Problem Solver - August 2012
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Provide an Accessible, Low-Maintenance Surface

Safety surfaces are a crucial element of a well-designed playground, but with many parks and other entities still dealing with tightened budgets and staffs, maintenance can be a top concern. The good news is that there are solutions to help reduce the maintenance requirements of your surface.

Q: We have a playground that features bonded wood fiber for a surface, which must occasionally be raked back into place. How can we spend less time and resources on maintenance?

A: Proper maintenance is the key to a surface that maintains its ability to protect children from falls. You need to ensure your staff continues to adhere to a regular maintenance schedule, including inspecting your playground safety surface. Staff should remove foreign objects, and occasionally rake the fiber to ensure the surface is level.

On a monthly basis, check the depth of the wood fiber and be prepared to add more material if necessary. You can lessen the need to redistribute and add more material by installing surface-level wear mats in all wear areas. Having such mats, including custom-sized mats where necessary, can save your maintenance staff countless hours of raking.

Q: We are concerned about accessibility issues on our playground. How can we ensure our surface can be used by people of all abilities?

A: Surface-level wear mats ensure sufficient fall protection, and on top of that provide a level, accessible surface.

Surfaces that are not level are not accessible. When you use bonded wood fiber and wear mats, you can create a play area that is accessible from the pathways passing through to the surface beneath the playground.

Bonded wood fiber is an ideal option for pathways, as it does not shift as much as regular wood mulch. This helps maintain a level, accessible surface, with less raking and attention from maintenance staff. On the playground itself, wear mats continue to ensure accessibility beneath high-wear areas, where constant activity can quickly redistribute materials.


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