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Playground Materials

When choosing new playground equipment, you'll find that there are many different material materials from which you may choose. Customize your play area by selecting the right surfacing and structural materials for your needs. The right playground materials is an important aspect when building or updating a playground, as your choice of materials impacts safety, durability, and appearance; AAA State of Play understands this and is dedicated to providing the best materials and structures.

When choosing playground material options, consider key factors including:

  • purpose
  • cost
  • maintenance
  • accessibility
  • aesthetics

Carefully evaluating material options for equipment and surfacing will help you build a fun and safe playground that meets your needs.

Playground Equipment Materials

Most commercial grade play structures are made of plastic, metal, wood, or a combination of these materials. Commercial grade plastic play equipment is available in a wide range of attractive colors, and although plastic is less durable than wood or metal, it is also safer if a child takes a tumble. These characteristics make it a great material choice for indoor play equipment, structures for younger playground users, and independent play stations. If you're looking for a more environmentally-friendly playground material, consider recycled plastic play structures.

Larger outdoor equipment is typically made of metal or wood, with high-traffic equipment, like slides, swings, and climbers in public playgrounds usually made of metal. Commercial grade metal playground equipment is made of extremely durable steel and comes in a variety of bright color coatings. Wood, however, is a popular playground equipment material for residential playgrounds, due to its natural appearance and customizable nature. Wood play sets can be easily revamped with fun add-ons and rearranged in new configurations.

While both of these playground equipment materials have a long life-span and are quite sturdy, metal and wood each require proper sealing and maintenance prevent deterioration. Metal equipment requires weather sealing to prevent rust and safety coating to prevent heat-related injuries. Wood requires more extensive weather protection and must be carefully assessed for signs of environmental damage. In addition to your structural equipment, you may also need to select supplemental materials for certain types of play equipment. Manipulative play stations typically require sand or water, while educational nature play stations require the addition of child-friendly greenery.

Playground Surfacing Materials

Finding the right playground base material is an important safety consideration as playground injuries are quite common. There are several types of playground surfacing materials that a can help protect children during playtime, from loose fill materials to unitary surfaces. Rubber nuggets and wood fiber are popular types of loose fill materials, as these materials are affordable, visually attractive, and environmentally friendly.

Those selecting loose fill surfacing must ensure that it's properly maintained for optimal safety. Independent wear mats are typically used in conjunction with these types of playground base material. These rubber mats add an extra layer of protective insulation and prevent the displacement of loose fill materials under active play equipment. Unitary surfaces are a low-maintenance, but costly, alternative to these loose fill materials. Common types of unitary surfacing include synthetic grass, rubber tiles, and poured-in rubber.

Whether you choose a loose fill material or unitary surfacing, any surfacing you choose should meet the national safety standards and guidelines. CPSC and the American Society for Testing and Materials provide clear information on acceptable playground surfacing materials, and when you buy surfacing from AAA State of Play, you can rest assured that your playground base material complies with safety standards and meets ADA Accessibility requirements.

We are proud to offer a wide selection of affordable playground equipment and top-notch customer service. All of our equipment is made of quality, commercial grade playground materials, and our knowledgeable customer support team is available, as needed, to guide customers through the purchase process, from ordering through installation. Browse our online selection and shop for a wide range of playground equipment, materials for playground surfacing, and other accessories.

Find more about the author: Kim Hart