it, the padding can prevent injuries, making it popular for playground use.
- It looks like real grass. You can’t tell it’s artificial until you touch it. It's also low-maintenance. You'll have the beautiful appearance of healthy growing grass without having to mow and water it every day.
- Turf is an expensive flooring option. However, if you have the budget, invest in it rather than purchasing low-quality flooring. It is durable and will save you money in the long run.
- It absorbs heat. Although turf flooring is heat-resistant, putting it directly under the sun can make it very hot, causing discomfort and even burns when playing on it barefoot.
Engineered Wood Fiber
You will see this outdoor playground floor material widely used in school and park playgrounds. Engineered wood fiber (EWF) is made from chippings or softwood commonly found in a tree’s center. These fibers are then bonded to form a floor plank especially excellent on playgrounds.
- EWF can absorb water. Thus, you can install it in a wet environment. The water will just seep through the planks and eventually evaporate.
- EWF is more resistant to scratches than wood. Unlike with hardwood flooring, you don't need to worry about your kids running around with their shoes on, so you'll maintain the appearance of your flooring with ease. Additionally, EWF is less likely to splinter, which makes it a safer choice for your kids.
- Its material is softwood and not tree bark, a flammable material. Therefore, EWF meets the Consumer Products Safety Commission standards for appropriate surfacing types.
- It's an economical and environment-friendly choice. EWF starts at $4 per square foot, and it uses wood waste and scraps to the fullest.
- You’ll need a lot of planks for your flooring space. As mentioned earlier, EWF is water-absorbent. But if you do not sufficiently cover your floor, water will leak out, wetting your floor.
- Engineered wood flooring is a loose material. Using it for a long time and under wear and tear conditions will decompress or loosen the fibers, making the floor less shock-absorbent.
- It thins out over time. So if your existing flooring is only EWF, we recommend adding another flooring material on top. It can be rubber mats or other materials that can lengthen the life and shock absorption of the EWF.
When creating a play area for your kids, the first thing you should consider is their safety. From the toys to the location and flooring type, everything should be child-friendly.
We hope these outdoor playground flooring options have helped you make a more informed flooring choice. For more inspiration, check out our flooring buying guide and reviews.