Is Poured-in-Place Rubber SurfacingActually Safe?

Back in the day, children were unknowingly playing in peril! Thankfully, playgrounds have come a long way from being dangerous places for children. In the past, they were filled with towering metal structures that heated up in the sun and were prone to rusting in the rain. The playground surfacing materials were made of wood chips, hard dirt or pavement, resulting in abrasions, splinters, and injuries from falls.

Fortunately, playgrounds have now become much safer, thanks to the introduction of rubber safety surfacing that we use at AdventureTurf. But what makes rubber safety surfacing safe?

What is poured-in-place rubber surfacing?

Poured-in-place rubber playground surfacing (PIP) is the ultimate choice for safety, durability, and low maintenance. This seamless surface, also known as “wet pour rubber flooring” or “rubberized playground surfacing,” is perfect for new or existing playgrounds.

Customizable to fit your play space, our rubber playground surface allows for limitless design options. With the pour-in-place method, we can create a soft and safe playground surface that can incorporate school colors, logos, games, and geometric shapes.

In addition to its visual appeal, our poured rubber playground flooring offers other impressive features. It’s a 2-layer surface, poured and troweled on site, with customizable thickness for safety and shock absorption. Made from recycled rubber materials, it’s also porous and ideal for outdoor or indoor areas that may get wet.

At AdventureTurf, you can choose from 24 standard colors and combinations to create your desired look. We use high-quality materials, including 100% post-consumer recycled SBR and EPDM rubber, to ensure a long-lasting surface. Plus, it’s ADA-compliant and meets industry standards for accessibility and impact attenuation.

Are there harmful chemicals in Poured-In-Place rubber surfacing?

Many administrators, educators, and parents have heard rumors about toxic chemicals in the recycled tires used for playground surfacing and are understandably concerned. At AdventureTurf, we are equally concerned about the safety of your children. That’s why we go through extensive measures to ensure all of our products are 100% non-toxic.

Recycled rubber, also known as tire crumb, is made by shredding or grinding old tires into small pieces. It is used to reduce the risk of injuries on playgrounds, as well as on running tracks and in water parks.

In terms of health concerns, studies by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services found minimal risk to children’s exposure to recycled rubber during regular playground activities. As a general recommendation, both the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission assure the safety of materials made from recycled rubber tires. However, we encourage educators and childcare workers to prohibit children from eating while playing on recycled rubber surfaces and to wash their hands after contact with the material just as they would with any outdoor surface or floor. These simple actions can help prevent the ingestion of rubber particles.

Are poured rubber playground surfaces accessible/ADA compliant?

AdventureTurf cares deeply about all children, so we aim to make sure that playgrounds are inclusive and accessible to everyone, including those with special needs. That’s why we only use wheelchair and handicap-accessible materials that meet the standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Traditional loose-fill materials like sand and wood mulch cannot meet these requirements. Our playground surfacing design and installation include beveled edges, ground-level play components, and wheelchair-accessible routes.

Pour-in-Place rubber and rubber mats/tiles exceed ADA standards, ensuring inclusion for children with disabilities. Also, PIP and rubber mats require minimal ongoing maintenance to maintain ADA compliance.

Is Poured-In-Place Rubber safe for falls?

Falls are a major concern for anyone who oversees a playground. The critical fall height is a crucial factor to consider. This refers to the minimum height at which a person can break their fall with their hands alone. Falls from heights can result in serious and even fatal injuries, but by installing a shock-absorbing surface like our rubber playground surface, these injuries can be prevented.

You may think loose-fill surfacing is better for falls, but rubber flooring is actually better. AdventureTURF’s poured-in-place rubber playground surface ensures optimal safety by meeting and exceeding the current ASTM HIC (head injury criteria) standards. We carefully install our surfaces at proper depths, guaranteeing the necessary protection.

Avoid serious injuries by refraining from using concrete, grass, asphalt, blacktop, packed dirt, or pea gravel as surface material. These materials lack the necessary shock absorption properties to protect children from fall-related injuries.

