When it comes to buying a playground, one of the things you need to think about is surfacing. You need to budget accordingly, with the prioritization being between looks and budget. Engineered Wood Fiber (EWF) for the play surface is an excellent choice that benefits both the aesthetics of the playground and – most of all – your budget.
Engineered wood fiber, also commonly known as playground wood chips, is a great way to surface your playground with its ease of installation. What’s more, EWF has an overall low cost for both the initial price and the lifetime maintenance of the playground surface.
Ease of Installation
Installing EWF is as simple as it gets. Before you start, be sure to visit www.ipema.org to print out the ASTM F1292 certificate so that you can get to work at the future play area. After that’s taken care of, follow the following steps:
- Get the site ready for the EWF. Remove everything that isn’t dirt, including rocks and vegetation. Avoid using chemicals on the site. Install a border around the play area so that the EWF stays in place.
- Drainage is next to be installed on the site. That way the life of the EWF is increased, along with the reduction of fungus and mold.
- Next ADA compliant ramps are recommended into and out of the playground.
- Determine the EWF depth to be used for your play space. Public playgrounds recommend a depth of 12”.
- Now’s the time to dump the EWF on top of the play area! Spread it evenly throughout the surface using rakes and shovels.
- Lastly, place playground wear mats on top of the EWF at areas where there is expected “kicking,” including the ends of slides and swings.
Now your EWF-surfaced playground is ready for kids to enjoy for generations to come!
If for any reason EWF just isn’t your thing, you can consider other options such as poured-in-place (PIP) rubberized surfacing and synthetic grass turf. PIP gives your playground that color, custom design, and overall oomph that EWF can’t provide. Synthetic turf gives your play space surfacing the look of grass, in case you want to go for a “greener” route. However, keep in mind that these alternatives are more costly and require more maintenance in the long run.
At the end of the day you want a play area that is not only fun and safe for children, but one that will last from both a physical and design standpoint. The natural look of EWF provides the timeless aesthetic of the woodland outdoors that will never go out of style. What’s your favorite type of surfacing for playgrounds? Be sure to comment down below!