How Do I Protect My Playground Surface?

How Do I Protect My Playground Surface?

Playground surfaces can be expensive. It’s enough to make you not want anyone to play on your new playground surface! But since that isn’t exactly practical and not any fun, there are ways to protect your playground surface. Try playground mats!

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Playground surfaces run the entire spectrum of kinds of materials used. Some playgrounds use sand or wood chips for their play surface, while others have embraced the more modern rubber mulch, synthetic tiles, or poured-in surfaces made from recycled materials.

However, one thing all of these playground surfaces have in common is the natural process of erosion. Whether it’s sand blowing away, mulch being compressed, or a poured-in surface gradually wearing out, another expensive refresh will be needed eventually for any play area.

A good playground is a busy playground, but a busy playground experiences a lot of wear and tear! Playground mats are a wise long-term investment that will protect the high traffic areas and delay the next replenishment or replacement of the playground surface material.

If you have switched your playground surface material to something completely new or just replenished the surface to brand-new mulch, it’s important to think about longevity. Playground mats will help you get the most out of your new playground surface for years of fun.

What is a Playground Mat?

Playground mats are small, usually square or rectangular, heavy duty rubber mats that are placed under high traffic areas. These mats help preserve whatever playground surface you may have and promote even wear across the entire playground surface over time.

Heavy duty rubber mats are a great option at the bottom of slides and under swings. These areas experience the most repeated friction and damage from landing and foot-dragging that normally happen at the base of a slide or the area directly underneath a swing’s seat.

While playground mats are not necessarily required, you will be glad you invested in playground mats. These rubber mats extend the life and efficiency of your playground surface. Enjoy fewer maintenance tasks for your playground surface by thoughtfully using playground mats.

Even if you have invested in a long-wearing, poured-in playground surface, it will still eventually experience wear. Minimize fading, wearing away, and unsafe surfaces from ruts and holes with heavy duty rubber playground mats on any type of playground surface.

Playground mats are also a meaningful addition to the safety precautions of your playground. Because these mats are placed in high-traffic areas, they will help cushion any falls. These heavy duty rubber mats feature shock absorption to help minimize any injury.

Why Do I Need Playground Mats?

Playground mats are necessary for two important reasons: safety and longevity. Playground mats are a simple addition to a playground that not only provides peace of mind but will also deliver a strong return on investment.


Playground mats are a must for a safe playground. These mats are placed at the bottom of high traffic areas that experience a lot of human impact. For example, a playground mat placed at the bottom of a slide will cushion the landing for someone speeding down the slide.

However, that person may also tumble out of that slide. This is a common accident in any playground, but it can quickly become serious. Having a playground mat at the base of the slide will absorb the shock of the fall and reduce the accident’s impact.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, playgrounds present a safety risk, with more than 200,000 playground equipment-related injuries needing emergency room attention each year. The most common type of injury was from falls, in 44 percent of cases.

Without a playground mat at the base of the slide, the person would most likely land in a worn-down playground surface area. With so many people landing in this place, the mulch may be compressed, or the poured-in surface may be wearing away.

A worn-down playground surface is also dangerous to playground users of all ages who use wheelchairs or have other mobility issues. It is vital to have an inclusive playground that is safe for everyone to use without worrying about an uneven and unsafe playing surface.


A playground surface is such a significant investment, and it makes sense to do everything possible to extend the life of the mulch, tiles, sand, or whatever surface you choose. Instead of replacing the worn-down places repeatedly, protect them with a heavy duty rubber playground mat.

Without a playground mat, you will have to replace individual locations in the playground as they wear out. A playground must have a minimum height of playground surface to be safe. Reduce the number of times you must replenish or replace a playground surface with playground mats.

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Where Does a Playground Mat Go?

A playground mat makes the most sense located under a high traffic area of the playground. Locations in your playground that experience repeated interaction from humans should be protected with a playground mat. Heavy duty playground mats are recommended.

You will commonly find playground mats at the bottom of slides where the person lands. The area underneath swings is also a popular place for playground mats because the person on the swings will kick off and drag their feet along the playground surface.

Playground mats are loose, heavy squares or rectangles of rubber. These mats are heavy enough to stay in place for the most part. If your playground features loose rubber or wood mulch, or other loose material like sand, try burying the playground mat to help it stay in place.

When thinking about how many playground mats you need, consider the most popular places on your playground. Do you have several exciting slides? Is there always a line for the playground climbing options? Every playground is different, so analyze your playground design carefully.

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Maintenance of Playground Mats

Playground mats are a low-maintenance option to extend the lifespan of your playground surface. However, there are some simple maintenance tasks to experience the maximum return on investment from these innovative playground mats.

These heavy duty rubber mats do not need to be brought inside during inclement weather and withstand extreme conditions. Be sure to inspect them annually to see if they have any significant wear and tear areas like cuts or holes and should be replaced.

The most important thing to remember when cleaning the mats is to avoid any sharp edges with these playground mats. While they are heavy-duty rubber, they still may be sliced by the sharp edge of a snow shovel, for example. Instead, use a brush or broom to remove debris.

Clean the mats about twice a year to reduce the risk of bacteria growth or other damage from neglect. Scrub the playground mats with a stiff brush and submerge them in a diluted detergent solution. Though you might pull the mats out of the playground area for cleaning, we recommend your maintenance crew have access to a shallow water basin so that this can easily be done on site. Hose the mats off entirely and leave to air dry before use thoroughly.


Choose a playground mat for a solid return on investment for your playground surface. This simple addition to your playground also makes the play area a safer place to be. Every playground should invest in playground mats for the safest and efficient playground design.

Heavy duty rubber mats are the best option underneath high traffic areas like at the bottom of slides and under a swing seat. While initially somewhat costly, playground mats are a great return on investment as they protect and extend the life of the overall playground surface.

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