Heading into 2020, we have the safest playgrounds for our schools and parks we have ever had. Children can run carefree without fearing unnecessary injuries, while parents and teachers can relax knowing that the little ones are playing in a safe area.
This is in large part due to rubber playground surfaces like poured-in place rubber and improved rubber playground tiles. Not only do these technologies keep today’s playgrounds safe, but they also make them attractive and cost-effective.
Playground equipment and the materials that go into making rubber surfacing have evolved throughout the years. Science and engineering continue to create more features that keep our children safe. Still, playground architects and school administrators need guidance when they are building these play areas.
That’s where IPEMA comes in.
We’ve written in the past about “What does it mean to be “IPEMA certified.” The International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association’s (IPEMA) Certification Seal for Public Play Equipment means that a supplier conforms to the play industry’s highest standards for safety and accessibility.
How IPEMA Helps
IPEMA provides certification services for play equipment and surfacing in the U.S. and Canada. This means they monitor the quality of playground surfacing materials intended for public play.
Nearly 25 years ago, 12 playground equipment manufacturers formed IPEMA to validate manufacturer compliance to the safety standards outlined in ASTM International standards (ASTM is the organization that develops and publishes technical standards for all kinds of materials, products, and services).
The original goals for IPEMA included:
- Make playgrounds safer
- Represent and serve play equipment manufacturers
- Provide members with information on economic and governmental issues affecting the industry
- Promote relationships with other related organizations to enhance the marketplace
For schools to have the latest playground equipment and surfacing, materials need to be supplied by a trusted and reliable manufacturer. IPEMA’s belief is that using products that are held to ASTM standards holds the manufacturer and the products to a higher level of quality. This helps customers select an appropriate manufacturer for their playground products with confidence and peace of mind.
How IPEMA Helps Communities
IPEMA sponsors Voice of Play, a website that fosters relationships between schools and the community with information about the physical, social, emotional, and cognitive benefits of play.
Voice of Play also has information about the latest in playground certification standards, as well as a forum to submit questions to the experts on play at IPEMA. The Newsroom area of the site provides helpful blogs on topics that range from bullying on the playground to creative ideas for playing in the winter months.
Other aspects of the website include:
Checklist for Access: This checklist provided helps owners of public play areas understand how to use the Department of Justice’s Standards for Accessible Design. The Checklist (which you can find here) has info about access route dimensions, surfacing requirements, play equipment ramps, and transfer stations for playgrounds of all sizes.
How to Choose Surfacing: Through research, consultation and collaboration with those on the front line of the playground industry, IPEMA published a surfacing guide to provide a complete source of regulations concerning proper installation and maintenance of all IPEMA-certified playground surfaces, including artificial turf, engineered wood fiber, interlocking tile, poured-in place and rubber mulch. The guide provides an overview of different types of surfacing materials, as well as detailed information on the installation and maintenance of materials to ensure both safety and access.
Play Pledge: Outdoor play is an essential part of every child’s healthy growth and development. As a parent, you can print and sign this pledge to make your child’s play a priority by creating a “play program” with your child. Make a commitment to ensure that your child has at least an hour of outdoor play a day at home and/or at school.
As an IPEMA partner, No Fault is proud to stand behind the safety and integrity of our playground safety products. The following No Fault products are certified by IPEMA under ASTM F1292-18 (Section 4.2):
- No Fault Safety Surface
- No Fault Bonded Rubber Mulch
- No Fault Safety Tile
Contact No Fault toll-free for all of your playground surfacing needs at 866-637-7678.
No Fault’s rubber safety surfaces bring beauty and safety to playgrounds, daycare centers, splash pads, pool decks, and theme parks across America.
Poured-in-place rubber safety surfaces (also called “PIP”) are popular because they give school and park administrators and others a durable, low maintenance, long-lasting way to keep kids safe.
PIP rubber safety surfacing is mixed on-site in a variety of colors to complement playground equipment or to integrate your school colors and themes. Installers can even modify the thickness to meet varying critical fall heights, which minimizes the risks associated with falls.
A newly installed playground surface should last for years to come, but basic maintenance is needed. The maintenance and cleaning not only preserve the integrity of the surface for safety, but also helps to keep it looking vibrant and welcoming to users.
To explain how you (as the proud new owner of a play area equipped with No Fault Safety Surface) can protect your new investment, read on!