CSPC Fall Height Standards

The Consumer Safety and Product Commission recommends that the landing surface extends at least six feet in all directions from play structures. Additionally, all platforms and ramps should have barriers to prevent falls.If your play equipment has a free fall height exceeding 0.6 meters/23.6 inches, installing critical fall height certified flooring for a 1-meter/39 inch radius around the equipment is essential. It is recommended that the fall height should not exceed 3 meters/118 inches. A specific formula can be applied to determine the required safety surfacing area for play equipment with a critical fall height exceeding 1.5 meters/59 inches. Our expert installation contractors will take care of all of these details for you.

Determining Fall Height

To determine the critical fall height, testers drop a head-form device onto the playground surface and measure the acceleration and hardness of impact. Testing is repeated at various heights to determine the necessary thickness for protection.

Different types of playground equipment have specific fall height measurement criteria. For climbers, upper body equipment, swing sets, seesaws, spring rockers, and composite equipment, the highest part or achievable height is taken into account.

Is Poured-In-Place Rubber trip-resistant?

Unlike many other playground surfaces, our solution seamlessly pours over existing concrete or asphalt, covering cracks and tripping hazards. The result? A smooth and uniform surface is perfect for all the walking, running, skipping, and jumping your children love!

Individuals of all ages benefit from the trip-free surface. Kids under 4 are particularly prone to head and face injuries from playground accidents. By eliminating wood chips and other loose-fill material, our surface ensures toddlers can play freely with less risk of slips and falls.

A work team replacing rubber tiles with poured rubber playground surfacing

Will Poured-In-Place rubber stay safe over time?

Applying a protective coating can renew the surface’s wear and weather resistance. For high-traffic playgrounds, new layers can be poured onto the existing surface. If there are any small areas of damage, spot repairs can easily fix them without the need to replace the entire playground surface. AdventureTurf gladly offers all of these services to keep your playground safe.

Poured rubber playground surfaces require minimal yearly maintenance. These surfaces can last up to 10-15 years, depending on foot traffic, without the need for new surface filler every year. With proper care, they can even last longer.

To maintain the longevity of your poured rubber safety surface, it’s crucial to detect any issues early on. The top color layer, which protects the cushion layer, can wear away if not properly cleaned and maintained. This can lead to granulation and further deterioration of the surface. Applying a sealer every 1-2 years can rejuvenate the surface, maintain its vibrant colors, and reinforce the damaged binders caused by harmful UV rays.I

t’s important to conduct an annual inspection by an AdventureTurf professional to ensure the integrity and safety of the flooring. We look out for signs of damage caused by tree roots, sinking layers, border condition, transitions between different safety surfaces, and any other damage.

Safety in the weather

Poured-in-place rubber can stay safe even after experiencing harsh weather conditions like rain, snow, heat, or cold. The non-slip surface drains well after heavy rain and does not create puddles or mud like wood mulch. PIP allows water to drain off into surrounding lower-lying ground, reducing the risk of damage or weathering from freeze/thaw cycles. 

Even though PIP is durable, cold weather can cause your rubber surface to contract, leading to gaps around the edges and play set. To fix this, we can patch the poured rubber to fill the gaps. Hot weather can heat up the surface, especially if you choose a dark color. Make sure to test the surface temperature before letting kids play on it.

Rain won’t harm your poured-in surface, but it can reduce its lifespan if it’s installed on improper surfaces like crushed stone without proper drainage or unlevel concrete that holds water. Snow won’t directly damage the rubber surface either, but frost can cause the surface to lift if there’s inadequate drainage. That’s why having experienced, professional safety surface installation from one of our trusted AdventureTURF contractors is important.

Have some good, safe fun with AdventureTURF

We believe kids deserve to be safe while having a blast on their playgrounds, which is why AdventureTURF is a leading playground and safety surfacing company. We offer a wide range of options for playground surfacing material, including pool decking and rubber mulch, to suit your needs. Our main focus is to provide the safest surface possible for both children and adults who visit your facility. We achieve this by using only the highest-quality materials on the market. Our team can find the right playground surface that fits your needs and budget.

