Problem Solver - August 2011
Find a printable version here

Reduce Your Surface's Maintenance Requirements

On top of taking care of your play equipment itself, you also need to maintain your safety surface to ensure it is providing adequate protection.

Q: We use engineered wood fiber beneath our playground equipment to protect children from falls. What should we know about maintaining this type of surface?

A: As you inspect your playground, you should also inspect your playground safety surface on a daily basis. Remove foreign objects like tree branches and garbage. On a weekly basis, you should rake the fiber to ensure the surface is level, and the depth is sufficient throughout the playground.

On a monthly basis, you should check the depth of the wood fiber, and add more material as necessary. It can be helpful to use markings on the supports of your play structure to indicate the proper depth.

Q: We regularly rake the wood fiber back into place, but find that in certain areas, we can't keep up with active kids. Is there a way to make these areas safer between scheduled maintenance?

A: Even a couple of hours after you've raked material back into place, children at play can redistribute it, which makes areas like swings and slides less safe than they could be. A wear mat installed beneath swings and at slide run-outs can prevent this problem. Designed specifically for these areas, these mats complement your safety surface to provide more lasting protection, by eliminating kick-out.

They also have the added benefit of maintaining a level, even surface, which is key to ensuring your play equipment is accessible.

Q: Is there anything else we should be aware of?

A: Be careful when assessing your options. Wear mats that are partially or fully buried do not preserve adequate fall protection, and cannot maintain a level surface, which will make your play equipment less accessible.

Be sure to choose a wear mat that is designed to go on top of the engineered wood fiber. The mat should trap the wood fiber beneath, and mat edges should be beveled so as not to create a trip hazard.

When installed this way, these mats can preserve the fall protection in these critical areas.


Zeager Bros. Inc.: 800-346-8524