How to Surface a Playground Area Safely


Most people want a playground area that is as safe as possible for their children. In the past, sand, wood chips and gravel have been the materials of choice to surface a playground area. But now the recycling of rubber tires has found a new home in public and private playgrounds across the country. Here is some information in using this great recycled material to surface a playground area safely.

  • Using recycled tires as a base for a play areas is safer and cleaner than using other materials.
    A 2"- 4" covering provides fall safety that would require two to three times the depth with other materials.
    It will not cause splinters or deteriorate like wood or bark.
    Shredded tires are non toxic if swallowed by children and pets.
    It does not attract rodents, insects or fungus.

  • Using recycled rubber tire chips look great in the landscape.
    They do not fade or bleach like wood chips.
    They will not blow or float away in heavy weather.
    Unlike sand this material does not encourage cats to use the area like a litter box.
    These rubber tire chips come in a wide choice of colors.

  • Although this material is a little more expensive than many other materials for surfacing a playground area, the rubber chips will last many times longer. Using recycled tires will end up much cheaper in the long run.

  • Make sure you buy brands of loose shredded tires that are fully processed to remove any metal from steel banded tires and are cut to small enough pieces to reduce any likelihood of accidental choking with very young children.

  • Reuse the reused tires. The really cool thing about this product is that it will outlive your children's need for a playground area. So, when you want to convert that playground into other uses in your landscape, you can just gather up the rubber chips and use them for exercise areas or paths or as excellent mulch for flower beds.

  • You can also buy recycled tires in a mat form. This, too, can be used in a children's playground area. It can also be used for sports, pet areas, barbecue areas and an assortment of other applications.

  • For more information on how to surface a playground area safely using recycled rubber, please check the links below under Additional Resources.

Tips & Warnings

  • Because this produce is a relatively new use of old tires, there is some question about other materials or chemicals that might still leach out of the rubber over time. I would not advise using this as mulch in an edible area like in a vegetable garden.
  • There are still advantages of using organics that will break down in vegetable gardens or flower beds as they add nutrition to the soil. I like the shredded tires for child play and sport areas since there is no advantage to decomposition there. And if we are going to add materials that don't break down easily to the environment -- like rubber tires -- we might just as well put them to more practical use than filling up trash dumps.

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