Playground Surfacing: Pros and Cons

Playground surfacing is an important part of any playground. Which playground surface is right for your project? Should you go with wood chips? Poured-in-place rubber flooring? Or rubber mulch?

All the articles and content out there can seem a bit daunting to sort through, so the goal of this blog post here is to be simple, straightforward, and easy to plow through.

Without any further ado, here is our playground surfacing pros and cons list.

Wood Chips


  • Smaller initial investment
  • Easily sourced
  • Generally installed the same day
  • Easy replenishment of biodegradable material
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Easy site prep.


  • Bio-degradable material needs replenishment
  • Requires a tall border or significant site prep
  • Loose material can be kicked out of high-use areas and need replenishment
  • Poor accessibility for wheelchairs

Rubber Recycle Rubber Nuggets


  • Lower replenishment rate than wood chips
  • Easy to replenish as needed
  • Does not biodegrade
  • Generally installed the same day
  • Lots of color options
  • Non-toxic
  • Requires less material for greater fall heights
  • Uses a recycled product
  • Easy site prep.


  • Parent’s preconceived ideas about rubber mulch being toxic
  • Loose material can be kicked out of high-use areas and need to be replenished
  • Higher initial investment than wood chips
  • Poor accessibility for wheelchairs

Poured-in-place rubber surfacing 


  • The best impact attenuation to the material ratio for head injuries
  • Can be installed in fun designs
  • Lots of color options
  • High perceived value
  • No mess
  • Good accessibility
  • Uses a recycled product
  • Low maintenance costs and requirements
  • Best longevity


  • Highest initial investment
  • Requires more site prep.
  • Recommended resealing every four years
  • Installation is separate from the installation of the playground
  • Installation is weather dependent
  • Difficult to repair/change the playground

If this brought up more questions than it answered, please check out our other surfacing blog posts or reach out to our sales team. We would be more than happy to answer your questions!

Blake Greenly

Blake Greenly has been a sales representative for King Swings Commercial since the launch of the new brand. He comes from a background of hard work and dedication that drives him to ensure his clients are satisfied through the whole process of buying a commercial playground.

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