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Playground Surfacing

Every year, more than 200,000 kids are injured on playgrounds. The most common cause of injuries is from children falling onto the ground. Making the right choice can make a significant difference in the safety of the children playing on it. In the past, playgrounds used to be covered in gravel, sand, or wood chips. While these provided a basic level of safety, it wasn’t always enough. In addition, these surfaces could be labor intensive, and, in the case of woodchips or bark mulch, seldom would a day go by that some parent or teacher wasn’t raking the material back into place under slides and swings from where it was kicked out.

In the world of playground surfacing, there are two primary types of surfacing systems - loose-fill and unitary. Loose-fill systems include sand, pea gravel, Engineered Wood Fiber (or EWF), and rubber nuggets. Unitary systems would be Poured-in-Place rubber (or PIP), rubber tiles, and artificial turf. Most clients prefer playground surfacing that is designed to combine high levels of safety with minimal maintenance requirements. One of the common drawbacks to loose-fill systems is the maintenance required to constantly deal with kick-out under slides and swings. Engineered wood fiber (or EWF) differs from ordinary wood chips in that the wood is mechanically shredded in such a way as to facilitate the material to thatch together. This thatched material makes for a more reliable and consistent surface and resists movement within the play area more than chips. Another consideration with wood products is the inevitable annual replenishment of material that naturally bio-degrades each year.

Poured-in-place rubber forms a solid base across the entire playground. It is slip-resistant when either wet or dry, and meets safety standards for the prevention of head injuries. Another benefit of poured-in-place rubber is that it can be shaped and colored to easily meet a variety of playground designs. Shredded rubber performed best in tests done by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. It consists of high-density rubber shreddings spread over the playground.

Artificial turf systems seem to be the current craze. They combine the best of all desired by clients. As a unitary system, it offers little or or no maintenance and it is priced below PIP and Tiles.

The final type of playground rubber surfacing is rubber tiles. They bridge the gap between the poured-in-place rubber and the shredded rubber, providing more safety than the poured-in-place rubber and they are easier to maintain than the rubber shreddings or nuggets.

Artificial turf is another material used for playground surfacing. Not all artificial turf is suitable for playgrounds, however, because without a thick enough rubber pad, it will not provide enough protection against falls. Good quality artificial turf will last for many years. Our artificial turf products come with an eight year limited warranty. Engineered wood fiber tends to be more affordable and still provide a high level of protection. Unlike traditional wood chips and bark mulch, engineered wood fiber ground covers are made entirely from smooth, clean hardwood. This reduces the amount of slivers and scratches a child may get while playing.

Choosing a suitable surfacing material for a playground can be a difficult task, as there are many factors to consider including initial price, durability, safety, and the maintenance required. A careful comparison of all the possibilities is necessary to ensure you make the best choice for your playground.


We offer all types of Safety Surfaces from loose fill products to Pour-n-Place rubber and Astro Turf



Playground Tiles:

Rubber has become the material of choice for many new playground surfaces. It can be used as tiles, poured-in-place, or can be loose as nuggets. Rubber has many advantages over other types of playground surface material. It is an excellent impact absorbing surface. Depending on its thickness, it provides good protection against injuries caused by falls. Rubber is also highly durable, and requires less maintenance than materials like wood or sand. Rubber playground surfaces are available in a wide range of colors and patterns, allowing a playground designer to create a vibrant and exciting area for children.

Playground tiles are available in a range of thicknesses and colors. They are designed to be installed directly over a hard surface like concrete or asphalt. Tiles have the advantage of being more flexible and much easier to install than poured-in-place rubber. They are slip resistant when either wet or dry and are quite durable under a wide range of climates and conditions. There are several different types of playground tiles and each has different methods of joining together, as well as different cushioning characteristics.

Poured-in-place playground rubber must be installed by a professional. It is poured as a thick liquid into a framed area. Poured-in-place rubber forms a solid base across the entire playground. One advantage of this method is that is can be used to create an irregular and rounded playground area. Another advantage is that various designs and logos can be worked into the final area.

Loose products like playground rubber nuggets or shredded rubber is another alternative. Loose rubber has been shown by some tests to have the best cushioning properties. It is also fairly easy to install. It is installed in a similar manner to wood chips. The advantages of using these over wood products are that rubber nuggets are heavier and less likely to blow away, They are also better at retaining their cushioning abilities after time and exposure to rain and ice. Additionally, they do not bio-degrade over time like wood products, thus relieving the client of an annual maintenance cost. Rubber nuggets can also come in a variety of colors.

Playground rubber is non-toxic and resists insects and fungi. It has become very popular in playground design due to its many advantages. The one drawback of rubber versus wood products is that rubber tends to be more expensive. Some facilities operating on a fixed budget have chosen to use both wood a rubber, concentrating the rubber in the more crucial areas like beneath swings, slides, and climbing structures.






