When it comes to playgrounds, the priority is to provide an environment that’s fun, healthy and, above all, safe for kids to enjoy. So there are good reasons for us all to question if recycled rubber mulch, also known as “crumb,” is the right choice for playgrounds.
If you’re a parent of a young child or manage or oversee a playground, you might have heard a lot of debate around the pros and cons of rubber mulch. In recent years, rubber mulch — commonly made from recycled rubber tires — has risen in usage across the U.S. because of its excellent fall protection, bright color options and improved longevity compared to some traditional materials.
At the same time, there have also been discussions around whether or not it contains toxic or potentially dangerous substances. While the advantages are clear, let’s take a look at some of the disadvantages of rubber mulch.
What Are the Disadvantages of Rubber Mulch?
One well-known downside of rubber surfaces such as rubber mulch is that it can be expensive. Perhaps the most significant negative is toxicity. Studies show that carcinogenic substances do leach out over time. However, it’s not clear if it’s enough to present a health concern.
When considering rubber mulch pros and cons, it’s also vital to recognize the possible presence of steel wire left over from the recycled tires, not to mention the long-term cost and labor of installing rubber mulch on playgrounds.
Engineered Wood Fiber vs. Rubber Mulch
Engineered wood fiber (EWF) is made from clean and fresh processed wood and never chemically treated. When looking at rubber mulch vs. wood mulch made from EWF, it’s hard to deny that the latter has a variety of impressive benefits. Engineered wood fiber has similar if not better protective properties as rubber mulch, and it will retain its original effectiveness for the life of the playground — provided it’s occasionally topped off and maintained.
EWF is also entirely natural. When it’s manufactured by a facility approved by Zeager Bros., Inc., it comes from sustainable wood and never from recycled pallets or any other source that might contain chemicals, metal nails or staples. Furthermore, engineered wood fiber is easy to install and provides superior filtration of water to eliminate puddles and improve soil and erosion control.
Final Thoughts on Comparing Engineered Wood Fiber vs. Rubber Mulch
There are some pros to rubber mulch for playgrounds, but with all the cons, including the expense and possible exposure to harmful toxins, why take a chance when you can use EWF?
At Zeager, we specialize in naturally beautiful and safe surfaces for playgrounds and recreation areas. All of our products are meticulously tested and third-party-certified to meet or exceed industry standards.
Whether you’re upgrading an existing site or building a new playground, choose the products and materials you can be sure are safe and effective. Browse our website to learn more about the advantages of engineered wood fiber over rubber mulch and contact us to speak with a knowledgeable member of our team about your projects today.