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What’s the Best Material for Playgrounds – Timber or Steel?

At adventure+, we are often asked: “What’s the best material to use for a children’s playground?”. If you haven’t asked yourself this question, you should before you get too far into the playground planning process. In our opinion, there is no right or wrong answer; each material has its purpose, and strengths.



The case for steel playground equipment

Why choose a steel playground? Steel offers advantages including:

  • Colours: Steel playgrounds are most often powder coated, so you can choose virtually any colour in the paint chart and customise your playground. Choose more subtle colours that blend with the environment, get us to match your brand colours, or ask for striking bright colours that turn your playground into a statement.
  • Longevity: Steel is hard wearing and durable. In the right location, and properly maintained, your steel playground will last at least 15 to 20 years.
  • Low maintenance: Being tough, your steel playground won’t need much maintenance apart from regular inspections. If ongoing maintenance costs are key for your new playground purchase, steel is a great option.

The case for timber playground equipment

Advantages for timber include that it is:

  • Natural: Timber looks and feels softer than steel, is warm and inviting, and often provides the aesthetics that suit more natural environments such as a site that is among trees. Timber playgrounds are popular for high-profile architectural playgrounds, natural settings and early learning centres.
  • Customisable: Timber provides greater scope for customisation and flexibility of design. This flexibility allows for designs with large or irregular platform decks, which are excellent for improved traffic flow, accommodation of a large number of users and providing for the needs of users with limited mobility.
  • Seaside friendly: Timber is your go-to material if you are anywhere coastal. Salt and steel do not make good playmates, and rust can be a major issue. Timber is a great option if you are creating a playground near the ocean where there is a possibility of salt spray.
  • Environmentally friendly and sustainable: If you choose an adventure+ timber playground, you have the satisfaction of knowing that our White Cypress timber is harvested from sustainable sources, and not treated with harmful chemicals.

Hybrid solution

For those playgrounds where you want a rustic feel but need the durability of steel and the colour options steel offers, why not combine timber and steel? Using steel for the structure, then timber for cladding and platforms, offers all the flexibility you need for your playground.

Can’t decide between a timber or steel playground?

We understand that the decision-making process can be complex. That’s why it’s good to have experts on hand to talk you and your committee through your choices and take the emotion out of the steel/timber equation.

adventure+ has been helping councils, schools and developers create exceptional play spaces for over 35 years. As both designer and manufacturer, we understand your need for flexibility, and can combine materials so you get the playground that best suits your needs and your location.

Call us on 1300 237 587 and one of our helpful team will be happy to advise you.

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