Whether you have just taken over maintenance or taken ownership of a school, childcare, community centre or any facility with a playground here is some great tips on how to maintain the upkeep of your playground.
“High-quality playgrounds should last for 10-20 years if you maintain it properly”
According to Superior Recreational Products most playgrounds should be replaced/upgraded every 8-10 years, but when using high-quality products can last between 15-20 years with good maintenance.
Here are some tips on what you can do to prolong the life of your playground.
Firstly, if you haven’t already, start a record of a weekly and monthly checklist and remember to Inspect, Record and Repair as promptly as possible to avoid safety issues this could include:
What should be on your playground inspection checklist:
Broken or missing equipment
Secure anchors, barriers, & panels
Loose or missing bolts and/or clamps
Heavily worn moving parts, swing parts
Cracked and/or broken plastic parts
Rusted, worn, or corroded metals
Broken glass, trash and other debris
Problems with surfacing
User modification such as rope swings
Vandalised, broken and defaced property
Insect damage or infestation
Tripping hazards like exposed tree roots
To maintain your equipment you will need to do the following:
These should be re-tightened and re-adjusted every 6 months so it doesn’t become loose
Check the hinges are all intact and aren’t rusting, have them lubricated twice a year.
Metal bars –
Monkey bars, slide or climbing safety handles or rails have high traffic which can cause the paint to fade off if not looked after, if possible, remove and have re-powder coated depending on the quality and type of the metal.
Climbing wall knobs
For safety, these should be checked every month and re-tightened at least once a year
Check for splinters – you will need to re-sand if there are any and repainted if it was originally.
Check for warping- this could mean the timber isn’t treated and make sure these are taken care of straight away.
Timber staining – All timber should be re-stained every 12 months, no longer then 18 months if you want to reduce the amount of stain paint used which in turn is labour time too… remember a touch-up paint now could save you thousands in sanding and repair later.
Your playground, if painted should get a paint touch-up at least once a year to maintain its fresh look. This could be your fences, your cubby house or if your fort has colour then that too.
Rubber Wet pour
Your wet pour is durable but a good water-blast every 6 months should be used to care for it after it’s laid and will stop it from being blocked by dirt.
Where there is damage you need to fix straight away to stop it from getting worst. Remember if it’s left too long it could be the difference between repairing or replacing.
This is a durable surface with a life-cycle of approx. 10-15 years but manufacturers normally only warrant it for 8 years. To prolong the life of your turf it should be cared for with a water blast and a power broom at least once a year, if not every 6 months to keep the grass looking fresh and bouncing in the right direction. If there is a tear have the patch replaced but make sure it’s done with the same material or you will end up with patches if the cost is an issue maybe look at creating fun shape. If it has been uplifted get it re-pegged or glued straight away. If it’s wrinkling have someone pull it tight in the corners and re-pegged.