According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), about 70 percent of the injuries that occur in playgrounds are caused by falls to the ground.
Therefore, a proper resilient surfacing on the ground can help prevent serious injuries in playgrounds. Rubber mulch mats are some of the best surfacing products you can use, in this regard.
Basically, safety standards and guidelines require that the ground below and around playground equipment be surfaced for safety. In addition to safety, there are several other things that you should consider while shopping for the right rubber mulch mats.
Whether it is for gardens, sustainable landscaping or playgrounds, you should consider the steel content, maintenance, UV resistance and coarseness of these products. Below are reviews of five of the best rubber mulch mats you can buy today.
Best Rubber Mulch Mats 2018
|Plow & Hearth 51522 Permanent Mulch Pathway|
|YARDWISE Landscape Rubber Mulch|
|NuPlay Playground Rubber Mulch|
|International Mulch RUBBER MULCH BLACK|
|NuScape 100% Recycled Rubber Mulch|
1. Plow & Hearth 51522 Permanent Mulch Pathway – Best OverallAny of the leading experts in the industry today can attest that Plow & Hearth is one of the leading manufacturers of recycled rubber mulch mats today. Just like other products by this manufacturer, the 51522 Permanent Mulch Pathway is a high quality, durable and aesthetically appealing product. For many homeowners today, aesthetical appeal is a key concern.
In this regard, the 51522 Permanent Mulch Pathway features a unique, traditional wood appearance. This is sure to enhance the beauty of any landscape. Additionally, users love the fact that this product is very durable. As a matter of fact, the mulch is guaranteed to last for years with minimal or no maintenance at all.
When used on gardens, the mulch will prevent the growth of weeds, whilst allowing full penetration of water and air into the soil. Since the mats are cut to fit, you will have an easy time installing them on your own. As such, these recycled rubber mulch mats are a great way to save money on surfacing.
2. YARDWISE Landscape Rubber Mulch – Best for LandscapingAre you looking for the best rubber mulch for landscaping or to smother weed in your garden? Well, you should consider buying the Yardwise Landscape rubber mulch. A considerable amount of landscaping entails beautifying the surroundings, right? In this regard, the product will add appealing color and character to your landscape.
You will also love the fact that the color of the mulch will not fade away with time. The product has been proven to be very durable in any climate. With regards to safety, this rubber mulch is 98 percent steel free. Provided that the mulch is installed properly, it will not blow or float away with time.
As such, the product will offer you long-lasting, low-maintenance mulch that remains vibrant for years. You will get this mulch in 2000 lbs pallets, each of which will cover approximately 450 SQ.FT at a depth of 2 inches.
3. NuPlay Playground Rubber Mulch – Best for Kids PlaygroundIf you are installing new equipment to your kid’s playground, safety should come first. To avoid injuries associated with falls onto the playground surface, you should install the best rubber mulch. The NuPlay Playground Rubber Mulch is one of the best products, in this regard.
It may not be the most affordable product in this guide, but it offers a decent cover. In this regard, 75 cubic feet of this mulch will cover a generous 300 square feet of your playground. This is a great value for money, bearing in mind that the mulch is of the best quality.
The mulch has been proven to offer excellent drainage properties. Additionally, it does not encourage the accumulation of dust on the playground. This way, your kids will remain clean as they play. The safety of your kids will also be guaranteed whenever they are playing on this mulch. In this regard, the mulch is 99.9 percent steel-free.
The product is also ADA approved and certified by IPEMA for ease of installation. Once the mulch has been properly installed, it will never erode, absorb water or float away. This way, you can enjoy years of quality surfacing with minimal maintenance.
4. International Mulch RUBBER MULCH BLACK – Most AffordableAre you looking for the best blend of affordability and quality? Very few products within this price range can beat what this International Mulch product has to offer. With regards to safety, this mulch has been EPA approved and certified by IPEMA.
As such, the product is rendered to be safe for surfacing playgrounds. When used in a garden, it will preserve soil moisture for a long period without absorption. Additionally, the mulch exceeds the current playground safety standards. When properly installed, the product will inhibit the growth of fungi and mold.
