How important is the use of play foam in artificial grass installations in children's playgrounds?
The installer or contractor must know that it is necessary to install a play foam under the artificial grass that will be installed in a children's playground, as this material creates a "safety surface" that protects and prevent children from being hit and hurt if they fall while playing or jumping from a high surface. In addition, play foam is required by law when the play area is not installed in a private area: school, parks, or any place where people can take their children and be confident that the play area is safe because the artificial grass is not a safe surface on its own.
Features and models of play foam
The main component of play foam is polyethylene. This material is the one with the best shock absorption. For this reason, in Diamond Artificial Grass we offer a play foam that has 67% polyethylene and 33% other organic aggregates. However, the impact absorption does not depend only on the thickness of the play foam but on the size of the grass, since if it is only 1 inch, it will have less capacity to absorb the impact than 2 inches.
4 x 5 feet
1 1/2 inches
De 1 a 9 feet tall
10 years if installed correctly
4 x 5 feet
De 9 a 12 feet tall
10 years if installed correctly
Correct installation of the play foam
The correct way to install the play foam is as follows:
- Place the different panels interspersed like bricks and not parallel to each other.
- Leave a space equivalent to the width of the index finger, so each panel of the play foam does not touch.
- It should not be glued to the floor, but you shouldn't use nails either.
The reasons why you should never install the play foam with nails are:
- Although the play foam sinks when it gets an impact, like a kid jumping or falling on it, the nails always remain in place, that is, they do not sink, so children can be injured or cut with the nail head protruding on the surface.
- The second reason why you should never install the play foam with nails is that due to the expansion that the material will have in the hottest hours of the day, since its main component, which is polyethylene, is sensitive to changes in temperature, even worst if it is placed next to nails.
- Due to the flexibility of the play foam, every time it receives an impact, the sheets of it will again expand and occupy the space between one and the other for brief moments, although later they will return to the initial size if they are installed together, these when expanding will collide with each other and this over time can cause wrinkles and cause both the play foam and the synthetic grass to rise and deform.
Play foam drainage
Play foam sheets are shaped to drain through perforated holes that drain approximately 45 gallons of water per hour per square yard. But this will only work if the base on which the play foam will be placed is correctly prepared to drain that amount of water. If the base does not meet the drainage specifications required for the project, the surface will puddle even though the play foam does its job properly and it appears that it is not draining as it should.
During the installation
The material of the play foam is made specifically to be used in conjunction with the synthetic grass that will cover it. That is why it should not be exposed to direct sunlight, except when moving for installation. Now, if for some reason it must be placed under the sunlight for a while longer, it is necessary to immediately cover it with a thick cloth such as tents or sacks to prevent the sun's rays from hitting it directly and prevent it from lifting the corners or the surface ripples. But if it curls, the way to fix it is to flip it, put it face down, and with time it will take its shape again.
How to install the play foam in a project with synthetic grass?
Let's see how to install the play foam in a playground to get the best results:
- Secure the grass in a children's play area, and install the polyboard around the perimeter of the playground.
- Then the play foam has to be placed loose, interspersed, and separated.
- Then the grass is installed on top of that.
- The grass must be attached to the polyboard using nails or staples.
- Stretch the grass and then fill it with silica sand.
All those steps support the play foam and keep it in place, allowing it to have no obstacles around the center of the playground.
If you want to make any adjustments to the corners or edges to the play foam to make some curvatures, a machine like this can be used:
If you are interested in this topic and want to continue learning about the artificial grass business, we invite you to read other interesting specialized articles on our blog. But if you want to learn more professional techniques, sign up for Diamond Artificial Grass University classes in English and Spanish. Register here: https://diamondartificialgrass.com/pages/events-diamond-university.