Problem Solver - August 2014
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Reduce Playground Maintenance Requirements

Well-designed playgrounds must include a safety surface to protect children from injuries due to falls. Many parks rely on engineered wood fiber and other cost-effective products, but these require careful attention to provide the proper levels of protection. Solutions are available that can simplify maintenance and ensure your surface is effective.

Q: We have a playground with a bonded wood fiber surface. What types of maintenance are required?

A: To protect children from injuries due to falls, you must follow the surface manufacturer's recommendations on maintaining your safety surface. Keep a maintenance schedule for staff, including regular inspections of the surface. On each pass through the playground—which should occur more often during busier periods like the summer—staff should remove foreign objects and rake the fiber to keep the surface level. In addition, you need to check the depth of the wood fiber regularly, and add more material if necessary to maintain the proper depth

Q: We are pleased with the performance of our bonded wood fiber surface, but would like to spend less time and resources on maintenance. What should we consider?

A: You occasionally need to add more wood fiber to maintain the proper protection for your surface. You can reduce the need to redistribute and add material when you install surface-level wear mats in all wear areas, such as under swings and at the run-outs of slides. Such mats, including custom-sized mats where needed, will save your maintenance staff from the constant need to rake the material back into place.

Another strategy to reduce maintenance is installing a proper drain system and compacting the wood fiber during installation. In combination with wear mats, these two steps will greatly reduce maintenance, while also improving accessibility. These steps may add a small amount to your initial cost, but will yield great savings over the life of your playgrounds.


Zeager Bros. Inc.

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