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How To Remove Playground Markings

playground marking removal

There comes a point in time when those long lasting playground markings are no longer fit for purpose and you're left with a marking which is faded, broken and it needs to be removed. The benefit of thermoplastic markings is that they're durable and hard to remove from the playground surface, but that benefit is now a problem as it's hard to remove them.

The good news is that, even though the installation of playground markings involves literally melting the thermoplastic into the playground's surface, removal of playground markings is reasonably straightforward, and there are a number of ways it can be done.

Methods of Playground Marking Removal

Thermoplastic playground markings can be removed using several techniques, each varying in its approach and suitability depending on the specific requirements of the playground surface. Here are some common methods:

  1. Vapour Blasting: This method is a specially formulated mixture of water, abrasive and air pressure. The nozzle means damage to the surrounding surface area is minimal due to the precise application, and there's minimal airborne dust to clear up afterwards. However, the equipment may be loud, which may be disruptive to certain school activities.

  2. Heat & Scrape: Similar to the installation process, this method involves heating the thermoplastic material to soften it, followed by scraping it off the surface. There's minimal damage to the surrounding surfaces, but the final finish may not be as good. It is also labour intensive, which may result in a longer process.

  3. Hydro Blasting: This method uses ultra high-pressure water to strip the playground markings. It's eco-friendly and safe for a variety of outdoor surfaces, including concrete and tarmac. It's an ideal way of gently removing intricate designs and markings on uneven surfaces, and preserves the integrity of the underlying area. The high-pressure water jet technique offers an effective, efficient cleaning, particularly useful for larger playgrounds. It provides an intense clean, balancing time and cost efficiency. This method also minimizes noise disturbance and simplifies cleanup. To implement this technique, all our team needs is direct vehicle access to the site and a consistent water source.

  4. Sand Jetting: This method uses an abrasive, gritty solution instead of high-pressure water. It takes more time than water jetting, but the fine particles make it an ideal method for removing playground markings from more delicate surfaces. It's eco-friendly, doesn't generate fumes, and requires surprisingly minimal clean-up -- however, it may take a longer when removing playground markings from larger spaces.

Each method has its own advantages and considerations, such as cost, efficiency, and the extent of potential damage to the playground surface. The choice of technique often depends on the condition and type of the existing markings, as well as the playground surface material. If you're thinking of playground marking removal as part of your playground makeover, why not book a free site survey? Our experts will take a look at the existing playground markings and suggest the best course of action to get your outdoor play spaces looking as good as new.

Why Remove Playground Markings?

Removing playground markings rather than touching up existing ones may seem costly, but there are a number of reason why this might be a better option:

Aesthetics: A complete removal and redesign can rejuvenate the entire look of the playground, making it more attractive and inviting for children. Educational playground markings will be given an update and a new lease of life, classic playground games like hopscotch can be brightened, and sports court boundaries will be good as new - leaving no debate as to whether or not that ball was offside!

Netball Court exercise track playground marking

Modernisation: Removal allows for updating the playground with contemporary designs and layouts, which can be more engaging and relevant to current educational practices. Pre-existing designs can be more considered - for example, combining a sports court with an excercise track provides a whole spectrum of activities and games in a space-saving package.

Safety and Compliance: Not only does the condition of your playground markings evolve, but so do standards and safety regulations. Removing old markings ensures that the playground meets the latest safety guidelines. Not only this, but worn playground markings that were originally intended as tracks or sports markings may not be as clear - especially to those unfamiliar with the surroundings. At best, this could cause confusion during team sports or PE lessons and at worst, could lead to collisions between players.

Improved Durability: Depending on when your original playground markings were installed, or the material they're made of, new markings typically come with improved materials and application techniques. This offers better longevity and wear resistance, as well as a space that looks brand new, brightly coloured and vibrant.

Customization: Removal provides an opportunity to tailor the playground to specific needs or themes, which might not be possible with the existing layout.

Got an idea for a bespoke playground marking? Want a permanent school logo in pride of place outside the school?

Will playground marking removal cause damage to the surface?

Playground marking removal

Unfortunately, all methods of playground marking removal come with a risk of damage to the surrounding surfaces. Of the four available methods of playground marking removal, sand jetting is the one that results in the least scarring to both the surrounding surface and the surface beneath the playground markings. The type of playground marking will also have an impact on leftover scarring - depending on whether it's paint, thermoplastic or screed. Our playground experts can provide more information as part of their free site survey

New Playground Marking Installation

We've got a whole range of available designs, shapes, games and sports courts that are ready to go. They can be personalised and tweaked however you like -- whether you want a different colour goose on your Duck Duck Goose, or a different size netball court. We also offer fully bespoke designs, giving you the option of a specially-installed school logo, or School Values display. If you've got an idea for something totally different, we can help with that too, from design to installation. Our site surveys are free and thorough - or if you're not sure, you can get in touch for a chat.


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