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Childrens Play Bark and Woodchips

We are often asked which is better, play area bark or play area woodchip?

There are some definite differences with these childrens play area chippings.

Play bark chippings are made from the actual soft bark coating of trees. The trees are harvested, transported to sawmills where their bark is stripped off them. There are various grades of bark, some are used for play parks, some are used for gardens.

The types of bark selected for use in childrens play areas are pine bark. This is because the bark is softer and chunkier and therefore great for a child to fall on if their play goes wrong. These pine barks are graded into 2 seperate products.

We have standard play bark or play bark nuggets. The standard play bark is perfect for most domestic, garden or school situations. The play bark nuggets are normally specified for play grounds with heavier usage (schools, local authorities, leisure resorts etc).

For bark to be classed as play bark, it must have been tested to comply with the standard: BS EN 1177:1998. See our play grade bark certification here.

So next let's consider play grade woodchip. What is it and how is it made?

Firstly you need to realise that there are 2 types of woodchip, new and recycled woodchip.

New play ground woodchip is manufactured in timber sawmills. Whenever a sawmill is producing timber products like railway sleepers or fencing, they will have offcuts left over. Some of these are manufactured into firewood or kindling but most is put through their woodchipper.

Sawmill woodchippers pulverise wood down to make 2 further products, woodchip and sawdust. These products are created by screening the pulverised material. The result of this is the woodchip that is made is very low in dust or oversize pieces. This product is then ready for kids playgrounds.

Recycled woodchip is a product of the growth in material recycling. These chippings are made of all sorts of recycled products from packaging and pallets to joiners waste.

The material is shredded, similar to the new woodchip product, but then run over both magnetic tables to remove metal such as nails or staples, but also run over a special type of metal detector that can remove non-ferrous metals such as copper and aluminium.

The result of this is a completely safe product ready to be used as a ground covering and impact absorbing childrens play ground material. This type of woodchip can also be died to a section of colours, from blue and green to red and yellow.

The advantage of both the woodchip products is that they dry out faster after rain and last longer once put down. They do initially feel a bit rougher than play bark but once the kids have played on it for a while it knits into a fantastic play grade surface.

So there you go 2 fantastic, safe and cost effective playground products. Whichever you choose, your kids will play safely and cleanly.

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