Rubber Mulch For Swing Sets: (Pros & Cons)

In this blog post, we will explore the Rubber mulch put under a swing set. Furthermore, we will evaluate “Rubber Mats” and edging to protect the playground area from being scratched or damaged. In addition, we will examine alternatives to rubber such as wood chips, sand, pea gravel and artificial grass and Is Rubber Mulch better? We’ll undoubtedly explore regulation adherence, Is a fall surface required for swing sets? 

Finally, we will consider maintenance while selecting a playground surface material like cost, accessibility, and safety. And why you should possibly avoid natural grass and dirt compacted surfaces.”

Is it vital to have a fall surface beneath swing sets?

The most critical aspect of choosing a swing set is the surface you want to be put under the swing.

 One guideline may not extend to all sets. Still, if construction quality and safety are high priorities for your family, you should take appropriate measures to construct wooden swing sets according to the Product Safety Commission (handbook).

The springy surfaces are soft, which aids in the prevention of bruises. You cannot prevent accidents caused by overuse or reckless behaviour with a slick land surface – that’s why you need fully surfaced spaces for your child to play during the hot summer months!

Utilizing Rubber Mulch As a Foundation Under Swing Sets

Rubber Mulch
GroundSmart Playground Rubber Mulch: Photo 33008987 / Rubber Mulch © Spettacolare | Dreamstime.com

The Rubber mulch in a playground offers an extra layer of safety under play equipment for young children.

Rubber mulch can also absorb some shock from falls that might occur while playing on equipment like a kids swing – reducing the chance of injury even further than compared to having nothing underneath at all.

It is developed in an environmentally safe approach, but it does not disintegrate; nevertheless, it is worth considering since it will endure. And can be used to replace loose ground materials, such as sand or wood chips, which are often mixed with pebbles or gravels that have sharp edges when they wear down over time.

Rubber does not contain springs or metal parts that could expose and harm children through breaks in the surface material.

The Pros & Cons of Rubber Mulch!

Rubber mulch is an excellent option for swing set mats since it provides cushioning and comfort while also being aesthetically pleasing. Rubber mulch:

  • Rubber mulch not only looks great, but it also protects a child’s skin from splinters.
  • You won’t have to worry about dirt ruining your clothes
  • It’s soft and safe
  • It comes in many different colours
  • It’s produced from reclaimed rubber tyres, so it’s sustainable!

Rubber Mulch Issues

While rubber may seem like an ideal surface material for certain products such as kids’ playground equipment, there are some drawbacks of using this product under swingsets. Rubber mulches:

  • It doesn’t decompose over time 
  • Contain chemical residues that can be hazardous to the health of plants.
  • Get very hot in warm weather, which is a dangerous condition for small children.

Rubber Tiles are a Viable Option.

Rubber Mulch Tiles
Rubber Mulch Tiles: Photo by 33274085 © Spettacolare | Dreamstime.com

Rubber tiles are easy to instal since some feature an interlocking pin system. Rubber tiles also assist the guard against potential health and safety hazards such as buried objects and trash. A rubber tile may provide excellent cushioning from falls when coupled with a foam pad and other soft material.

Because the curves have curling edges, children may slide, scrape, and injure themselves during fun activities. So, the tiles will need to be checked for quality every few years, and they will typically last approximately a decade, perhaps a few years more, under normal conditions and with proper care.

Rubber tiles are exceptionally resistant to dirt and but that is often easier to find in rubber materials, so keep that firmly in mind when considering a viable surface for under your swing.

Rubber tiles are a unitary surface material that you can connect to make a surface on which you can play games, run around and do many other things that kids love. Rubber tiles come in different sized pieces to make up large surfaces or small areas.

Swing Set Rubber Mats

Rubber mats are made from PVC and foams have a few factors making them a versatile option to put under a swing:

  • The rubber mat is an all-purpose ground cover that is durable.
  • Rubber mats come in different sizes depending on your needs – have fun with these products!
  • The rubber mat has been used as the flooring material for gymnasiums because of its ability to absorb shock from running or jumping activities (fitness).
  • Can use them as a singular item in conjunction with other surfaces or as a ground cover.

Constructing a Barrier Around the Play Area

In contrast to the superb planche demonstration, you might notice the Rubber Edging all around this playground.
In contrast to the superb planche demonstration, you might notice the rubber edging all around this playground. https://unsplash.com/@gmb

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission advised a six-foot buffer zone surrounding each structure and 12 feet of the playground on either side. Once the length and perimeter are determined, you can make a wood or rubber curving barrier for maximum safety!

The Rubber Curvature provides a more stable space to keep mulch contained, and the versatility of rubber kerbing boundaries enables your family to create more creative playground designs.

The neutral colours of the most curbing match all colours and playsets you’re looking for!

You’ll love how simple it is to install these interlocked, so they fit together seamlessly without any gaps when stacked deep below ground level. Thanks again for the wooden counterpart weight issues. 

