A Playground Surface Maintenance Solution

Loose-fill playground safety surfaces such as engineered wood fiber are highly economical, safe and readily available, which is why this tends to be the most commonly used surface type for playgrounds. However, loose-fill surfacing does require regular maintenance, especially in high-use areas. As material is displaced, the surface becomes less safe. Regular maintenance involves adding more wood fiber and raking the fiber back into place.

Q: How can we reduce the maintenance requirements while still getting all the cost and safety benefits of engineered wood fiber?

A: There are ways to extend the lifecycle of this surface type and increase its safety while also reducing maintenance requirements.

The folks at Rapho Township, Manhiem, Pa., were looking for a surfacing solution that could meet their budgetary needs while also lowering maintenance costs. They wanted to install a 100-foot zip line. The zip line would require good impact attenuation, so engineered fiber was their first choice when it came to surface type. The problem was that they had a lean staff, so maintaining the area directly below the zip line might be a problem. Normal surface mats were either not long enough or would displace and end up causing more problems than they solved.

They discovered a new product that provided accessible routes. This product expands on the idea of surface-level wear mats that are typically installed beneath swings, slide runouts and other high-wear areas on playgrounds. The accessible route product is unique in that it is built to the same thickness as the surrounding loose-fill surface, so it never sinks, never displaces and always maintains a safe surface to fall onto. With fall safety ratings up to 10 feet, this was the perfect system to meet their requirements for the zip line.

In addition to overhead zip lines, accessible routes can provide a safer surface while reducing maintenance requirements for engineered wood fiber include access paths within traditional playgrounds. It's a great way to increase accessibility but keep the affordability of wood fiber systems.



Zeager Bros. Inc.