Basics of Safety Surface Maintenance
The amount of maintenance and repair work you’ll need over the next few years will depend on the amount of use your surface receives. Most of the time, only small repairs are necessary in very high traffic/high use areas (underneath playground swings, at the base of slides, and at main entry points, for example). If you want to be proactive and prevent normal wear and tear, wear mats can be installed in these high traffic areas.
Remember, it is important to address maintenance needs at the first sign of wear. The longer you wait, the more expensive it can become. You don’t want to have to replace your entire playground surface, so some basic care along the way helps to keep your No Fault products performing as intended.
Here are six tips that should help:
- Perform Monthly Maintenance
Remove loose debris such as sand, dirt, or leaves that have collected on your safety surface using a broom, leaf blower, vacuum or water hose monthly. We recommend removal of debris on a more frequent basis if your playground is near significant foliage and prone to excess leaves collecting or growth alongside the edges. You may also use a pressure washer as long as you adhere to all No Fault Safety Surface Maintenance Guidelines.
- Remove Isolated Stains
Safety surfaces that are installed outdoors can become heavily stained in isolated spots. To clean these problem areas, wet them with a garden hose, then apply a full-strength all-purpose cleaner such as Formula 409. Scrub the stain using a 10″ medium-bristle basin scrub brush like the one pictured here:
You may need to repeat the process on extremely difficult stains. Stains may become harder to clean the longer they sit, so it’s wise to address the problem area right away.
- Clean the Entire Surface
In addition to removing isolated stains, you should also clean the entire surface from time to time. Again, you’ll start by getting the surface damp, then apply a mixture of full-strength all-purpose cleaner and water using a garden pump sprayer like this:
Clean a small section at a time to ensure you don’t overlook an area, which could cause streaking or a spotty appearance. Also, be sure to follow the directions included on the cleaner you choose. Once you clean the surface, rinse it thoroughly using a garden hose with a spray nozzle attached.
- Clean in Early Morning or Late Evening
Here’s one a lot of people don’t consider! In order to give cleaning products enough time to react without evaporating, it’s best to perform cleaning during the early morning or late evening.
- Use Recommended Equipment and Supplies
Here is a list of equipment and supplies we recommend that you use when cleaning:
- Broom, Wet/Dry Shop Vac or Blower
- Garden hose with spray nozzle
- Garden pump sprayer
- All-purpose cleaner in hand-held spray bottle
- Disposable rags and gloves
- Cleaning and rinsing buckets
- 10″ medium Bassine bristle scrub brush
- JOMAX House Cleaner and Mildew Killer (manufactured by Zinsser)
- Avoid Using Harsh Chemicals
The following chemicals can be detrimental to No Fault Safety Surface and could result in termination of the No Fault Safety Surface warranty. We strongly advise against their use.
- Chlorine bleach
- Hydraulic and lubricating oils
- Paint thinners
- Mineral spirits
- Heavily concentrated degreasers (e.g., Greased Lightning or Simple Green)
No Fault Safety Surface should give you attractive and safe surfacing for years to come, but routine maintenance will keep it in top-notch shape. Follow these six tips to help prevent costly repairs down the road.
Do you have an old surface already in need of repair, cleaning or resealing? Even if your initial surface wasn’t installed by No Fault, we are here to help! For more information on cleaning, maintenance or repair options, contact our office, and we will be glad to help!
Shawme-Crowell State Forest is in the town of Sandwich, Massachusetts in Barnstable County. It is a 700-acre oak forest that offers more than 15 miles of trails for hiking, horseback riding, and camping.
Thanks to our partnership with John Hollerbach of Creative Recreation, they now have an amazing wilderness / forest themed playground area that fits naturally into the surroundings. Creative Recreation provided woodsy-looking Miracle play equipment complete with rocks, logs, a frog, and a giant snake (yikes)! At least this snake does not bite!
We provided and installed our No Fault Safety Surface in attractive blue and green colors to brighten the look. These colors enhance imaginative play as well providing the feel of transition from land to water. Wilderness lovers are really enjoying this imaginative playground!
No Fault works with Playground Equipment Reps all throughout the country who provide state-of-the-art, fun and imaginative play structures. No Fault provides and installs our No Fault Safety Surface rubber safety surfacing, which can include in-laid designs / patterns to match any theme. We can also provide other options to meet any budget including safety tiles, bonded rubber mulch, loose-fill rubber mulch and synthetic play turf.
Give us a call today and speak with one of our Regional Account Managers. They can assist you in designing the playground of your dreams!
