Why Rubber Mulch is an Affordable, Sustainable Option for Surfacing

Jul. 14, 2022 Why Rubber Mulch is an Affordable, Sustainable Option for Surfacing

Rubber mulch is trending amongst residential homeowners and commercial property owners, largely because it is a more convenient and sustainable loose-fill material. Many are finding that it's the preferred alternative to traditional loose-fill materials, such as wood mulch, sand or gravel.

Not only does rubber mulch look great, but it also makes surfaces safer and easier to navigate while simultaneously reducing mild, mildew and insects in a given area.

What is Rubber Mulch?

Rubber mulch is a type of loose-fill material that is made from rubber rather than other natural materials, such as wood, sand or gravel. Depending on where you purchase your rubber mulch, you may find that it is sometimes made from a recycled material. At Rubber Designs, we are proud of the fact that all of our rubber mulch products are made from 100 percent recycled materials. We utilize recycled tires in order to create our rubber mulch, ensuring that you are purchasing a sustainable and innovative product.

Many people are turning to rubber mulch because:

  • It is a long-lasting loose-fill material.
  • It is made from sustainable materials.
  • It stays in place once it is poured.
  • It does not attract insects.
  • It is mold and mildew resistant.
  • It comes in a variety of colors, such as red rubber mulch or brown rubber mulch.

Rubber mulch is not only a more sustainable alternative, it's also a more affordable option compared to other poured surfaces, such as bonded rubber mulch or poured-in-place surfacing. For example, bonded rubber mulch could cost anywhere between $10 and $15 per square foot, whereas rubber mulch may cost as little as $3 to $5 per square foot. That said, these prices are a general estimation and differ depending on the location of your project and product availability.

Where to Use Rubber Mulch

Two of the most popular places to use rubber mulch are on playgrounds designed for children of all ages and in residential or commercial landscaping designs.

Playground Mulch

Rubber playground mulch is particularly beneficial because it adds an extra layer of safety to the playground design. This playground surfacing material has a natural bounce to it — helping to buffer the inevitable falls that occur on playgrounds and preventing serious injuries from occurring there. Beyond the fact that it is safer than other traditional loose-fill materials, rubber playground mulch comes in a variety of colors and can make a playground look more fun and appealing to young children.

Landscaping Mulch

Rubber mulch is the ideal landscaping material in both residential and commercial areas because it is a long-lasting and durable material. Unlike natural materials, such as wood mulch, rubber mulch will not blow or float away, it will not be scattered across the lawn, and it will not need to be refreshed and refilled on an annual basis. Beyond that, it still allows for water and fertilizer applications to drain properly, ensuring that all plants that are in the landscaping design thrive and grow with each passing year.

Types of Rubber Mulch

There are two types of rubber mulch for you to consider for your playground or landscaping space. By understanding the differences between these types of rubber mulch, you will be able to select the product that is right for your project.

Loose-Fill Rubber Mulch

Loose-fill rubber mulch is a ground cover, and is the ideal alternative to traditional, natural loose-fill materials, such as wood mulch or sand. Loose-fill rubber mulch is not bonded together, allow it to be easily scattered over a particular surface, including landscaping. It is a durable, sustainable and beautiful solution — it comes in a variety of colors, including red rubber mulch, brown rubber mulch, green rubber mulch and yellow rubber mulch.

Bonded Rubber Mulch

Bonded rubber mulch is distinctly different from loose-fill rubber mulch, because it is a single-layer system that must be poured and installed in a specific area. Bonded rubber mulch can be installed in various thickness levels, allowing you to customize your surface and select a thickness that works for your area. Bonded rubber mulch has more shock-absorbing properties than loose-fill mulch, but it also can only be used in limited types of spaces, such as playgrounds.

How to Install and Maintain Rubber Mulch

Once you have decided that rubber mulch is the sustainable loose-fill solution that you have been looking for, the next step is to install your rubber mulch and learn how to maintain it for years to come. Fortunately, both the installation of rubber mulch and future maintenance is very simple, making it an attainable option for all types of residential homeowners and commercial property owners.

Installing Rubber Mulch

Prior to installing your rubber mulch, you need to prepare accordingly in order to ensure that the installation is as seamless as possible. These are the steps you need to take prior to installation:

  • Measure the space where the rubber mulch will be installed, and purchase enough product to fill that space to your desired depth.
  • Clear the entire surface. There should not be any debris or leftover loose-fill material from previous landscape designs.
  • Create a minimum depth of about 6 inches and grade the area.
  • Install an adequate retaining wall around the exterior of the premises.
  • Consider an optional filter fabric. If you do opt to have a filter fabric installed, make sure that it is installed before the rubber mulch is delivered and poured.
  • Verify that you do not need to install a drainage system prior to installation. Areas with low-lying water or poor drainage may not be ideal for rubber mulch.

Generally speaking, preparing the area for rubber mulch installation requires more work than the installation itself. Once the rubber mulch is delivered and the area is ready, you can pour the bags of mulch into the area. Depending on the size of the area, you may be able to complete the installation on your own, or you may want to ask a few others to help you. Once the mulch has been poured, you will want to use a rake or shovel to evenly distribute the rubber mulch. Be careful not to damage the filter fabric while you are doing this. To make it look picture-perfect, consider smoothing the top level of the surface by hand.

Maintaining Rubber Mulch

Rubber mulch is a durable, long-lasting product that is relatively easy to maintain. However, it's important to keep in mind that with any loose-fill surfacing, shifting can and will occur — particularly in high-traffic areas. Rubber mulch needs to maintain proper height requirements, particularly when it is used as a playground surfacing material. You will want to regularly rake the area in order to maintain the proper depth. In addition, you will need to use a rake or blower in order to clear any debris from the area, such as leaves, sticks, litter, toys or clothing items.

Rubber Mulch vs Wood Mulch

Wood mulch has long been considered the top loose-fill material, but when you compare it to rubber mulch, it's easy to see why this product is starting to become the leading option amongst both residential homeowners and commercial property owners.

Here's what you need to know about rubber mulch vs wood mulch:

  • Rubber mulch is a softer surface with more buoyancy. Wood mulch does not offer the same level of safety as rubber mulch.
  • Rubber mulch is a long-lasting product that does not blow or shift as easily as wood mulch. Wood mulch floats away easily in the breeze, and is often kicked out of the landscaping or playground area. It needs to be topped off on a regular basis.
  • Rubber mulch will not decompose in the same way as wood mulch. Rubber mulch is resistant to mold and mildew, whereas wood mulch can rot and attract more insects.
  • Rubber mulch will not result in splinters, whereas wood mulch can easily split and cause splinters.

How to Buy Rubber Mulch

In order to purchase sustainable and durable rubber mulch, it's important to work with a reputable provider who values high-quality products above all else. At Rubber Designs, we are proud to create rubber mulch from 100 percent recycled tire materials, allowing our customers to enjoy the peace of mind that comes from purchasing a product that is truly sustainable.

Rubber Designs stands behind the promise to deliver products that are better for the earth and better for you. This means our products are made to last. Get a quote on rubber mulch to see how we can best supply your surfacing needs.

Rubber Designs Team

Written By: Rubber Designs Team

At Rubber Designs, we are doing our part to go green by using 100% recycled tire waste, to create durable, safe, rubber products that are better for everyone.