AdventureTURF specializes in installing playground flooring for schools, daycare centers, community pools, and park play areas. With years of experience in poured-in-place rubber surfacing, we have become experts in the field. We pride ourselves on being one of the largest nationwide installers of PIP rubber and rubber tiles, with over a decade of installation experience.

Thanks to our strong relationships with suppliers, we offer the most competitive pricing in the industry for playground safety surface installation. We believe in providing the highest quality products, superior service, competitive pricing, and above all, a safer playground environment for kids everywhere. Play it safe and call AdventureTurf today for all your surfacing needs!

Create an award-winning playground design in 6 easy steps

Are you creating a new play area or renovating an existing one? You may not have considered how to integrate landscaping into your planning process, but the two are inseparable for a successful playground. Your play area should harmonize with its surroundings, no matter if it’s in a residential community, public park or private childcare facility. By incorporating landscaping into your design, you can maximize benefits for the community, families, and children who use it.

Why is playground landscaping important?

Designing a visually appealing and functional playground can transform public spaces and private institutions. A playground with bright colors and imaginative themes can encourage kids to engage in physical activity and develop social skills.

For example, an under-the-sea-themed playground can spark imaginative play and curiosity about nature, or a castle-themed playset can encourage role-playing and social play.

A well-designed play space can benefit kids and adults alike. Creating a safe and inviting play area can bring families and neighbors together to foster a strong sense of community. Improving your playground’s landscaping can attract the surrounding community and offer immesurable benefits.

6 Tips for Designing the Ultimate Playground Landscape

While you may not be a professional architect with your own landscape design software, creating an incredible playground for your location is a breeze with the right resources. Here are six tips for designing the ultimate play area for children in public spaces, schools, recreational facilities, and beyond. 

#1 Break down your budget

Before beginning any major project, it is essential to break down every element of the process and budget for each. Aside from playground equipment, you will need to budget for installation, safety surfacing, and other site amenities. A typical new playground development will cost between $18,000-$35,000, depending on the size of the project. If your budget is on the lower end, make sure you don’t sacrifice quality and safety to cut costs. Consider doing the project in phases as your funding permits.

#2 Choose the right location for your play space

The first step in building a playground should always be locating the perfect spot. Whether you already have a location in mind or are deciding between several options, there are some crucial factors to weigh.


Your climate is an important consideration when choosing the type of playground equipment and the best surfacing options for your location. Will your playground face weather challenges like extreme winds or glaring afternoon sun? Will your playground be subject to snow and freezing over winter? All components should be made from a material that is going to be durable and stand up to your unique weather conditions.

Soil and drainage:

Is the site suitable for proper drainage given its soil and slope conditions? Proper drainage is essential to maintain equipment’s integrity, safety, and usefulness and surfacing in playground designs. In order to prevent standing water from causing premature aging and deterioration of surfacing and play equipment, a plan must be put in place to effectively move water out of the area. Failure to do so could result in compromised concrete footings, shortened lifespan of metal components, and the growth of mold and mildew.

It may also diminish the impact attenuation of the surfacing and ultimately render the play area unusable, cutting short the lifespan of your investment. adventureTURF can help you select surfacing options that allow drainage to get the most out of your play area for years to come.

Land features:

Playground planning depends largely on the existing features of the chosen location. Trees and shrubbery can be incorporated into the design, especially for nature-themed playgrounds. Trees also provide natural shade and protection from the sun. Garden areas can attract wildlife and add to the beauty of the play space. However, be mindful of plant life that may attract ticks, wasps or other pests.


Playgrounds at a public park, school, child care facility or rec center should be enjoyed by children of all abilities. To create an inclusive playground, choose a location that can be easily accessed with a wheelchair and is easy to maneuver with mobility devices. Inclusive playground design includes beveled edges, ground-level play components, and routes for wheelchairs. At adventureTURF, we only work withmaterials that can be installed to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

#3 Browse landscape architecture ideas

It’s important that you go into the playground planning and design process with a vision for your outdoor spaces. What is the theme or focus of your playground? Landscape design elements depend on your design philosophy for your play space. Some common playground design ideas include:

  • Inclusive play
  • Outdoor fitness/active play
  • Environment/nature theme
  • Infant/early childhood
  • Educational/outdoor classroom

Deciding on a theme for your playground will help you determine the most appropriate pieces of equipment and furniture for your play space. If you need more playground ideas and a more in-depth landscaping designing guide, check out Playground & Landscape or Landscape Architecture Magazine.

