Supplement Feature - April 2020
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Everything In Its Place

Furnish Your Site the Right Way

By Deborah L. Vence

Skalka said that "It's not easy being a piece of outdoor furniture that's expected to endure abuse from all kinds of hazards—baking sun, torrential rain, disrespectful pigeons, skateboarders and amateur graffiti artists—and still do it with style."

Her company's steel products, she said, are "coated with a polyester powder coating that averages 8 to 10 mils thick and is applied in-house to ensure the highest level of quality, providing a low-maintenance, high-durability protective layer.

"This," she said, "saves on labor, energy and material for replacements in the long run. Joints are sealed to prevent liquids getting into the areas where it is hard for the powder coating to adhere, while signature friction-eliminating hinges on our receptacle side-doors are composed of embedded precision stainless-steel pivot pins and oil-impregnated bronze bushings for reliable all-weather durability year after year.

"Best of all, to ensure longevity, just clean with non-pressured water or a damp rag regularly," she added.

While wood can look great, it "requires annual maintenance (application of stain/sealer) to maintain its like-new look and to prevent splinters and rotting," Munro said.

"Concrete maintains best when seal-coated annually, especially polished surfaces," he said. "Coated steel will last as long the lastic is virtually maintenance-free. Any scratches or cuts can be repaired by applying heats and smoothing the area. Aluminum might need to be washed once in a while to keep its like-new sparkle, but is for all intents and purposes maintenance-free."

While Marler said her company's products are highly durable and low-maintenance, she stressed that it is important to follow routine steps to "help protect your investment by extending the life of the products, manage potential risk and empower community pride with a great-looking outdoor space."

They comprise the following:

Installation: "A bad installation can derail any great product. During the installation process, please make note of safety warnings and follow installation instructions closely. Installation instructions include a specifications sheet which list every part used in the product and can make the requesting of replacement parts more seamless."

Frequency: "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. 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."

Finishes and materials: "All equipment should be free of rust and should be repaired whenever necessary to deter further rusting and damage."

Hardware: "Proper maintenance of equipment requires regular tightening of all bolts, nuts and setscrews. All protruding bolts should be covered or cut off and finished smooth. Sharp edges on pipes should be capped or removed."

Modifications: "Adaptations or modifications to the product in the field could create a safety concern and can void the warranty."

Cleaning: "Products can be wiped down with a mild cleaner … or just soap and water. Graffiti can typically be removed by using a cleaner …" she said. "Regular maintenance is necessary in this and all park and recreational equipment to ensure the safety of the user." RM