Tips for Installation of Loose-Fill Surfacing Materials
These are taken from the following publication.
Loose-fill materials will compress at least 25% over time due to use and weathering. This must be considered when planning the playground. For example, if the playground will require 9 inches of wood chips, then the initial fill level should be 12 inches
Loose-fill surfacing requires frequent maintenance to ensure surfacing levels never drop below the minimum depth. Areas under swings and at slide exits are more susceptible to displacement; special attention must be paid to maintenance in these areas. Additionally, wear mats can be installed in these areas to reduce displacement
The perimeter of the playground should provide a method of containing the loose-fill materials.
Consider marking equipment supports with a minimum fill level to aid in maintaining the original depth of material.
Good drainage is essential to maintaining loose-fill surfacing. Standing water with surfacing material reduces effectiveness and leads to material compaction and decomposition.
Critical height may be reduced during winter in areas where the ground freezes.
Never use less than 9 inches of loose-fill material except for shredded/recycled rubber (6 inches recommended). Shallower depths are too easily displaced and compacted.
Some loose-fill materials may not meet ADA/ABA accessibility guidelines. For more information refer to www.access-board.gov and ASTM F1951.
Wood mulch containing chromated copper arsenate (CCA)-treated wood products should not be used; mulch where the CCA-content is unknown should be avoided. (Note: Our mulches and Certified Playground Fiber do not contain any treated wood products)
Fall Height ratings for various materials