Best Surface for Florida Playgrounds: Our Recommendations | North Central Florida | IPEMA Certified Products
Summer’s here. The days are longer (and hotter). The kids are out of school. Now is the perfect time to resurface your playground. But, what is the best option?
In this article, we discuss the best surfacing options for playgrounds in Florida, a few reasons you should consider organic wood mulch, and our top recommendations.
Why Mulch Your Playground?
If you are on the fence about adding mulch to your playground, we understand. Mulch is an added expense. So, what value does it provide? Why should you consider mulch over sand, gravel, or other options?
First and foremost, mulch adds a layer of safety in the event that there is a fall or accident.
According to the CPSC, wood chips and shredded bark mulch layered at depths ranging from 6 to 12 inches aid in preventing life-threatening head injuries in children. Furthermore, the CPSC also notes that mulch offers better shock absorption than that of sand or gravel.
In addition to added safety, wood mulch also provides a level of comfort that can’t be matched by sand or gravel as it stays cool in the hot sun and keeps weeds at bay, reducing the need for extra maintenance or harsh chemical substances, like herbicides.
Natural or Rubber Mulch?
If you’ve decided to add mulch to your playground the next obvious question is:
Organic or synthetic?
They’re the Batman vs. Superman of the playground mulch world. The iPhone vs. Android.
Adherents to synthetic, or rubber, mulch will boast of its many benefits like utilizing recycled material (ie. tires) and how long it lasts compared to natural alternatives.
What they don’t tend to mention is the cons of rubber mulch, like:
- Rubber mulch is really hard to remove once installed as it doesn’t decompose like organic mulch.
- Synthetic mulch can be toxic when it breaks down, releasing heavy metals, VOC’s, and other dangerous chemicals. Especially when used in hot climates like ours in Florida.
- Synthetic mulch is typically made of shredded tires and when it gets hot, it smells like hot tires!
While it may not be true for playgrounds every state, in Florida natural mulch has many of the advantages of rubber mulch like impact absorption, weed suppression, reduced maintenance, and aesthetic appeal without the disadvantages.
Quality Mulch Products with Gaston
Gaston Mulch and Soil’s natural playground mulch is made from locally sourced, recycled tree debris. Moreover, we adhere to strict standards when producing playground mulch and all of our playground surface materials are certified safe by the International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association (IPEMA). The IPEMA is a certification program that ensures the safety of our products through third-party testing with the mission of promoting and encouraging safe play.
The IPEMA certification standards govern particle size, consistency, and purity of mulch to make sure that mulch is of the best quality and there are no surprises hiding in your playground. IPEMA certified manufacturers even have to adhere to grinding standards to ensure clean edges that reduce splinters!
Mulch Recommendations for Florida Playgrounds
Natural mulch isn’t perfect. It breaks down over time and will likely need to be replaced more often. But, in terms of comfort, cost, environmental impact, and safety—it can’t be beaten.
At Gaston, we stand behind our IPEMA Certified Playground Mulch and would highly recommend it for playgrounds of any size.
If you’ve decided that natural mulch is the best option for your Florida playground, we offer to ship orders under 20 cubic yards within the Gainesville area. For orders outside of the area or larger than 20 yards, please call us at (352) 372-9965.