View Full Version : Rubber Mulch?

08-06-2000, 01:26 AM
I havent posted in a while, between landscaping and my internship ive barely had time to sleep, like the new software though. One of my freinds/clients takes care of the grounds for a catholic school/church. They have been haveing a problem with kids getting splinters from the mulch/ woodchips they have around the playground equipment. I remember somewhere seeing a magaine add about tires that were recycled into a mulch like product. Cant seem to find the add yet. Was wondering if anyone has used such a product, how it holds up and where i can get it in the DC/NOVA area?


08-06-2000, 05:49 AM
pete, they make a rubber mulch but the problem that most people have with it is keeping it in the playground, it stays very loose and seems to travel well (sticks to the kids) also with it your friend must rake the mulch back every day to keep the depth right, for your area check with your local playground supplier or your park district for the mulch. Better yet have an inspection of the playground done they might have installed the wrong type of mulch, and it could leave the church open to lawsuits.
One more thing if they have the money they could pour a rubber surface down and have the best playground surface around.

08-06-2000, 09:54 AM
You've got to be carefull with rubber because they are mostly ground up car tyres,with the associated bits of steel
belting in them. A better bet would be a finely ground pine
bark mulch.


08-06-2000, 10:58 AM

On our Bases we have very very strict safety standards especially when it comes to facilities that have to do with children. Its very hard to work under these standards, but we deal with it. I've installed both the ground tire rubber mulch and the rubber tile matting.

I'll give you some pros and cons.

As Paul said, the rubber mulch is a great material, but it sticks to everything!!!! It goes all over the grass areas, on the slides, etc!! It especially does this when its warm out. I guess I can compare it to the picture of a bunch of little pieces of stone dust stuck in a kids leg. Its safe it just makes a serious mess!!! We are slowly going away from this because of the constent maintenance problems. As far as metal in them......I knew they were made out of tires, and we always did question how they got all the steel belt out of them, because we could never find any bits of metal!!!!! I e-mailed or rep for the product we used, and she told me they have a machine that the tires hang on hooks, they go down a line, they're steam cleaned with a detergeant, than our melted down into tubs, leaving the steel belt hanging on the hook. After all is said and done, the rubber mulch runs down a conveyor and goes through sort of a magnetic tunnel, just in case!! It sounded good enough for me!!

Now, the other product that we started using last year, made by a different company. Its a 1' x 1' square mat made of rubber, with a non skid surface on top about 1/2" thick. We pour a 4" pad of concrete and then use a rubber epoxy to seal the mats down. Its a one time deal and is very safe. I can try to find a supplier in the states for these if it could be an option for your friend's job. Just let me know and I'll try to find out for you ASAP. Hope it helps!!

08-06-2000, 10:41 PM
I've used a product called Wood Carpet, which is a mulch ("engineered wood fiber") specifically made for playgrounds. I've swithched 3 daycare centers from regular mulch to this product and they liked it a lot better. I also made a playground for my kids using it and so far no splinters after 3 months. The company is Zeager Brothers Inc. & you can reach them at 1-800-346-8524. I also have a pamphlet for another playground surface called Safetyplay. I haven't used it but it is recycled rubber that comes in liquid form that you pour in place. Their # is 1-877-723-8752. The final surface is probably similar to what Guido talked about.

08-07-2000, 10:16 PM
here is a web site about it http://www.rubberecycle.com its called playsafer. seems like pretty good stuff. check it out

08-08-2000, 12:42 AM
Another big problem with crumb rubber is cleaning debris out of it. One daycare I used to maintain had the kids pick leaves & twigs out of it twice a year. That was the only way to get them out!

08-10-2000, 12:45 AM
THanks for all the help, I have talked to my freind and here is basicly what we decided. Rubber mulch seemed to be too much of a maint. headace ( from what you all have said). We dont have the budget to do the rubber pads/poured surface, even though it seems that the life cycle cost would be the lowest. As of right now I think were going to do pine bark nuggets. Seems like it would be "low" maint. some what dirty, but there would be no splinter factor, which is what the real problem is. BRL, thanks for your info, im going to look into it tommorow Guido, thanks for the offer but i think, unless i can do some more convincing that the rubber is out of the question. I dont have numbers so im realy talking out of my @$$ but it seems logical that the price would increase with a wood based product being the cheapest, then a ground rubber and on the high side a poured or tile rubber. Is this right? I think from talking to him were going to go the el cheapo route, atlest for this school year. Thanks guys !!

08-10-2000, 02:24 AM
Pete sorry but pine nuggets won't pass a safety inspection for the play ground as fall protection. If you do use it you are opening up the church to many insurance problems and law suits. I build parks I know ine bark won't pass for fall protection.

The wood mulch that you want is made for play grounds. Check in your area for a playground installer or with a playground equipment supplier, they should have names and numbers for the right product.
The wood mulch that you need should measure three times it' width, and thickness should be about 1/8" to 3/16" .
If you have problems locating the right wood mulch E-mail me and I'll find the right supplier for you.

08-10-2000, 09:25 AM
What about plain old sand?
Very common here.


08-10-2000, 01:15 PM
Thought about the sand thing but we think its going to be too messy. Paul, Thanks for the info, wouldnt have thought that would be the case, seems like it would be soft enough. Im going to call around today and see what i can come up with. thanks

08-10-2000, 10:38 PM
Just remembered, one of the engineered wood mulches is Fibar, at www.fibar.com. Also can check out Woodcarpet, at http://www.woodcarpet.com.

[Edited by GroundKprs on 08-11-2000 at 02:15 AM]

08-17-2000, 12:11 PM
I just saw a story on the news the other day concerning the rubber mulch. It seems that kids have been lighting it on fire as a prank. The next city over has been particulary hard hit. Several playgrounds have been burned and the equipment a total loss. They are in the process of replacing all of the rubber mulch with traditional mulch.


08-17-2000, 07:06 PM
Little $hits!!!!!!

Of course thats right on line these days, giving the kids something nice, and they show they're appreciation by ruining it. I wish I caught the little pain in the Ass that goes around and cuts our rosebushes at the bottom of the trellis'. I'd wrap him in that rosebush!!!

08-18-2000, 05:41 PM
Rubber mulch from tires.........There will be a lot of Firestone Mulch available soon!

08-18-2000, 06:17 PM
Bob, you ain't jokin man! Hopefully they'll go to good use, right?