At No Fault, we view parks and playgrounds as magical places: places that bring communities together. We view them as a place for children to develop social, physical, and cognitive skills that will benefit them well into adulthood.
Although playgrounds have been around for a long time, making them more modern and safe by today’s standards is a key part of making these magical places serve practical functions.
In today’s article, we are going to discuss how a “safety first” makeover can go hand-in-hand with cosmetic upgrades. If you are thinking about renovating your playground in the near future, read on!
Safety First Means Regular Maintenance
Playgrounds must be regularly inspected to ensure children have access to safe equipment. Someone on your team, preferably a certified playground safety inspector (CPSI), should inspect the equipment on a regular basis for defects and hazardous conditions.
Proper inspections not only focus on the equipment but also focus on the environment and surfacing around the play equipment. Replace anything that no longer functions properly, shows signs of extensive wear and tear, or is missing pieces and parts. Look for anything that poses a risk of injury and resolve the issue as soon as possible.
Pay special attention to:
Hard surfaces: Start by looking for one of the biggest hazards on playgrounds—hard surfaces. There are several protective surface options when it comes to commercial playground equipment to fit any budget. Products like our No Fault Safety Surface (poured-in-place rubber) provide the cushioning needed where the risk of falls and head injuries exist.
Improper openings: While you are inspecting your playground, look for areas where small children can insert their head or limbs. Getting one body part stuck while the rest of the body keeps moving is a scary thing to have happen. Since we all know children are curious and never stop exploring, your playground upgrade should include identifying all the openings where children’s limbs could become trapped whether on purpose or accidentally.
Wear and tear: Weather along with normal year in and year out use makes playground equipment hazardous over time. Not only are faded surfaces and chipped paint unattractive, they can also be clues to potentially harmful problems. Screws and bolts may be rusted and loose. Sharp edges may form over time. If your outdoor play equipment is looking run-down, make sure it’s structurally safe before adding a fresh layer of paint and calling it a day. While the paint may make the equipment look updated, the injury hazards are still underneath the surface.
If you already have an existing poured-in-place rubber surface that is showing wear and tear, that’s an easy fix! We can do a “recap” of the area by installing our No Fault Safety Surface (cap only) to make your playground surfacing look brand new! It’s much more cost effective since the sub-base and rubber surfacing are already in place on the existing playground. If your sub-base is also compromised, we can repair and patch the areas needing additional safety measures.
Here are pictures of an existing playground area we recapped with our No Fault Safety Surface at Crestline Park in Birmingham, Alabama:
Do You Need a Playground Makeover?
If your playground was built one or two decades ago, it likely was not built to match today’s rigorous safety standards.
If the design and safety features (or lack thereof) of your facility reflect an outdated approach to playground construction, it is definitely time for a makeover – for safety and appearance.
If you regularly inspect surfaces for any hazards and monitor the condition of play equipment and surfacing, you will know when the playground needs more than just a facelift.
Start Planning Your Makeover
Start by taking a long, hard look at where you can minimize unnecessary and avoidable risks like those presented by aged or unkempt playground equipment. You don’t always need a big budget to revamp your playground. We know funding can be a deterrent from upgrading your playground. Check out our blog on funding options for creative and enterprising administrators!
Start by considering the needs of the children you serve. Get a clear vision of what you want to achieve; determine what your playground lacks; and decide how you can best focus on the areas that need the most attention while staying within budget. Ask yourself questions like: should you fix, replace, or remove broken equipment or is there a section of the playground that doesn’t get used often that can be eliminated to focus funding on other areas?
Advancements in design and maintenance have revolutionized playground equipment. Replace broken plastic and rusty metal with next-generation equipment.
Make sure safety surfacing is not an afterthought! Most playgrounds are surfaced with loose-fill terrain such as wood chips and gravel. A flat, unitary safety surface like our No Fault Safety Surface will reduce accidents and encourage children who are wheelchair-bound or similarly disabled to explore and interact with others.
Transforming a playground can mean bringing beauty to the community itself. A fun and imaginative playground experience will draw in families and visitors making your playground a destination instead of an afterthought.
An old or unsightly playground does not serve as the center of a community’s growth, whereas a modern and attractive playground serves as an asset to the future of the community.
In 2019, few things are more beneficial to a prosperous community than a playground. Children’s interactions during play build self-esteem, self-awareness, and communication skills. The sensory stimulation helps to develop memory and problem-solving skills.
