1. Missed the live Ask the Expert event?
    Not to worry. Check out the archived thread of the Q&A with Ken Hutcheson, President of U.S. Lawns, and the LawnSite community in the Franchising forum .

    Dismiss Notice

Rubber Mulch?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by pete, Aug 6, 2000.

  1. pete

    pete LawnSite Member
    Posts: 70

    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?

  2. paul

    paul Lawnsite Addict
    Posts: 1,625

    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.
  3. southside

    southside LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 790

    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.

  4. Guido

    Guido LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,085

    PETE -

    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!!

  5. BRL

    BRL LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,211

    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.
  6. pspadaro

    pspadaro LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Posts: 7

  7. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,969

    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!
  8. pete

    pete LawnSite Member
    Posts: 70

    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 !!
  9. paul

    paul Lawnsite Addict
    Posts: 1,625

    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.
  10. southside

    southside LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 790

    What about plain old sand?
    Very common here.


Share This Page