Pebble-Flex® is a leader in providing comfortable, safe, durable, light stable and easily installed soft surface materials.  Uses include Playground Safety Surfaces, Swimming Pool Decks, Patios, Walkways, Driveways, Balconies and many other applications.  The proprietary surface system developed and manufactured by the team at Pebble-Flex® will open a whole new world of possibilities for your project.  It is the first truly light stable soft rubber surfacing material. 

Pebble-Flex® is the way to go for all your soft surface needs...


  We have a Breakthrough System - Pebble-Flex®, to address your needs.


  The Pebble-Flex® system, with a world-wide satisfied customer provides:



 Ease and Speed of Installation

No costly Demolition

No need to repair cracks

Covers just about anything

One step, efficient installation process

Durability and Low Maintenance     

Doesn't fade, discolor or chalk

Chlorine, salt, bleach - no problem

Doesn't harden, brittle or crack

Easy to clean too!


 Outstanding Appearance and Safety

Colors and patterns

Traction even when wet

A softer safer solution


The Most Economical Long Term Solution

Last years and years

Lowest total cost of ownership

No constant annual repairs






Unitary Surfacing consists of a single density pour of our colored Rainbow Turf® combined with our special polyurethane adhesive.
This surfacing meets the federal guidelines for HIC, ASTM, and the latest Handicap Accessibility testing. Being cost effective and it's natural appearance, it has attracted the attention of such clients as Disney’s Epcot Center and Disney’s Blizzard Beach, where the product has been in place for several years.










A unique combination of EPDM rubber granules and a cushion layer of shredded recycled rubber tires utilizing a European polymer that is poured in place on site providing a seamless surface for endless applications – Primarily providing critical fall height protection for children on playgrounds (NOTE: shock absorbing surfaces can help disperse the momentum of a falling body or head, thus, reducing the risk of life threatening injuries).



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Artificial Turf:

Artificial playground turf can be an excellent, low maintenance alternative to PIP rubber, rubber tiles or wood chip filler.

A typical playground synthetic turf will consist of a rubber pad with a thick layer nylon or polyethylene grass. The turf can be installed directly onto a hard surface like concrete or asphalt, or 4" of compacted aggregate (road bed). The layer of compacted aggregate should be at least 4 inches thick in order to properly cushion any falls. The thickness of the under turf padding will vary as to the type of substrate material (concrete or aggregate) and the critical fall height that is required.

Playground grass turf has many advantages over other playground surfacing materials. Because it looks and feels like real grass, it is more friendly and looks better than other, less natural alternatives. Artificial turf has proven durable in countless applications. It also requires much less annual maintenance than conventional loose playground covering, and can cost less than unitary rubber surfacing.

It is important to differentiate between playground turf and other types of artificial turf. Regular artificial turf does not provide enough cushioning to protect children from falls. Also, it has been known to cause nasty slide burns. Our playground artificial turf has been designed to meet safety standards for impact resistance. Make sure the correct turf has been chosen for your child’s playground.








Playground Wood Chips (Engineer Wood Carpet)

Playground wood chips and other wood products fall under the classification of organic loose materials. They are a popular choice for many playgrounds. Three factors that usually determine the type of playground surfacing installed are safety, accessibility, and price.
Wood products are generally cheaper than other materials, while still providing a high level of safety. The disadvantage of wood products in the past has been that playgrounds surfaced with wood products were not accessible to those with disabilities, especially those who use wheelchairs or crutches. This has changed with the development of engineered wood fiber (EWF), which has proven to be cohesive enough to permit the use of wheelchairs and crutches (meets ASTM F 1951), while at the same time as being resilient enough to provide cushioning that protects children in case of falls.
Playground EWF here at Cedar Creek Run, consists of shredded hardwood without the other scrap pieces of trees like bark or twigs, commonly found in wood chips sold to the consumer market. This reduces the chances that a child will get scratched or gets a splinter. Wood fiber also provides a higher level of cushioning than almost any other playground surfacing material on the market today.
Playground wood chips have been used for some time as a surfacing material. This tends to be the lowest cost option, while still retaining excellent safety characteristics. The critical height of a material is a measure of how well it protects someone who has fallen from a height onto it. It should be noted that the critical height is not a guarantee that no injury will result from a fall of that height. Rather, it is the standard level of protection recommended for a playground containing equipment of a given height. Wood chips have a better critical height than most traditional playground materials, including various sizes of sand and gravel.
While wood products have many advantages as a playground surfacing material, they share some disadvantages with any loose covering. Foreign material can get tracked into the playground, either by children playing or by the wind. Too much dirt mixed into the wood can reduce its effectiveness. Also, in public areas, EWF can hide various dangers like glass, pencils or animal excrement.












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