When it comes to resurfacing a school playground, it looks like Tarmac and asphalt have had their day. Although you’ll still find them in many older school yards, when it’s time to resurface most schools now choose more child-friendly alternatives. In this post, we’ll take a look at the six types of alternative playground flooring that are being adopted by schools.
Why are schools moving away from Tarmac and asphalt surfacing?
For many years, Tarmac and asphalt were considered the best type of playground flooring. They were hardwearing, relatively inexpensive and provided a surface that didn’t get too slippery in the rain. However, they were not without their flaws. They were susceptible to weather wearing, offered limited opportunities for what they could be used for and their hardness often caused injuries when children fell on them.
Today, we have a much greater choice available to us when it comes to playground flooring. There are surfaces which are much safer to play on and which offer a wider range of playground activities. With the right flooring in place, a playground can be transformed into something far more useful for outdoor lessons, PE and break times.
Here are six alternative types of playground flooring you can now choose from.
1. Artificial Grass and Sports Surfacing
Artificial grass can turn your playground from a dull grey desert into a green oasis overnight. It creates a far more pleasant and inviting outdoor space for children to enjoy and, being softer than tarmac or asphalt, it is safer for children to play on. It is ideal for warmer days too, as it is somewhere where children can sit and lay on in the sunshine – something they don’t normally do on uncomfortable and dirty surfaces like Tarmac or asphalt.
Artificial grass also makes great sports surfacing. You can install playground markings on the artificial grass to create a wide range of sports pitches and courts. This gives children the incentive to get involved in physical activities during break times and gives you extra PE facilities at the same time.
Unlike real grass, the artificial variety doesn’t need to be mowed, weeded or reseeded. It doesn’t get muddy, either, so can be used all year round – and it will last for many years.
Block paving is a great way to create safe, slip resistant pathways on your playground. It is ideal for use in high-traffic areas, for demarcating boundaries between different sections of your playground and for creating decorative features using its contrasting textures and patterns.
Long lasting and very hard wearing, block paving is an affordable and practical way to safely manage movement in your outdoor spaces.
3. Grass Matting
If you are lucky enough to have a grassed playground area, you’ll know that there can be times when it’s not ideal to let children play on it. It can get slippery and muddy when wet and worn down by overuse. Luckily, there is an excellent solution.
When you lay rubber grass matting over your existing grassed areas, it enables it to be used all year round. Grass matting reduces slippage in the wet, prevents children getting muddy when they land directly on the soil and stops the grass wearing away. The matting can be mowed over just like normal grass, making maintenance easy.
Grass matting is an economical way to improve the grassed areas of your playground, making them safer, letting them be used all year round and reducing the need for reseeding.
4. Resin Bound Gravel
A modern alternative to tarmac or asphalt, resin bound gravel can be used to cover playgrounds or pathways. Made from a combination of aggregate gravel and polyurethane resin, this playground flooring provides a hard and durable surface which, because of its porous properties, is resistant to forming puddles or staying wet on the surface. It also makes a high-quality, easy to use surface for wheelchair access.
5. Rubber Mulch
Available in a variety of colours, rubber mulch is a soft but solid playground flooring material made from recycled rubber pieces bonded together by high-performance polyurethane. The finished result gives an attractive appearance that looks like a natural bark chip surface but, unlike real bark, is fixed in place.
Rubber mulch creates a softer surface that is ideal for playgrounds as it cushions falls, reducing the potential for injury when children are playing.
6. Wetpour Surfacing
Wetpour surfacing is similar to rubber mulch in that recycled rubber is bonded together to create a soft, impact absorbent playground surface. The difference is that wetpour surfaces are smooth and so are more useful for playing games and sports. In addition, a wetpour surface can be used in conjunction with playground markings to create safe and durable sports courts and pitches.
Available in a wide choice of colours, wetpour playground flooring makes it is possible to create your own patterns and designs using a mixture of different colours. This type of surface, common in many public playgrounds and play areas, is ideal for schools. It is free-draining, maintenance free, highly durable and wheelchair friendly. It also makes the perfect surface for schools wishing to install trim trails, climbing frames and other outdoor playground equipment.
As you can see from this post, the choice of playground flooring available to schools today enables you to create far safer environments which are more attractive to play on, can be used for a wider range of sports and activities and which need little or no maintenance. For more details, see our playground flooring and surfacing page.