FAQ: Safety Surfacing

What’s the difference between Play Bark and Play Chip?

Play Bark is made from the soft outer layer of trees - it's stripped, harvested, and treated. It’s dark brown in colour and softer in texture than Play Chip. We recommend Play Bark for play areas that receive medium to heavy foot traffic and above all require a soft, cushioned surface.

Play Chip is wood sourced from the inner most part of the tree - it's chipped, and treated. It’s lighter in colour than Play Bark and creates a natural, rustic look. Play Chip is generally the harder wearing of the two materials and will therefore last longer. We recommend it for play areas that receive very heavy foot traffic and require substantial durability.

The choice between Play Bark and Play Chip, however, is often based purely on visual preference. 

What’s the difference between general purpose bark and "Play Bark"?

In order to distinguish bark or wood chip as “Play Grade” it must be treated, and rigorously tested, to comply with Industry Standards for Safety Surfacing.
Our Play Bark and Play Chip products conform to both British and European Standards for Safety Surfacing: BS7188 and ISEN1177. These tests determine "critical fall heights": the height from which a child could fall onto the material without sustaining a life threatening head injury. If you wish to see data sheets for these products, we are more than happy to provide them.
General purpose bark and wood chip products do not undergo such rigorous testing.

How much do I need?

We recommend laying materials to a depth of at least 4” (100mm) in play areas: 1m3 would therefore cover an area of approximately 10m2.

To work out how much you need, you can do the following calculation:

Area Length (e.g. 2m) x Area Width (e.g. 5m) x Material Depth (e.g. 0.1m) = 1 Bulk Bag (1m3)

What are the benefits of using Play Bark and Play Chip?

Both products are clean, safe and 100% natural. They are cost-effective alternatives to synthetic surfaces, and both very easy to install and maintain. As with all of our bark and wood chip products, our safety surfacing materials are FSC sourced.

How much maintenance do they require?

Both require minimal maintenance. The surface may need raking occasionally to maintain even distribution, but other than that they should only need replenished every 2-3 years as they naturally decompose.

Are your play products sourced from sustainable supplies?

Yes, absolutely. All of our bark and wood chip products are FSC sourced.

Can you help with installation?

Yes - for larger projects, we can use our Express Blower to spread materials for you, quickly and effectively. Our blower trucks are used by local authorities, landscapers, contractors and developers across the UK for new play area installations, and routine top-ups. They're ideal for hard to reach areas or enclosed grounds, and keep site disruption to an absolute minimum. If you're looking to install 10m3+, we can help!