Playgrounds should serve as a place where children experience the freedom to have fun. As the adults, it is our job to ensure their worry about the risk of injury is minimized. As such, always make sure playground areas are regularly inspected and that you replace equipment before it becomes dangerous. When it is time for a makeover, appearance is important, but more importantly, keep safety first on your mind!
Public school administrators, commercial & private park owners, school boards, and park and rec administrators have a great deal to consider when planning a playground renovation: accessibility and ADA compliance, sustainability, safety, maintenance costs, and child engagement. Contact No Fault to help you find affordable playground surfacing for a fun and safe space to play.
Whether you are remodeling a playground or designing a new one, there should be one thing on your mind – SAFETY.
But if you ask the children what should be the biggest consideration, they’ll probably say: Make sure it’s fun!
In case you have not noticed, most children become bored easily. They need something new and engaging to hold their interest.
If you’re imagining an exciting playground for children, try using our No Fault Safety Surface, which can include different colors in the layout, as well as inlaid designs to enhance your theme. Our poured-in-place rubber surfacing is not only safe, but it allows you to build a playground with more personality including brighter colors and engaging shapes. It can be incorporated with your equipment to provide an overall theme enhancing the imaginative play experience for children.
A themed playground is perfect for capturing the imaginative spirit and gives children a space to embark upon their own make-believe adventures. Here are some exciting playground design ideas that are guaranteed to make your playground as fun and as safe as possible.
Forest / WildernessTheme
Shawme-Cromwell State Forest in Sandwich, Massachusetts wanted a forest/ wilderness theme for their new playground. No Fault partnered with John Hollerbach of Creative Recreation who provided the woodsy-looking Miracle playground equipment along with a giant replica of a snake! At least this snake does not bite! We installed our No Fault Safety Surface in attractive blue and green colors to brighten up the look and provide the feel of water and land.
Our customer at Hickory Lane Park in the Village of Jackson, Wisconsin wanted a playground to complement their existing tropical themed splash pad, and a modern safety surface that was accessible to children of all abilities. Ericka Steltz of Northland Recreation provided Little Tikes Commercial equipment in bright colors including palm tree post toppers. We provided and installed our No Fault Safety Surface with in-laid designs that depict water and waves, islands with palm trees, and lots of friends to the ocean like sea turtles, octopus, fish and more!
Beach / Beach Ball Theme
What beach would be complete without a “beach ball”?! Our customer at Liberty Lagoon in Baton Rouge, Louisiana wanted a colorful beach ball pattern in several areas on their splash pad play area to add an element of fun. We installed our No Fault Safety Surface in a spectrum of colors so vivid, the beach balls appear to be three-dimensional!
Geometric Shapes Theme
Using brightly colored geometric shapes is a great way to enhance the playground surfacing to make it more fun for children! We partnered with Jason Corbett of Little Tikes Greater Boston Area to install our No Fault Safety Surface with colorful inlaid circles and squares in teal, blue and light green at The Eliot School in Boston, Massachusetts. It was exactly what our customer wanted, and the children love it!
The playground themes mentioned above are just a few of the endless possibilities when using our No Fault Safety Surface!
Our No Fault team is experienced in developing all kinds of themed and designer playgrounds, fully complying with the latest safety “best practices” to ensure your children are protected from serious injuries in their play.
For assistance in planning your next colorful, themed playground, contact No Fault today. We can make your playground dreams a reality!
E-Kids Learning Center is located in Chattanooga, Tennessee and offers day care services for young children. No Fault partnered with Playworld Preferred to repair their poured-in-place rubber playground surface provided by a previous installer in 2016.
Brittany Garrett, Installation Manager with Playworld Preferred, mentioned that the previous installer did not use the proper thickness on the wear coating, nor the proper amount of binding agent on the original surface. As a result, the surfacing started falling apart. Jay Ratelle, No Fault’s Vice President of Operations, met with Brittany on-site to inspect the area and determine the best solution for repairs.
No Fault repaired the entire wear coat surface (9,450 square feet) on three playground areas as well as the small animal shelter. There is currently a combination of new Playworld Preferred equipment and existing equipment on the site. The terracotta red and tan colors for the rubber surfacing are a striking combination.
Besides being seamless, slip-resistant, and providing critical fall height protection for children using the playground, our No Fault Safety Surface can include several different colors in the rubber surfacing layout, as well as inlaid designs to match any theme you might want.
If you would like more information about our No Fault Safety Surface and our other rubber surfacing products, please contact one of our Sales Associates today. They will be happy to work with you on your new playground project!