Alternatives to Rubber Mulch

Flexible materials and unitary surfaces may be the best choice for those who worry about their children falling underneath a swing set. Both offer safety from an accident but take different approaches, leading to better results than rubber mulch.

When safety in the backyard is a concern, there are additional choices to consider for parents who need low-cost options like other loose-fill materials or unitary playground surfaces.

Engineered Wood Fiber

It resembles wood mulch or wood chips in appearance and function, but it has a more elastic surface covering. Because it is composed of wood, it decomposes in 2 to 3 years.

If you go with this choice for the backyard swing set, be sure it’s made of virgin wood, not treated wood, since treated wood may harbour pollutants. Virgin wood is safer.

Direct costs exist. This alternative is just too expensive.

Wood chips

Enjoying the swing: Wood chips surface
Enjoying the swing: Wood chips surface: Photo by https://www.twenty20.com/photos/

Wood chips are a popular choice for installing to put under your swing. They provide excellent benefits to your lawn because they can add moisture and keep weeds at bay while not as costly as some alternatives. 

Wood Chips: The perfect choice for those looking for an eco-friendly natural alternative.

One of the significant drawbacks of using wood chips as play area surfaces is that they may produce splinters and hurt children whenever they wander over them or trip. When you use these on a playground, there will always be kids who like to throw them around carelessly just for fun!

Additionally, wood chips require frequent replacing because they may become infected or mouldy. It’s also worth noting some of the various ingredients found in a bag of woodchips (such as broken glass).

Wood Mulch verse WoodChips

Wood chip/mulch under swing
Wood chip/mulch under swing: Photo 171995813 / Rubber Mulch © stockphotofan1 | Dreamstime.com

Wood chips and wood mulch may seem the same, but they are pretty different. Mulches refer to how it is utilized as a ground cover around plants. Both are considerably less expensive to produce than rubber mulches and are more environmentally friendly.

As the name implies, these wood shards produce splinters and may suffocate children. Wood mulch can be used beneath swing sets like woodchips, although it can be challenging to maintain clean. Wood chips are ideal for an aesthetically appealing appearance, but they drift and are challenging to manage.

Sand

Swings above sand playground surface
Swings above sand playground surface: Photo 70710813 © Kathy (null) | Dreamstime.com

Sand is a Loose-fill material and an excellent option for backyard landscaping and a fall surface to put under a swing, but there are some things that you should know. First, it needs to be confined correctly to avoid mini-tsunamis when little ones play on top or walk through their sandbox full of loose sand! And if they’re not supervised at all times.

Sand is not ideal for windy situations and can be blown away by the winds if fine sand is used. Wet sand is difficult to remove, and it may stick onto your body or clothes.

One of the significant negatives of sand as a playground surface is that it contains asbestos and silica, which can induce asthma and respiratory problems in the lungs.

Playground safety should also be considered when using sand as a playground surface; deep sand for fall protection often requires high amounts of money upfront and ongoing costs. Pets or stray dogs may use it as their toilet, containing diseases or attracting insects to them.

Artificial grass

Investing in an artificial, green, or ground surface is exorbitant, but it's beautiful, depending on the direction you choose.
Investing in an artificial green or ground surface is exorbitant. It’s beautiful, depending on the path you choose. https://www.twenty20.com/photos

This alternative is initially more expensive since it requires expert installation, and the turf itself is somewhat more pricey. The disadvantage of this approach is that grass may get heated in the summer due to direct sunshine exposure.

One such choice is also the most aesthetically pleasing and alternative. The green and natural look may also help us save money on our water bill because the grass is kept out without a thorough watering. People prefer artificial grass that is visually pleasing and lush like natural grass.

Pea Gravel

Pea Gravel
Pea Gravel: https://unsplash.com/photos/XVITDH19zm8

Pea gravel is generally a clean natural material and does not promote the development of microbiological organisms. It’s also less appealing to animals than sand, making it perfect for toddler playgrounds!

However, loose-fill materials pose a choking hazard, so you should only use them with caution on these types of surfaces if you don’t want your children playing near them more often than necessary.

When using pea gravel instead of rubber mulch or constructing a playground fall surface in your yard, never put it directly on top of the dirt. Pea Gravel can be slippery beneath your feet and pretty dangerous at times!

You might step on broken glass without realizing it- so don’t forget about those hazards underneath before laying down that beautiful surface made from rocks.

How much mulch do you need?

Make sure, for example, that you utilize enough to optimize your protection. To protect a kid from an 8-foot fall, the average height of most swing sets, mulch, sand, and pea gravel should be at least 12 inches deep and up to 20 inches deep.

You must compute the square footage by multiplying the length (L) by the width (W) to get the total square feet (SQFT). Assume that the area you wish to cover is 17′ by 6′. This translates to 17′ (Long) x 6′ (Width) = 102 Key parameter.

Use Ground Smart‘s rubber mulch coverage calculator by clicking on this link.

Is one type of mulch better than the other?

Rubber mulch provides a safe and comfortable surface to put under your swing, but it may be more expensive than other materials. Rubber mulches are excellent because they don’t break down like wood chips or splinter like bark mulches do (both can cause injuries).