#4 Select the best play equipment for your needs

The theme of your playground will serve as the inspiration for the equipment you select. First, there are a few practical considerations to take into account:

  • How many children will be using the equipment?
  • What age groups will be playing on the playground?
  • Are you aiming for an accessible playground that can accommodate children with physical disabilities?
  • Do you have spatial restraints?

Children go through stages of rapid development, both physically and mentally. Whether you realize it or not, the playground plays a vital role in this development. Aim to select play equipment that fosters different types of play:

  • Social play
  • Imaginative play
  • Solitary play
  • Educational play
  • Physical/active play

The playground is also a great place for children to get much-needed exercise, build muscles, and develop fine and gross motor skills. If your location allows, incorporate open spaces for team sports and other types of active play.

#5 Determine the best materials for your equipment

A critical piece of playground planning is choosing what materials to incorporate. Each type has its pros and cons, and it is important for kids’ safety that their equipment is made from appropriate materials. While you are designing your play space, think about longevity, maintenance, aesthetics, and safety. Some of the popular choices include:


  • Pros: durable, long-lasting, can be painted to suit any color scheme.
  • Cons: vulnerable to rust, can get dangerously hot in the sun.


  • Pros: durable, under all types of weather conditions, low-maintenance, generally safer as it is not prone to rust or splintering
  • Cons: depending on the type of plastic, color can fade and it may not be as sturdy as metal equipment.


  • Pros: offers a natural look, will not get hot in the sun, can last if properly treated
  • Cons: less durable than metal or plastic, prone to splintering or chipping

Whatever material you choose, make sure that you invest in quality so that generations of kids can enjoy the play space with minimal maintenance.

#6 Choose the right playground surfacing

Choosing the right playground surface is crucial to ensuring the safety of children. The best surfacing for a park may not be the best for a school or daycare. Researching your options and seeking the advice of experts is key. Our playground surfacing experts at adventureTURF can help you identify which type of surface best suits the needs of your specific site and visitors.

Variables to consider when selecting a surface include initial cost, installation cost, long-term durability, maintenance costs, visual appearance, degree of safety, and ADA compliance.

To ensure child safety, it’s important to choose a surface that is soft and thick enough to minimize injury from falls. Other factors such as age range, choking hazards, and design theme should also be taken into account. Maintenance and budget constraints must also be considered. Incorporating multiple types of surfacing may be necessary to fully meet your needs.

Safety surfacing not only improves safety but also accessibility for children with mobility challenges. To comply with ADA regulations, ground cover materials must accommodate all visitors. Take a look at our complete guide to surfacing pro’s and con’s for more information on all of your options.

Create inclusive playgrounds

An inclusive and accessible playground aims to provide all children a fun and safe experience while playing alongside their peers, regardless of their physical abilities. To achieve this, you need to remove any potential barriers that may hinder a child in a wheelchair or other mobility device from accessing playground equipment.

Take wheelchair maneuverability into account during the landscaping design process to create an accessible design for a newly constructed playground. An inclusive playground also includes accessible pieces of play equipment that can be reached from ground height. Other important components include accessible ground routes, firm ramp surfaces, transfer systems, and unitary playground surfacing. adventureTURF is passionate about developing inclusive playgrounds, and we can help you navigate ADA-compliant playground design.

Get on your way to a flawlessly designed playground!

A playground isn’t just for kids! A well-designed playground landscape can serve people of all ages. By integrating landscaping into your playground design, you will not only have a safe and exciting place to play for your kids, but you will also enhance the surrounding community as a whole. Adults can gather to socialize and enjoy the scenery, older children can enjoy recreation activities, all while younger children make good use of the play equipment.

Proper playground planning will ensure you maximize your space and budget, whether your playground is in a confined urban location or a wide-open natural space. Contact our team at adventureTURF to get moving with your playground landscape design project today!