The Real Cost of Loose-fill Playground Surfacing Products
Loose-fill products such as wood & rubber mulch, engineered wood fiber, sand & pea gravel are highly unsafe to be used on the playground because they are constantly being moved around while children are playing compromising the playground fall-zone area and are almost never maintained properly. These type of unsafe playground products also come with hidden maintenance costs that add up very quickly over time making these options simply not worth the money or the safety risk.
These highly problematic playground surfacing products like wood & rubber mulch, engineered wood fiber, sand & pea gravel have many safety issues and is the #1 cause of playground related injuries. These products must be inspected weekly to rid the area of any dangerous foreign objects like glass, rocks, animal feces etc. Playgrounds using these ineffective products need to rake the area level daily along with constantly adding material to maintain the appropriate depth for the fall-zone protection area because it is loose and the material can easily be kicked around, thrown & misplaced. If this required maintenance is not consistently completed you will be putting your children at tremendous risk for injury while exposing your self & business to lawsuits by parents which we have seen dozens of times for people not maintaining the proper critical fall height material depths.
Let’s take a look at the up front costs along with the maintenance costs of these unsafe loose-fill products being used.
Loose-fill surfaces such as engineered wood fiber, sand or pea gravel are about $2.00 to $4.00 a square foot and this does not include the site preparation, border system to contain the loose infill and installation.
So let’s use a playground size of 1,000 sq. ft. as an example and break down the cost’s
The cost of 1,000 sq. ft. of loose-fill surfacing
Initial site preparation cost- $2.00 per sq. ft X 1,000 sq. ft. = $2,000.00
Loose-fill purchase- $3.00 per sq. ft. x 1,000 sq. ft = $3,000.00
Loose-fill installation- $1.50 per sq. ft. x 1,000 sq. ft = $1,500.00
Border system & Installation- $5,000.00
Daily raking & maintenance: $25 per day
Quarterly Top offs- $300
*Please note this also does not include any drainage systems that need to be installed before the loose-fill if there are any water drainage issues which is another additional charge and a costly one. If you do not address the drainage with these products you will have playground that hardly can be used after a rain because of all the water these products will retain, a complete mud pit.
Upfront Costs for 1,000 sq. ft of loose-fill- $10,000 to $12,000
Yearly Maintenance for 1,000 sq. ft. of loose-fill- $ 8,000 to $10,000
10 Year Ownership- Over $100,000
Even if you can find a company to do this for HALF the cost your still looking at around $50,000.00 for a 10-Year span for the most dangerous and high maintenance products you can use on the playground. Even if you can find another company to even do it for half of that it does not make any sense.
For the exact same size area you could get into our FallZone Poured-in-Place Playground Safety Surface System which comes with a standard 10-Year Warranty. Our FallZone Poured-in-Place playground surfacing system has little to no maintenance and is the safest most durable playground surfacing system on the market that does not move for under $20,000.00