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How Long Does Playground Equipment Last?

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Knowing the lifespan of playground equipment can be tricky. Commercial playgrounds are made to handle years of joy, but they cannot last forever. So how do you tell you’re running out of lifespan on your playground equipment?

Here we will discuss what affects a playground’s lifespan and how to keep up with its maintenance to maximize the life of your playground with regular inspections. Child safety is always the top priority, and at Creative Play we know this.

How Long Should Your Playground Last?

The lifespan of playground equipment can vary. A change in any of these factors could increase or decrease how frequently your playground equipment needs replacing.

Here are the prime variables that affect the life of playground equipment:

  • The quality of construction
  • The frequency of its use
  • The surrounding environment
  • Local wildlife

Usually, commercial playgrounds are made of wood, metal or plastic. The materials used can impact playground equipment life. For example, metal playgrounds are susceptible to rust when exposed to water, or wooden playgrounds can be affected by bugs or rot.

Another factor that must be considered is the materials that your equipment is on; regular mulch can cause decay quickly, materials such as rubber surfaces, sand, artificial grass and turf, will serve to protect your playground equipment life better. However, regardless of what your commercial playground is made of, safety should be prioritized over increasing the life of your playground equipment by checking its condition frequently.

What is the Lifespan of Your Playground Equipment

To ensure children’s safety when playing on your playground equipment is to stay on top of maintenance. Wear and tear on playground equipment can occur from age, overuse and the weather leading to avoidable injuries. To avoid accidents, it is essential that you keep up with your playground equipment maintenance.

The best way to keep on top of the health of your playground equipment is by having it inspected by a Certified Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI). A CPSI can notify you of any dangers to your playground equipment’s lifespan, and how to remedy them.

However, you don’t need to be a CPSI to tell when there’s a problem with your playground equipment. You can test the lifespan of playground equipment to reduce the likelihood of a kid getting injured when using it. To ensure that your safety inspections are thorough, you should learn how to identify dangerous elements from deterioration to damaged equipment and keep up to date with playground safety requirements.

Follow these steps while evaluating your playground equipment lifespan:

1. Monitor Damaged Equipment

Damaged equipment is a threat to children’s safety. To avoid potential accidents, you should repair your playground equipment as soon as it is noticed. Make sure to pay special attention to moving parts, swing chains or stairs, as these hold an extra set of dangers.

2. Check that Footing is Even 

It’s essential that you keep the ground around playground equipment even. Any changes in the grass, holes in the surface or indentations to the ground can be tripping hazards. Monitor these areas around your playground equipment to ensure it is fit for purpose.

3. Keep it Clean

You want your playground to be clean and free from debris. Remove any litter from your playground to ensure it is both clean and safe. Remove any hazards like broken glass, plastic or food crumbs as quickly as you can to keep any unwanted animals away and ensure injuries don’t happen on your playground.

How Often to Replace Playground Equipment

Your playground’s life should cover for 8-10 years if you keep them properly maintained. Many playgrounds can last over 10, 15 or 20 years. Weather, usage, and quality affect the life of playground equipment.

Here are the main signs of when you should replace playground equipment:

  • Overuse: The most frequently used bits of the playground will need maintenance more frequently than those not used as much. If a certain bit of equipment has needed multiple repairs recently, it is probably due to be replaced.
  • Out of date: A bit of equipment could still need replacing. Keep in fashion with the current playground equipment trends by switching to more durable and more life of playground equipment.
  • Obvious breaks: Another giveaway that your playground equipment is due an upgrade. Missing parts and obvious damage is a good indicator of replacement. 
  • Surfacing: If the surface of your playground is damaged or deteriorating, you will need to replace it as it is key to ensuring playground safety.
  • Complaints or concerns: An obvious sign that your equipment is due replacement is if you start getting concerned calls from children or their guardians.

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