5. NuScape 100% Recycled Rubber Mulch – Longest Color RetainingWhether used on a playground, garden or a yard, the NuScape Rubber Mulch will give you the perfect finalizing touch you need. The impressive black color of the mulch has been proven to be a great addition to any landscape or garden. Again, the color will not fade away after years of use. As a matter of fact, the manufacturer offers a 10-year color guarantee on this mulch.
The product is designed to offer the best drainage and to prevent the accumulation of dust. Additionally, it does not attract carpenter ants, termites or any other harmful insects. You will also love the fact that this product has a considerably high fall rating and has been certified by IPEMA.
Things You Need to Know Before Buying a Rubber Mulch Mat
Whether it is for a public or private playground, you will need resilient safety surfacing to minimize injuries. Currently, different materials are being used for playground safety surfacing. The different safety surfacing materials available today differ in terms of installation requirements, maintenance and cost.
Whichever way you look at it rubber mulch mats are some of the best safety surfacing products available today. Although the initial cost of rubber mulch may be comparatively high, it happens to be easy to install and maintain in the long run. Most importantly, rubber mulch is very effective at preventing injuries due to falls in the playground.
However, there are several rubber mulch mat products to choose from in the market today. Well, they all are made of rubber; but not all the rubber mulches available today are the same.
In this regard, here are some of the key considerations you need to make while shopping for the right rubber mulch:
Whether you are using rubber mulch to surface a playground, garden or just on your landscape, safety should be a key consideration. In this regard, you need to check whether the particular product you would like to buy is toxic to plant and animal life in any way. Additionally, it is advisable to buy a product that is inflammable.
This way, you will rest assured that the mulch does not pose any fire risk to the property. As you may be aware, rubber mulch is recommended for playgrounds to reduce injuries associated with falls. To ensure that you get the best safety, in this case, you need to go for the springy and soft rubber mulch products in the market.
2. Steel Content
Most of the rubber mulches available today are made from recycled rubber, particularly from used tires. Since the steel-belted radial tires have wires within their structure, it is possible to have a certain amount of steel particles in the mulch. This can be dangerous, especially when the mulch is used in a playground.
While shopping for the right rubber mulch, it is advisable to opt for the products that have the least steel content—if they have any at all. In this regard, you should go for the products that are at least 98 percent steel-free.
Is the mulch easy to maintain? Basically, rubber landscaping is renowned for its lasting durability with minimal or no maintenance at all. This also applies to the best rubber mulch mats available today. Unfortunately, some of the available products are of poor quality and may require regular maintenance and replacement.
The rubber mulch being offered by the leading brands today is resistant to degradation, fading and disturbance by strong winds or rainfall. Whether you use the product to surface a playground, sports arena, driveways, landscapes, outdoor showers or ornamental gardens, high quality rubber much should be able to last for years with minimal maintenance.
How coarse are the mulch particles? As you may be aware, rubber is generally a flammable material that burns hotter for a longer period. According to the University of California’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, choosing rubber mulch with larger particles reduces the fire risk slightly.
However, this will not do away with the fire risk posed by the material. To be on the safe side, it is advisable to install rubber mulch at least 30 feet from any structure or house.
5. UV Resistance
Even when used on places that experience heavy traffic, rubber mulch is known to be very durable. However, not all the available rubber mulches are resistant to damage by UV radiation. With time, some of the black rubber mulches may oxidize. When this happens, the materials deteriorate in appearance into a chalky appearance.
This will, in turn, ruin the aesthetic appeal of your landscape of whichever surface you had spread the mulch on. In order to avoid this scenario, it is advisable to buy the mulches that have been a UV protective substance or dyed.
Such treated rubber mulches are relatively costlier than the ones that are not treated. However, the treated products will not oxidize with time; hence will retain their appearance over time.
Our Final Review
As compared to organic mulch options, rubber mulch is the most economical option. To begin with, it is relatively affordable to buy, easy to install and will last for years with minimal maintenance.
Over the years, recycled rubber mulch has been viewed as an important addition to any modern landscaping project.
However, choosing the right mulch from the hundreds of products available today can be a challenge. Throughout this guide, the choice of the best rubber mulch mat has been made easier.