When Should You Update or Replace Old Playground Equipment?
Knowing when to replace old playground equipment can be tricky. Commercial playgrounds are built to withstand years of kids’ enjoyment, but they are not meant to last forever. So when should playground equipment be replaced?
This article will look at what affects a playground’s durability and how to keep up with its maintenance to maximize the lifespan of your playground through regular inspections. Keeping kids safe is always the top priority, so read on to find out how you can ensure your playground is always a safe, fun place to play.
Read the full article or jump to a specific section:
- How Long Does a Playground Last?
- Playground Maintenance
- When to Replace Playground Equipment
- Contact Miracle® Recreation to Update Your Playground
How Long Does a Playground Last?
The lifespan of a commercial playground depends on many factors. A difference in any of these determinants could dramatically increase or decrease how often your playground equipment should be replaced.
Here are the main variables that could affect the longevity of a commercial playground:
- The quality of its structure
- How much it is used by kids in the area
- What type of climate it is in
- The wildlife it is near
- Damage from severe weather
Because it is difficult to predict many of these conditions, it’s important that you invest in a reliable warranty for your commercial playground equipment. Given the right circumstances and surroundings, your commercial playground’s lifetime could span decades.
Typically, commercial playgrounds are made out of plastic, wood or metal. When thinking about how long a playground can last, take into account what materials it was made from and how those materials fare when exposed to the elements. For example, a metal playground could be prone to rust after rain or a wooden playground could rot, splinter or attract bugs.
You should also consider the materials that your commercial playground is on. As opposed to regular mulch which can decay quickly, other materials such as rubber surfaces, sand, artificial grass or turf, will serve to protect your playground area better. No matter what your commercial playground is constructed from, always prioritize safety above stretching the life of your playground by checking its status frequently.
The best way to ensure kids’ safety while playing on your commercial playground is to keep up with its maintenance. General wear and tear on commercial playground equipment can occur from age, overuse or the weather and lead to otherwise avoidable injuries like tripping over uneven boards or getting limbs stuck in improper openings. To prevent accidents like these, it is important that you keep up with your playground’s maintenance.
Similar to routine car inspections, keep up with the health of your commercial playground equipment by having it looked at by a Certified Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI) regularly. A CPSI will be able to warn you of any existing safety hazards on your commercial playground, along with any maintenance needs.
However, it does not have to take a CPSI for you to know when something is wrong with your playground equipment. You can conduct your own periodic safety evaluations of your commercial playground to minimize any chance of a kid getting hurt while playing on it. To make sure that your personal safety inspections are effective, teach yourself how to identify potentially dangerous situations from deteriorating or damaged equipment and stay up to date on the latest playground safety requirements.
Follow these three steps when evaluating your playground area:
1. Check Broken Equipment
Broken equipment is a threat to playground safety. To protect kids from a potential accident, you need to repair your playground as soon as you notice a part is broken. Pay special attention to any playground piece that includes moving parts, swing chains or stairs, as they pose an extra set of risks.
Additionally, your specific equipment will have its own set of needs and care instructions. For example, plastic playgrounds will need to be checked extra thoroughly for cracks and breaks in the equipment.
2. Feel for Even Footing
It’s important for you to keep the ground surrounding your playground equipment level. Any divots in the grass, gaps in the surface material or dips in the ground could be a tripping hazard. Check the areas around your playground to make sure it is solid, so you can confidently provide a safe surface to play on.
3. Clean Up
Naturally, you will want your playground area to be generally clean and free of debris. Removing litter from your playground area keeps it both clean and safe. Get rid of any trash like broken glass, plastic or food crumbs as quickly as you can to prevent any unwanted animals and injuries on your playground. Don’t forget to double-check areas like walkways and benches for extraneous trash.
When to Replace Playground Equipment
Playground equipment updates should be performed every 8-10 years to keep them maintained. However, many playgrounds can last well beyond 10, 15, 20 or more years. Weather, usage, and quality affect the actual lifespan of your playground.
A bit of wear and tear on a commercial playground is natural, so it can be hard to know when it’s time to completely replace your playground equipment. Some playground pieces are easily repaired, while others aren’t as easily fixed. Keeping track of which parts of your playground you have previously repaired is a good start for knowing when it might be time to replace a repeat repair.
Here are the other main indicators of when to replace playground equipment:
- Complaints or concerns: A dead giveaway that it is time to replace your playground’s equipment is if you start receiving worried calls from kids or their caregivers.
- Obvious breaks: Another clear sign that it is time for you to order new playground equipment is any damage that’s clearly visible to the naked eye. The same goes for missing parts — always replace a piece of playground equipment that is missing a part.
- Defective equipment: Dysfunctional isn’t fun or safe, so make sure you replace your playground equipment any time it no longer operates the way it should.
- Overuse: The most popular pieces on the playground will need to be repaired more frequently than others. If a certain piece has been repaired multiple times in the recent past, it is probably time for you to replace it.
- Out of date: Even an unbroken playground could need replacing. Keep up with the current commercial playground trends by changing your most durable playground equipment.
- Surfacing: If your playground has loose-fill surfacing, you will need to refill it as needed to ensure playground safety.
Contact Miracle® Recreation to Update Your Playground
Whether your playground equipment needs to be repaired or replaced, contact Miracle Recreation to take care of all your commercial playground needs. Miracle Recreation has products designed to bring the thrill back into outdoor spaces, so if your playground is in need of an update, check out the wide variety of structures and equipment we offer.
At Miracle Recreation, we are dedicated to providing you with high-quality playground pieces under a reliable warranty to keep your playground running smoothly. Find the Miracle Recreation representative nearest you today to see how your commercial playground could be improved.