Rubber plastic is also soft enough to provide comfort underfoot and underneath equipment. It’s harder for little ones to injure themselves on this type of material as well!

However, you should consider carefully before deciding if one type of mulch is better than the other:

  • The cost factor: Rubber Mulch can be costly upfront per cubic metre, while we could purchase loose fit materials relatively cheap depending on the supplier.
  • Environmental impact: Rubber mulches have the potential to release chemicals into the air around your playground over time- so always take this environmental consideration seriously!
  •  Rubber mulch might be worth the expense to save on maintenance in the long run.

Here’s a link to Best Rubber who provide a cost estimator for rubber mulch.

Final considerations when choosing your material

Swing
Swing Safe: Photo by https://unsplash.com/photos/z0kPp2jHtgk

As you can see, Rubber mulch for your playground is just one of many possible choices out there- and it’s a great one! Rubber mulch is a safe and comfortable surface for children to play on. It’s landscaping friendly, doesn’t fade over time.

But, to assist you in choosing the best mulch for your outdoor play area, always think twice.

Maintenance requirements

Although the natural feel of loose-fill material, it usually does require needs maintenance regularly.

Unitary surfaces do not require as much upkeep. So, if a bit of crack appears after a few years, you’ll need a professional to repair it. Confident choices may be more appealing to you depending on how many tasks you wish to perform. Remember that you may easily scrape the dirt off at any time.

You could barely scrape off a slight amount of dust from the top. For consistent surfaces, keep in mind that they are challenging to clean.

Accessibility

Be sure to consider accessibility before making your final choice. Rubber mulch under a swing set is an excellent idea for comfort, but loose-fill materials can pose choking hazards if they are left out in the open, where little ones might play with them. Consider how far away from the playground that you’ll place these surfaces or whether you’ll use the Rubber mulch underneath swing sets at all.

Always put safety first in your decision!

Safety

Our article on Rubber mulch for swing sets would not be complete without an extra reminder about safety. As a result, the material you choose should absorb the shock and impact of kids play.

Remember that kids are naturally attracted to the ground underneath playground equipment, so make sure you consider this with your material choice!

Rubber mulches under the swing set is a safe and comfortable surface- but always keep in mind potential safety hazards!

Cost

Last but not least, Rubber mulch for swing sets is a great choice- be sure to consider the cost. Some Rubber mulches are more money than others, depending on where you purchase them and how much material you need!

Under a Swing Set, Avoid Using the Following Materials

When it comes to the fall surface under the swing set, there may be no apparent selection. To help you narrow down your swing set ground surface possibilities, we’ve highlighted several below that are considerably worse than others.

Packed down dirt

We’re all familiar with the joys of participating in a fun activity. on a swing set, but did you also realize that the soil may make your fall more difficult?

The ground cannot absorb enough energy from our jumps and swings. And when the rain comes after an afternoon of playing in dirt-filled fields or at parks with loose soil surfaces – well, let’s say things can get slippery!

Natural grass

Just Grass not ideal for a safe surface under a swing.
Just grass is not ideal for a safe surface under a swing. https://www.twenty20.com/photos/

Natural lawns may be pretty appealing since they never need to be modified or restored. However, due to regular grass trimming, preservation would still be feasible. Weeds various pest-based organisms may flourish in your play area even if freshly chopped up into sections.

Natural grass can blend in with the rest of the backyard and be integrated well with the other landscape of the playing area with the natural aesthetics of a play unit. Still, the problem would be a lack of safety depending on the height and kind of swing you have.

Conclusion

Rubber mulch under swing sets is a great choice- be sure to consider the cost, material upkeep and safety of your play area.

Rubber mulch is an excellent surface for playgrounds, but several different materials are available. Contingent on your objectives, each surface has its own set of strengths and downsides.

Above all, Rubber mulches under swing sets will be comfortable and easy to maintain if you consider the material’s lifespan. I hope that I have aided you in your decision-making process. Please feel free to use this blog post as a resource when considering Rubber mulch under the swing set.

Thanks again for reading our blog post Rubber Mulch For Swing Sets: The Benefits And Complications!

Sources of Information

M. (2021, January 6). Home. GroundSmart Rubber Mulch. https://www.groundsmartrubbermulch.com

Best Rubber Mulch. (2021, July 23). Best Rubber Mulch® – Safer than Wood, Fast Delivery, “Dirt” Cheap. https://bestrubbermulch.com

Adventure TURF. (2021, February 4). Playground & Safety Rubber Flooring Installer. https://www.adventureturf.com

Mulch, R. (n.d.). Rubber Borders. Rubber Mulch. Retrieved October 14, 2021, from https://rubbermulch.com/collections/rubber-curbs

1 thought on “Rubber Mulch For Swing Sets: (Pros & Cons)”

  1. I always use to think that swings were made out of tire. Like someone would take an old tire and just cut it perfectly into a swing. So I definitely learned something new today. This article taught me something I didn’t know. I also have an idea of how a swing is made incase I want to have one in my house one day. 

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