An article over at http://www.homewiththekids.com/ talks about home playground safety via rubber tiles. It says that while about 80% of public playgrounds have some form of shock-absorbing protective surface, only about 9% of home backyard playground have the same sort of protection. [Link to full article]
This leads to about 50,000 injuries per year in the backyard playground. 69% of those injuries are directly related to not having some form of playground tiles or other form of safety flooring or rubber mulch to cushion kids from impacting a hard surface.
Most backyard playgrounds have grass or dirt as the surface. Neither of these surfaces offers enough protection against serious injury. Even a fall from as short as 30 inches can cause lacerations or fractures - and these are the most common sorts of home playground injuries according to the CPSC (U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission).
You might not think that playground tiles are important, but as a kid did you ever skin your elbow or knee on cement while playing the in the playground? Or worse, have a fall that broke a bone? That sort of injury could sideline you from playing all summer long. Sure, you get a cast that other kids can sign and you can doodle on it and maybe get some compassion from the girls, but that's not replacement for a whole summer of not being able to run around, go on the monkey bars and whatever else.
But these days there's all sorts of things like playground mulch and playground tiles that are used to cover the ground around areas where children run and play. Rubber mulch is typically used and the tiles that are laid down are typically rubber too, or flexithane. We won't get too into specifics in this post, but in some cases they're broken down using cryogenic grinding. Then they're reassembled into larger pieces, either the mulch or the tiles.
I'm not sure if you grew up going to playgrounds and playing all day and coming home with bruises or scraped knees, but I know I sure did! A lot of those scrapes were due to playground being lined with gravel or rough mulch. Those are two sports surfaces that are a pretty good choice if you just look at the bottom line, i.e. the cost, but they're not very friendly to a leg, arm or knee and not very forgiving.
Now playground tiles on the other hand are a recent update and offering as an option for sports flooring and usage in playgrounds. They're also known as rubber tiles and are also available in a rubber mulch form. The playground tiles are more popular and available pretty cheaply. You'll see them in more and more playgrounds as time goes on.
These rubber tiles come in different thicknesses - from two inches tall to almost five inches tall. This offers a great amount of cushioning, yet is not so pliable that it makes it hard to run or otherwise play on. These playground tiles are able to absorb shocks, allowing kids to run, jump, play, even make a daring leap off a swing set.
A playground surface is typically whatever surface is on the ground around playground equipment like slides, monkeybards, teeter tots, swings, etc. In modern times, many cities have gone above and beyond to protect their kids. Or in some cases, soft earth itself isn't available, it's covered over with asphalt. For whatever reason, sometimes other materials are used to cover the surface of a playground. This is typically referred to as playground tiles - playground surfacing is just another term for it. Playground tiles can also be substituted with poured rubber or loose rubber mulch. Playground tiles are typically made out of rubber as well. Sometimes wood mulch is used.
These types of surfaces are liked not only for their safety but also because they're supposedly eco-friendly and made out of recycled materials. Part of the reasons for it is aesthetics but moreso it's about child safety. They can also be wood chips, bark mulch, rubber mulch or artificial turf grass. Sometimes even simply sand or dirt is used.
Flexithane is a glossy, smooth and seamless finish for floors. It is solvent-free. It's a heavy-duty polyurethane resin system.
It's a floor covering usually used in industrial flooring, but it's certainly not limited to that application. Flexithane has a very long life and provides for seamless finishes. It's resistant to wear - whether it be oil, wear or chemical resistance.