Commercial Playground Equipment
When you think of your favorite childhood memories, chances are they involve playing on playground equipment. Commercial playground equipment is built to withstand the rougher, more frequent use of kids in public facilities like parks, schools, day cares and housing complexes.
Whether you’re looking to upgrade your playground with classic slides and swings or want to add more innovative, educational play elements, these manufacturers have you covered.
Wood playground equipment is great for those on a budget or who prefer natural materials. It is very versatile and can blend in with a rural landscape or stand out as a beautiful addition to a city park. However, wood structures are slowly going out of style as plastic and metal are more durable and designed with CPSC and ADA guidelines in mind.
Using wooden play equipment helps children learn about nature by encouraging them to spend more time outdoors. It also promotes social development by encouraging communication skills as kids interact with each other and take turns using the equipment.
The most common type of wood used for playground equipment is pine, which is a cheap and readily available softwood. It is treated with a preservative to protect it from moisture, termites, and other damaging insects. When choosing timber, look for “Premium Preserved” pine to ensure a quality product that is safe and child-friendly.
When installing a wood playset, it is important to have an experienced professional on-hand to supervise the construction process. A pro can help you mark off a level area, frame the structure as needed, and attach all activity accessories and the canopy, if included. Regularly checking the surface material to ensure it provides adequate protection and comfort for kids is essential, as well. Using deicers during winter and coating wooden equipment with chemical-free sealants or preservatives in summer can help prevent long-term damage.
In addition to providing excellent traction for kids, metal playground equipment is play equipment durable and long-lasting. This material can withstand harsh winter and summer weather, and it does not splinter like wood. Also, because it can be welded, metal equipment offers more stability than wooden playground components. It is also available in a variety of colors, making it easy for playground designers to create unique and fun designs that fit each site’s theme.
The drawbacks of metal playground equipment include the fact that it can heat up quickly, especially in direct sunlight, which could present a burn risk to kids. Fortunately, playground equipment manufacturers can mitigate this by using a coating that increases the temperature threshold at which metal becomes hot enough to cause burns. For example, a lacquer coating raises the threshold to 68 degrees C or 154.4 degrees F while a polyamide 11 or 12 coating increases it even further to 77 degrees C or 170.6 degrees F.
Another concern is that metal equipment can rust, presenting a safety risk to kids who may accidentally catch rusted equipment on their clothing or skin. Rust can also lead to structural damage, as the rusting eats away at the metal. To prevent this, playground designers use a range of finishes and treatments that provide both long-term lubrication and resistance to corrosion.
Thick Roto Molded Plastic
If you’ve ever been a kid at a playground, you probably remember the fun of climbing up on a chain link wall. These colorful, freestanding play structures are made from rotomolded plastic that’s durable and fade-resistant. They’re a great way to improve hand/eye coordination and confidence while kids enjoy the exercise of maneuvering up, around or down the wall.
The rotomolded process, also known as rotational molding, is used to create hollow double-walled products by placing the raw material into a play equipment mold that’s then heated and rotated in tandem until it’s completely melted. This unique manufacturing method is popular for a variety of industries due to its low tooling costs and high tensile strength with uniform wall thickness.
Some common rotomolded products include containers and tanks, furniture and outdoor accessories. The water sports industry relies almost entirely on rotomolding for their boating, canoeing and kayaking vessels. Rotomolded products are commonly seen in a wide range of sports and recreation equipment as well, including slides.
Burke offers several rotomolded playground accessories, including our sturdy, 9 inch plastic border. This accessory helps to retain protective surfacing and complies with CPSC and ASTM safety standards that require at least 9 inches of depth. The molded plastic border is available in multiple lengths and colors. It also features ribbing inside for added strength.
Kiln Dried Certified Lodgepole Pine
Kiln dried certified lodgepole pine is an excellent choice for outdoor playground equipment as it is both strong and durable. It is also naturally rot resistant and pest-free. The wood can be left untreated or finished with a natural oil, stain, or paint. When treated with an environmentally friendly wood preservative, it can last for decades and withstand harsh weather conditions.
Wooden play equipment complements many different environments and can be used to help children connect with the natural world in a way that other materials cannot. In addition, it is softer and less likely to break than steel and as such provides a safer and more forgiving environment for bumps and bruises that are inevitable in the course of active play.
Maintenance staff members should also receive regular training in the safe operation of playgrounds to make sure that they are able to identify and respond to potential hazards promptly. The National Parks & Recreation Association offers Certified Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI) classes that provide extensive training on how to inspect playgrounds and assess risk.
The use of wooden playground equipment helps to create jobs in the timber industry and encourages local economies in rural areas. It also has a positive impact on the environment as it requires fewer resources to produce than its plastic equivalents and often outlasts them by several times. In addition, it is more recyclable and sustainable than metal.