How thick should I lay it for play areas ?
It depends of course whether the play area is in a public playground, or in your own private garden. Not because your own children's heads and limbs are less important than the general public's, but simply because at home you are not affected by public liability and health and safety in the same acute way as the council or leisure centre are. So, a public play area will probably have playbark that is 300mm deep (12"), whereas a private garden may be 100mm or 150mm deep (4" or 6"). Naturally there are cost implications, in whichever route you take, however it goes without saying that the deeper you have it, the more protection against falling toddlers and kamikaze teenagers!
VOTE OF CONFIDENCE!
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