Maintaining a backyard wooden play set means many things: tightening bolts, sanding and re-staining the wood after a few years of wear and tear, ensuring that any damaged components are removed and replaced. One of the most frequently overlooked features of wooden play sets is the canopy tarp that is most often found providing shelter over the clubhouse portion of the equipment. A play set canopy can last many years, but over time and when harsh weather conditions come into play, it can become damaged and require replacement.
Wooden play sets come in all shapes and sizes, so obtaining the right replacement play set canopy can be a challenge. There are more features to consider than simply color and size. With a little guidance and preparation, though, you will know exactly what information is needed when it’s time to purchase a replacement play set canopy. Here’s what to know:
What size canopy do you need? Measure the length and width of your existing canopy in inches. Then, calculate the required square footage for the new play set canopy. To calculate square footage, use the following equation: length in inches x width in inches divided by 144. Knowing square footage is essential so that the manufacturer can produce a product that fits your play set exactly.
Stock Canopy or Custom Canopy
Many commercially produced play sets use standard size canopies. For convenience, stock canopies are available in four industry standard sizes:
- 38in x 79in
- 48in x 86in
- 58in x 94in
- 86in x 134in
Stock play set canopies are more affordable than custom canopies. The downside, though, is that stock canopies are usually only available in two solid colors — blue and green. Custom play set canopies can be made to any size specifications. Additionally, there are many more colors available, and you can control design features, such as requesting two color divides or multi-colored stripes. Custom canopies, however, cannot be returned if measured incorrectly because they are custom designed for the individual. If you decide to choose a custom play set canopy, be sure to double check all measurements and specifications before placing your order.
Choosing a Material
Vinyl or canvas? The material that you choose depends on what features are most important to you in a play set canopy. Vinyl is heavy duty, resists mold and mildew, and will stand up to harsh weather. The vinyl should be marine grade, which offers superior strength and durability. Alternatively, a play set canopy can be purchased in canvas. High quality canvas, such as that produced by Sunbrella, repels water, resists mold and mildew, and creates a drier environment underneath. Sunbrella canvas canopies are available in many more colors than vinyl, and they do not fade or lose their color over time. Additionally, they offer more protection than vinyl canopies from ultraviolet rays. While the cost of a Sunbrella play set canopy is higher, so is the quality.
How will you fasten the canopy to the play set structure? If you are purchasing a replacement canopy, make note of how the existing canopy is fastened. Is it attached using snaps? Grommets? These are the two most common fasteners used on play set canopies. The manufacturer should be able to provide you with either option. Be sure to measure the distance between each fastener on your existing structure so that the manufacturer can provide you with a canopy that has fasteners spaced at the same intervals.
Purchasing a replacement play set canopy is not a difficult process, but it involves a bit more preparation than many homeowners realize. Once you know exactly what kind of replacement canopy you need — considering size, color, material, custom versus stock, and fasteners — you should feel confident that you will receive exactly the product that you require.