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geofabric for playgrounds

Why Use Geofabric When Installing Playground Rubber Mulch?

February 17, 2016

playground geofabric

Playground rubber mulch has a laundry list of benefits, one of them being the durability and longevity it offers.  Rubber mulch will retain its safety properties for many many years and far outpaces other surfacing options.  That is one of the reasons it's become so popular. 

One thing that significantly contributes to the life and function of rubber mulch is the geo-textile fabric layer.  Geofabric is installed on top of the ground separating the rubber mulch from the soil below.  Geofabric is an often overlooked part of the installation process but offers several key benefits that help keep rubber mulch at its peak performance:


  • Helps maintain the cushioning properties of rubber mulch. When it rains, the ground below the rubber mulch will start to soften and get muddy causing the mud to mix with the rubber mulch.  Over time, the rubber mulch will start to press into and become absorbed by the earth below.  This effect will reduce the shock absorbency the rubber mulch can provide because the layer of pure rubber mulch on top is more shallow than when originally installed. Geofabric prevents this by creating a barrier between the soil and rubber mulch so the two don't mix into each other over time.
  • Helps prevent weeds. Rubber mulch naturally fights weed growth because it isn't organic and doesn't break down over time.  Weeds have a very difficult time taking root in rubber mulch for this reason.  What weakens the resistance to weeds is the introduction of soil, as mentioned above.  By keeping the soil out from below, you're creating a very difficult environment for any weeds to take root.
  • Helps keep drainage systems free of blockage. Many playgrounds have drainage systems to evacuate water as quickly as possible after it rains.  Geofabric helps keep mud and debris that could cause blockage out of the drains.


The best type of geofabric to use on a rubber mulch installation is a thick non-woven fabric.  This is the same type that Rubberecycle stocks and has available to order.   It feels similar to felt and allows water to permeate through it easily.  It basically acts like a filter, keeping the soil out but allowing water through.

To install it, just roll out the fabric and secure it tightly against the border and all of the play structure posts.  It secures to the ground easily with landscape staples.  Depending on the size of the playground you'll likely have many seams where the strips of fabric come together.  Make sure those seams overlap by at least 3 inches.  This will ensure it stays down firmly and doesn't let anything through.