Winter can be a challenging season for outdoor playgrounds depending where you’re located. It’s important that you be proactive to ensure your playground’s longevity. Even though winter is almost over, it’s never too late to begin proper maintenance steps before children return to the playgrounds again.
At SPI Plastics, we take great joy in delivering the best quality products we can. That’s why we want to make sure that every slide, climber, and crawl tube that leaves our warehouse lasts and outlasts. Below are our tips for maintaining a long-lasting outdoor playground.
Before the cold months, unitary surfacing (like pour-in-place rubber) can be damaged by constant freezing and thawing. To prevent this type of damage, it’s imperative that you investigate your surfacing for cracks and any other kind of damage before winter arrives. Fixing these small issues ahead of time will save you time and money once winter is over.
When you use surfacing like wood chips, rubber mulch, or even sand, you will have to take extra care after the winter months. During the process of freezing and thawing, the normally loose surfacing can condense and become hard, defeating the purpose altogether. It will be important to till and add new surfacing to ensure proper safety for youngsters.
As should be done at any time of the year, it is especially important to check the hardware of your play structures to ensure they are in the proper place. Replacing broken hardware is a little more difficult to do in the cold, so regular maintenance by inspecting and tightening will keep your hardware lasting throughout the season.
Loose connections and hardware can also pose a snagging risk. Since children will be more bundled up in the cold months, scarfs and other winter clothing will be a lot more common. Ensure all hardware is in the proper place and that there are no gaps that could catch a child’s clothing.
If the framework for your playground system relies on wooden beams, then there are some considerations that you should keep in mind. The wetter months leading up to winter can damage your wooden structures, causing them to deteriorate. Once winter comes, the damage can be dangerous and pose a huge safety hazard. It’s important to use a wood preservative to protect the integrity of the structure itself.
Snow & Ice
When you live up north like we do, the amount of snow and ice accumulation in the winter is enough to put outdoor playgrounds out of commission until spring comes. For our customers further south, this usually isn’t the case. If you intend on keeping your outdoor playground in working condition throughout the winter months, it is important to check.
Snow and ice can cause normally safe areas of your playground to become dangerous by reducing friction. To avoid having children become injured by falling, it is best to clear away all snow and ice to reduce the risk. It’s worth keeping an eye on areas where you frequently see water accumulating, as these will be the places that are likely to develop ice in the colder months.
Maintaining Plastic Components
Most of the components we create are seamless and made by the process of rotational molding. This means that you can expect our playground components to last through the harshest of weather. But even the strongest materials can get damaged. Check for chips, cracks, or spaces in the seams if there are any. If you discover that your playground component has become damaged, check your warranty status to see if you are eligible.
If a replacement is necessary, don’t hesitate to contact us to get a quote on replacing any damaged plastic components. We’ll gladly aid you in bringing your playground back to full working order in no time!