A Guide to Playground Markings
How does this work? HELP!
Firstly, let’s start with the good news.
There isn’t a lot you need to know about thermoplastic markings in order to ensure you understand the product and that your school / nursery / college are getting good value for money.
We hope this impartial guide provides a good insight into the type of questions we get asked every day and also provides a greater understanding so even if you don’t choose us… you’ll make sure you’re getting it right.
So that’s the good news, what’s the bad news?
Being completely honest, the biggest hurdle you may have to overcome is cutting through number of claims companies make promising they’re “No.1 in the UK” or “We are the best”. It can be hard to pick a company you have faith in when you don’t know them, and even harder when a lot of the markings look similar to each other.
Our advice… make sure you check out google reviews (spoiler alert: we’re very proud of our rating) see what customers are saying about the company. Phone them up, meet them, talk to the company. Ask them questions, are your teams DBS checked and can you prove it, do you have any additional health & safety training, what guarantees do you have, etc.
With our guide below, hopefully you’ll be an expert in thermoplastic playground markings in no time
Thermoplastic Markings or Paint for Playgrounds?
Whats the difference?
There are two main types of playground marking. Paint and Thermoplastic.
Painted markings are the cheapest method of marking courts / line markings and usually last 6 to 10 months until it will start to fade. However, some brands of painted markings can completely fade within 12 months of being applied! This is something which needs to be taken into account when comparing costs.
Thermoplastic markings are made from a plastic sheet material which is cut into lines or shapes and is usually more expensive than paint.
However it lasts up to 10 years or more, with many providers offering a 4 year guarantee. The longevity of thermoplastic markings depends on the quality of the surface it’s being applied to. Fresh tarmac will yield excellent results , whereas a 20 year playground surface covered with cracks & moss less so as the thermoplastic has less tar to bond onto.
Our playground surface isn’t great…
The good , the bad, and the mossy.
The short answer would be, in 99% of cases it doesn’t matter.
The longer and more informative answer would be, the tar content within a playground’s surface becomes less and less over time. A freshly laid surface is full of sticky tar and it loves to bind with thermoplastic when it’s heated. Less tar = less bind.
However… to counteract the lack of ‘stick’ wthin an aged surface we use a primer specifically designed for thermoplastic markings.
Thermoplastic will still last a number of years on a surface without primer, but we pride ourselves on getting the job done correctly and thus add primer for an even longer life. By adding primer at the time of installation it means your markings last longer and the longer they last the longer it will be until you have to replace them.
Simple. but ultimately worth doing as it saves you money in the long run.
Can you install markings onto astroturf or wet pour?
Unfortunately not. The installation process involves applying a large amount of heat onto the thermoplastic markings so that they ‘melt’ and bond with the tarmac surface. The heat is a high temperature and would significantly damage soft or rubber surfaces like wet pour or astro turf.
Can you remove playground markings or them cover up?
In most instances we can either remove them, or we can cover them up.
Removal makes more sense when the markings stll have a reasonable amount of material left. Simply because if you put new markings on top of old, you’ll still see the bumps and lumps from the material beneath. If the material has been installed badly, and we’ve seen a few of these cases over the years, then it might even be possible to use the edge of a spade or hit it with a hammer to remove it from the floor. Obviously use the correct protective items if doing this yourself, but it can save some money.
Covering up old markings depends on how faded / little of the old marking is left. If the old markings are particularly faded and mostly gone then we can usually apply new thermoplastic on the top of the remains of the old. Even if a few bits of faded marking are still visible around the playground, once the new markings are installed they won’t be very noticeable at all.
We’ve written an additional guide to Removing Playground Markings here.
How does this work??
A simple guide from site survey to installation.
Good news. Yes we do site surveys. They’re free within our ‘green area’ too.
Yellow is a bit farther from us so will incur a £150 site survey fee as it will take us a day to visit you and return. Purple zones are outside of our area.
More good news! We are only a phone call away and are happy to help. Feel free to call to discuss your requirements and ask any questions you have. 01275 463601
Some customers prefer a site visit from us to ensure the markings will fit and to ensure they haven’t missed anything. Some don’t. Its entirely personal preference but it’s good to know we can complete a site survey if you prefer.
Prior to our arrival it is a good idea to have a look at the items you may be interested in, perhaps get some input from the teachers and children who will be using these markings.
We can then meet and discuss your ideas whilst adding our own expertise if needed.
A summary of the process would be…
First we need to establish your requirements either by phone / email or by meeting you on site.
We will then send a design proof & quotation so you can see exactly what the markings will look like & how much they’ll cost.
You give the go-ahead and we start manufacture of your order.
As we get close to completing manufacture we will contact you to arrange a convenient date to install.
We install with a 4 year no quibble guarantee on all our markings and work.
Safety at Schools. DBS? / IoSH / CSCS?
All our installation teams are fully DBS checked on a regular basis. They also carry photo ID & copies of their DBS / CRB checks with them at all times.
Talking of safety…. IOSH Qualified? Risk assessments? Public Liability Insurance?
Each team has at least one person who has passed the Institute of Safety & Health’s training course thereby qualifying them to correctly and competently carry out Risk Assessments.
All team members have passed the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) and have photo ID cards.
We have public and product liabilities insurance for £5,000,000.
As mentioned above, we take our responsibilites seriously and know that we, as a company, need to ensure all our team members are trained to a very high level of competancy.
Plus.. we’re quite friendly too!