Painting and Decorating Made Easier!

When children play on playground equipment, all that is on their minds is to have fun. The condition, color, or durability of the coating on the equipment’s surface does not matter to them. That is left up to the adults to figure out.


Regardless of who does what, “Mother Nature” is always hard at work. Regularly, it adds to the maintenance needs of anything outside that requires painting. Because of this choosing a paint, that will stand up to the elements, is the key step in creating a well-groomed, and safe, play area.


Most playgrounds have multiple types of equipment. Therefore, they may require several kinds of finishes.


A list of some “recommended coatings,” and the surfaces for which they are best suited.


  1. Solid and semitransparent oil or latex stain. Apply to pressure treated dimensional lumber and sheeting materials. Use brush and or roller to apply.


  1. Urethane color and clear coat. Apply to tubular ferrous and non ferrous metals. Coating provides superior abrasion resistance and protection from the UV rays of the sun. Use spray finishing only for the finest application.


  1. Enamel or Alkyd paint. Apply to wood and metal substrates. They are an excellent substitute for Urethane, though not quite as hard a finish. Use brush, roller and spray methods.


  1.  Ammonia-based acrylic primer sealer and a Urethane finish. Apply to rigid hard plastic objects. Spray finishing is recommended.


A Note on: Surface preparation


Abrasion is a major consideration when painting something that children will play on.


To guarantee the adhesion of a finish: Make sure to remove all loose pre-existing paint. Power tooling is the easiest method. Use electric sanders and grinders to help create a smooth surface prior to priming.


Be sure to use a tack cloth to remove all dust, especially when spray painting. If the surface is ultra smooth, like with metal tube construction, use an adhesion promoter or primer. These products are designed specifically to bind with the chosen finish paint system.


A Note on: Protecting your finish


Even when your finish paint is applied, the finish must be protected from the elements. This step will further guarantee a lasting finish.


To achieve, apply a clear coat. This product will protect the surface from moisture, uv rays of the sun, abrasion from wind, and wear in general.


Today, clear coat systems are available predominantly in an acrylic emulsion, and also single and two stage Urethane catalyzed systems. Acrylic enamel formulations are also available.


To preserve the appeal and safety of a children’s play area:


Two things should be done to preserve any children’s play area. Including one in their own back yard!


  1. Maintain its look and functionality.
  2. Keep it clean, freshly painted, and in excellent repair.


When these basic rules are not followed, problems tend to happen. Repeatedly! Because of the playground equipment!


  1. The play equipment may deteriorate, and fall apart.
  2. A child is found crying, because of suffering from a cut, splinter and/or bruises.
  3. Something much worse can occur.


A true story…


My mother was four years old. During a family reunion, she fell onto hard, sharp stones at the bottom of the park slide. She scraped and burned both knees and hands, one elbow, and her face. She bled a lot. Her parents rushed her to the local doctor’s office. She required stitches. Now, over seventy years of age, she still has visible scars.


Note: In the 1940s, playground slides, swings, merry-go-rounds, etc. were constructed of steel.Playground equipment ground areas were covered with stone. No playground equipment was constructed of flexible, padded, cushiony materials.


Protect our children. Make and keep their playgrounds safe!


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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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Copyright 2015. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved


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