Jungle Gym Maintenance can be a costly exercise if you neglect it for long periods of time.Its critically important to have a general understanding of the material, and what to look out for to ensure the safety of your child.
1.)Treated gum poles
All gum poles are CCA treated “Chromated Copper Arsenate” this treatment ensures that the pole does not rot in the ground,which is why all treated gum poles have a slightly green tint.Gum poles generally last a very long time.Common problems are splitting at the ends and cracking below the deck causing planks to loosen on platforms and rope ramps.Treated poles are completely safe for kids.If you are having problems with poles splitting then ask your local hardware for some gang nails.These are a spiky plate that’s nailed to the end of the pole.
2.)Planks for decks ,bridges and ramps
Planks on the other hand require more attention.Its very important to paint your jungle gym with a good quality wood sealer.Its worth spending a bit of money here.Global warming is a reality these days, and wood is simply getting baked in the hot African sun! if the wood is not painted with a sealer it gets brittle ,and makes the unit look old and tired.You’ll be amazed how a fresh coat can bring your jungle gym back to life.This is jungle gym maintenance 101!
If possible ,try and manually water the area around the jungle gym.The consistent moisture and direct sun is not great for the longevity of the wood.If this can’t be avoided ,then look for a water repellent sealer at your local hardware.The paint industry is exploding, so you wont have a problem finding a good product .
Its very important to consider drainage around the unit.Gum poles are treated for moisture ,but consistently waterlogged areas will be a problem in the long.So try and find a solution to keep the area as dry as possible.
5.)Loose bolts and exposed nails
This can be a problem over time,painting your unit regularly will help a great deal.If nails were used on the platform then I would recommend that you pull them out and use chip board screws instead.
One of the big jungle gym maintenance problems I encounter are loose poles.especially swings.I recommend that you remove some soil from around the pole,mix it with cement and re pack it in the hole.Then pour some water ,and wait a day or two for the cement to set.
7.)Protecting poles from weed eaters
This problem is very common at schools.A great trick is to cut 20 cm lengths of PVC and cut them vertically so you can slip them around the base of the pole.This does wonders to protect the pole from weed eaters eating away at the pole year in and out.
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