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Engineered Wood Fiber Playground Surfaces 101

By Whirl Construction (510 words)
Posted in Safety Surfaces on November 13, 2012

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All You Wanted to Know About Engineered Wood Fiber Playground Surfaces

The Best Mulch for a Green Playground

Parents are interested in one main factor when it comes to the playground that their children go to play. They want to know that it is safe and that their children will not get hurt. The type of mulch that is used is one of the most important elements in creating a safe play space. There are five major types of mulch that are most commonly used, which are:

  • Rubber mulch
  • Natural sand – not synthetic
  • Pea gravel
  • Rubber mats
  • Engineered wood fiber

Engineered wood fiber is a common mulch that is used in more than three-fourths of the playgrounds in the United States, and it is rated the most economical and the most preferred playground surface. This type of mulch is created from engineered, non-toxic, crushed hardwood or softwood fibers, with the absolute best wood fibers coming from virgin wood.

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Engineered Wood Fiber is the Best Choice 

All of the engineered wood fiber mulch is soft because the mulch comes from wood that has been crushed and shredded into pieces that typically range in length from one to three inches. When the mulch has been spread out and allowed to settle for a few weeks, the pieces fit together like a jigsaw puzzle forming a cushioned layer to walk on. This is the perfect surface for children to run and play on, not having to worry about concrete or stones that would create problems if they fell.

There are several reasons why engineered wood fiber is the preferred mulch when building a green playground for a neighborhood or school playground.

  • Since this wood fiber mulch has been made from random scrap pieces of wood, the cost for using engineered wood fiber is comparatively lower than other varieties. 
  • Mulch should be replaced every eight years to keep it in good condition, so there more savings year after year.
  • No wood is used that contains toxic substances like paint or other chemicals.
  • Mulch does not contain leaves, twigs or other debris.
  • It has a natural look.
  • It prevents injuries do to falls with the cushioned material.

Green Playground Regulations

To ensure that the correct engineered wood fiber is being used, it must be compliant with the standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials, or the ASTM, F1951 and F1292-99, and it should also meet the standards of the American with Disabilities Act. If there are any questions about the condition of the mulch being used, contact the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Playground surfacing standards can also be certified by the International Playground Equipment Manufacturers Association. Children in the neighborhood will enjoy a safe and injury-free playground for years to come with no reason to overspend on the equipment.

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