Friday, January 15, 2016

Winterizing Outdoor Sports Equipment

Winterizing Outdoor Sports Equipment

Proper maintenance of your outdoor sports equipment shouldn’t happen only in the spring and summer months! Ensuring that your facility’s outdoor equipment is prepared for winter’s extreme temperatures and excessive precipitation is sure to save your facility time, money and hassle! Check out these helpful tips from GARED to keep your sports equipment lasting longer and looking new for years to come!

Prior to the start of winter, it is important to inspect all of your sports equipment to assess its condition. Look for cracks or rusting in steel or aluminum equipment, splinters in wood products, chips or breaks in glass, and tears or rips in padding or other foam products. Then check all hardware for proper tightness and evidence of rust. Also, we suggest lubricating all moving parts such as pulleys, actuators, crank handles, and wheels with grease or oil to prevent rust caused by excessive moisture, snow, sleet, or ice. Promptly repair any problems or replace the equipment to prevent the damage from getting worse during the harsh weather elements of winter.

If your outdoor equipment is portable or installed in ground sleeves, one of the easiest ways to keep it from getting damaged during the winter months is to move it into an indoor storage area. If your equipment is installed in concrete or not easily transportable, consider covering it with a large tarp or heavy-duty plastic and secure with zip ties, straps, ropes, or bungee cords to protect it from cold temperatures and precipitation.

Temporarily removing padding and accessories from your outdoor sports systems is a simple way to keep it from getting ruined during the cold season. Some of the most common removable types of accessories include nylon or poly netting (found on basketball rims, soccer or lacrosse goals, tennis and volleyball systems, and outdoor batting cages), net clips and hooks, removable basketball rims, pole pads, backboard padding, crank handles, flags, cones, tetherballs and ropes, and volleyball boundary markers. These accessories are typically easy to remove and can be re-installed quickly when spring arrives. If your accessories do get damaged, rotted, or ripped during the winter months, call GARED for inexpensive replacement accessories, most of which can be shipped in 24 hours. We offer a comprehensive selection of outdoor accessories for just about any outdoor sport!

Perhaps most importantly, do your research and prepare as much as possible before purchasing your equipment. Be mindful of changing weather patterns and consider the location where the items will be installed. Will your equipment be susceptible to direct sunlight without shade, high winds, or even flooding? If so, it may be necessary to look at alternative locations. In addition, make sure to buy steel products that have been galvanized at the factory whenever possible. Steel that has been through the galvanization process has increased durability and protection to withstand cold temperatures and moisture. Also confirm that the manufacturer uses zinc-plated hardware on its outdoor products. GARED uses only hardware that is zinc-plated because it is stronger and more protected against rust and corrosion. Finally, consider adding a powdercoat finish to your outdoor system for even further protection again weather elements and extreme temperatures. GARED offers optional powdercoating in a wide variety of attractive colors to match your park, playground, or school colors.

For additional information on evaluating your outdoor sports equipment, visit GARED’s website at Here you can download our PlayRx™ Equipment Evaluation Form, which is an easy checklist to assess your indoor and outdoor sports equipment in the winter and all year round!

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