Supplement Feature - April 2018
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Creature Comforts

Select the Right Furnishings for Your Site

By Deborah L. Vence

Maintenance Ideas

With any furniture purchase, whether indoor or outdoor, some maintenance is required.

"Thermoplastic-coated products have a five-year warranty, but have a much longer useful life expectancy," Clemons said. "Recycled plastic requires almost no maintenance and the wood products are ACQ pressure treated for longer life, too. Checking hardware is the most important maintenance detail."

In addition, equipment should be checked for wear, loose hardware or vandalism at least every six months.

"Depending on the location of the equipment (i.e., high-use areas), it may need to be inspected more frequently," Clemons said. "Damage caused by wear or vandalism can be major factors in injury-causing situations. If a part is broken or worn, it should be replaced immediately."

Steen said choosing site furnishings that are easy to maintain seems to be a top priority for most of his company's partners.

"Many furnishings are not anti-microbial, and many furnishings tend to rust if the steel is exposed to the elements, he said. He added that choosing a product that has a 100 percent plastisol coating that can easily be cleaned and will not rust, "tends to save facility or city management time and money by preventing unnecessary maintenance."

Dealing With Vandalism

It's difficult, if not impossible, to prevent vandalism.

"What a beautiful idea if we could prevent graffiti, but that's not possible," Anson said. "The good news is that, again, because [our products are] dense and non-porous, cleanup is much less labor-intensive than with many other materials.

"Most paints and markers will wash off with detergent, a scrub brush and elbow grease. We test it ourselves at our facility and have used everything from dish soap to mineral spirits and haven't hurt our products, yet," she said.

The fact is that all products that are used in public are subject to misuse.

"The beauty of the thermoplastic-coated products is the relative ease of removing unwanted graffiti from the surface," Clemons said.

For instance, the affected area can be sprayed with various penetrating fluids, such as WD-40, to dissolve the ink or paint without damaging the original finish.

"In general, these types of fixes can be done on site, but that may not be the case depending on the severity as well as the material of the product," he said.

In turn, Clemons suggested, "be sure to contact your supplier and they will be happy to walk you through the best solution for your circumstance."

Steen said that "as a manufacturer, we know that vandalism will happen and sometimes it is often impossible to prevent. For us, we know that most graffiti will easily wash off our products. Some graffiti will not, however, but we try to work alongside our partners to create a plan that works … to prevent damage to our product.

"It's unfortunate we have to deal with these issues," he added, "but we like to think that difficult situations afford us the opportunity to showcase our value."