Rubber playground flooring is fast becoming the most popular surface option in the UK. However, there is a lot of confusion over which type is better for which project: Rubber Mulch or Wet Pour Rubber.
Each has its benefits and uses that make them unique rubber playground flooring options, let’s put them up against each other to find out which comes out on top!
What is Rubber Mulch?
Rubber mulch is a great alternative to rubber play bark or natural play bark with an extended lifespan and minimal maintenance requirements. This surface is made from natural rubber shred and secured with polyurethane binders to create a flat, durable surface with excellent slip resistance and all round durability.
Rubber mulch is an easy-to-install option for a cost-effective large playground surface option. A minimal sub-base is required, with just 25mm depth of turf to remove and a weed suppressant membrane placed before installation.
A sustainable flooring option made from recycled rubber collected from disused tyres and organic pigments for their vibrant colour blends, JungleMulch is a widely popular choice. JungleMulch is available as bonded rubber mulch or rubber chips for playgrounds and other outdoor areas to provide variety to their sites.
JungleMulch is designed to look like a natural surface covering with multi-color blends available in many different combinations to create a unique effect. Aside from looking amazing, JungleMulch is certified for excellent slip resistance and a single 55mm layer provides a critical fall height of 1.7m (BS EN1177 2008 and BS7188)
Introducing EPDM MulchSmart
Using virgin rubber shred, EPDM MulchSmart is able to provide vivid rubber mulch colours which last for longer than recycled options. Commonly installed alongside Green Frog Artificial Grass for a brilliant, vibrant playground design with fast installation and easy maintenance, EPDM is a great option for any outdoor area looking to provide a firm, shock-absorbent surface with superior slip resistance.
EPDM as a virgin rubber flooring product is recommended to nurseries and preschool playgrounds. The durable material does not release carbon or toxins with heavy use or rub colour off onto clothes or skin like some recycled rubber playgrounds can do.
What is Wet Pour Rubber?
Wet Pour Rubber flooring is an ever-popular safety surfacing option with amazing customisability in terms of critical fall height protection, design, colour, and thickness. Unlike some flooring options, wet pour is installed as one continuous surface allowing for easy access and an unparalleled smooth look and full buggy and wheelchair accessibility with no trip edges.
The durability of rubber wet pour surfacing makes it perfect for a lot of heavy traffic areas including pathways. In the event damage does occur, repairs are simple, PlaySmart provides repair kits and a repair service when required for reskim layers or fill-ins.
RubbaSmart is an ideal choice to brighten up your playground surface options with complex designs and bright colours that our customers love! This safety surface can provide a range of critical fall heights at different depths of installation (dependent on your sub-base material) with our 130mm option providing 3m of critical fall height protection.
PlaySmart’s RubbaSmart wet pour safety surfacing is very popular for creating a continuous design across a larger playground site that doesn’t fade and does not need to be broken up by safety surfacing under equipment. This means that in our past playground projects, some amazing themed playground designs have been made with the help of RubbaSmart! To see some of our RubbaSmart playground design ideas you can take a look at our gallery, or case study videos.
Where to use Rubber Mulch
Example uses of Rubber Mulch from our past customers include:
- Erosion control areas
- Tree surroundings
- Surface overlays
- Nursery and pre-school play areas
- Around play equipment requiring critical fall height protection
- Recreation grounds
- 3D centrepieces
Where to use Wet Pour Rubber Flooring
Sites where Wet Pour Rubber Flooring has been a great surfacing solution include:
- Multi-Use Games Areas (MUGAs)
- Outdoor gyms
- Sports surfaces
- Seating areas
- Splash zones
- Gardens and play surfaces for home
- Children’s play areas
How do Wet Pour Rubber and Rubber Mulch Address Play Surfacing Concerns?
Although all of our surfaces are cost-effective, rubber mulch may be considered a more versatile and useful material for larger-scale projects due to reduced installation costs and time commitment.
The main point that makes both kinds of rubber playground flooring cost-effective is their durability. PlaySmart provides a 10-year product and 5-year installation guarantee on all of our products, and many options for repairs and maintenance assistance to further boost the longevity of any surface.
As with any playground surfacing, drainage capabilities depend on the existing ground type and the surface of your area. However, with fully certified, experienced installers, the right solution and adjustments can be made for any flooring option.
In areas of slow drainage, more extensive groundwork may be required when installing rubber mulch due to its permeability. This is important to reduce groundwater puddling which can cause further issues down the line. These groundworks can be similar to the requirements for wet pour rubber, including drilling drainage holes and open textured macadam sub-base installation.
The ease of Rubber mulch maintenance makes it the ideal alternative to loose-fill play flooring options while still providing a natural look especially popular around trees and other vegetation to protect roots and control weed growth.
RubbaSmart is designed to be vandal resistant and is easily maintained through the occasional sweep or hosing to remove debris from regular use for a clean wet pour surfacing. The maintenance and way to clean Rubber Mulch are similarly simple, but when installed alongside grass, the lack of edge requirements means that it can require regular mowing around the surface to control natural grass growth that may pose a tripping hazard.
RubbaSmart is made from a non-recycled rubber material to ensure the surface’s purity and stability over time so is less of a sustainable flooring option than recycled rubber mulch like JungleMulch. However, in consideration of PlaySmart’s goals for eco smart surfacing provision, the base surfaces for our wet pour rubber are made from recycled rubber crumb. In addition to being a sustainable flooring material, this gives the surface a superior shock-absorbent layer for fall protection.
Which Rubber Flooring is Your Winner?
We hope that this guide gives you some clarity on which rubber playground flooring option is the best for your playground or outside area. If you are looking for more information and guidance, or are ready to start your journey with PlaySmart, visit our contact page and request a callback or free quick quote today!