Lifespan Kids Products & Maintenance - About Our Wood
Fir is a fast growing, light weight, naturally decay and insect resistance timber that makes it great for outdoor furniture & products. It’s extremely versatile, can be cut and sawn into different wood profiles, making it perfect for all equipment from a small sand-pit to a large cubby house. You’ll find Fir on our popular Large Sandpit, Cooper Climb and Slide or Warrigal Cubby House.
New Zealand Pine
Our dimensional square cut or round pole equipment is built from New Zealand Pine, which is extremely adaptable to our Aussie climate. New Zealand Pine Timbers have an extremely long life, and are kiln dried to prolong the life and strength of the wood. All New Zealand Pine timbers pieces are subject to ACQ Treatment to protect against wood decay and insect damage. This timber is extremely hard and durable, making it perfect for large structural frames such as a swing set frame, or monkey bar frame.
You’ll find New Zealand Pine on our dimensional swing sets such as the Forde 2, and on our best-selling Amazon Monkey Bars.
A type of softwood, cedar has a low shrinkage factor in comparison to other timbers, this means that cedar has high levels of resistance to warping, twisting and checking. With its signature warm red look, cedar wood is an excellent thermal conductor, making it ideal to keep cool in the summer and cosy in the winter. These properties make cedar, without a doubt, a great choice for our play centers and cubby houses.
Cedar is found on our BYD Play center range, such as the Monticello or Prestige Play Centers.
Lifespan Kids believes in protecting the environment for the future generations, by sourcing from sustainable timber sources.
Look for the Sourced from Sustainable Forests badge on our products and support for the fight for renewable forests.
High Temperature Treatment & Stained Timber
For most of our products built with Fir, our timber is high temperature treated and stained with an all-purpose water-based coating for water resistance, UV-Protection, and just gives it a great colour and timber look. We recommend painting over a protective surface or stain over time to help pro-long the protective layer.
Our warranty will only cover regular insect damage and will not cover damage caused by termite infestation.
Alkaline Copper Quaternary (ACQ) is a water based wood preservative method, used to protect our products against decay, rot and insect attack, without the use of arsenic and chromium. This helps ensure that the timber used in your children’s play sets, will last much longer than normal untreated timber, whilst still maintaining that earthy green look.
Certain products have ACQ Treatment, please look for the ACQ logo in the product features if you are after ACQ treatment
Alkaline Copper Quaternary (ACQ) is one of the safest forms of wood treatment available today. In comparison to its alternative, Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA) contains the toxic compound arsenic and is the cheaper option. CCA treated timber can leak arsenic which, although harmless in small quantities can quickly add up and is not the preferred option especially for equipment designed for kids. ACQ is completely arsenic free and provides the benefits of stained wood, while remaining completely safe for children.
Additionally, ACQ is a greener preservative and a more sustainable option. Meaning that there is less waste and overall environmental damage from this process.
While natural timber products are extremely sturdy and durable, timber products are organic and can be influenced by its surroundings. This means that temperature changes and moisture levels changes can be cause natural splits and checks in the timber as it shrinks and dries over time.
What causes wood to shrink & how does it affect quality?
All woods are hygroscopic, that is, it will absorb or discharge moisture to attain equilibrium with the surrounding atmosphere. Typically, in the Australian climate, it is common to experience a loss of moisture. The loss of moisture content from the wood, results in the shrinkage of wood due to the loss of water. This can be interpreted by some that it weakens the overall quality of wood. However, in reality, the opposite occurs. In fact, seasoned timber (dried timber) contains properties that make it superior to wet timber. Listed below are some of the advantages:
- Strength- The drying of timber results in increased strength, bending strength and stiffness
- Hardness- As the plant cells become more compressed, it results in a structure that is harder and more resistant to bumps and other damage.
- Weight- The decreased water content considerable reduces the weight of timber
How long does it take for timber to dry?
Most of our timber pieces are kiln-dried to speed up this process before we pack and ship out our products to you. However, dried timber will still retain a small % of moisture and will continue to dry when being built and used. Timber dries from the outside to the centre, this is a lengthy process which can take up to 6 years to reach its equilibrium moisture content (EMC).
What causes wood cracks?
When our timber is first sourced from New Zealand and other sources around the world, much like the human body, it is composed of a considerable amount of water, this can range anywhere from 40% to 400% of the log, in other words some timber logs can hold up to 4 times its weight in water! During this manufacturing process the timber is further air dried, stained and treated to ensure that our swing sets are safe and secure for creating our play sets. However, whilst this process drastically reduces the water content of our timber, it is not completely removed.
As a result, the wood drying process continues well after being installed in your backyard. The drying process generally results in the shrinkage of wood, as the wood shrinks, checks may begin to form in the exterior of the timber. This is recognised and accounted for by timber framers and engineers as a process which doesn’t compromise the integrity of the wood.
Is this unsafe?
Lifespan Kids is all about providing safe equipment for children to use. We understand it can be a cause for concern for the quality of timber, however, we assure all customers that all products have set tolerances so that the structural integrity is not compromised when natural occurrences such as timber cracks takes place. We do this by sourcing the correct diameter and size timber pieces to allow for any eventual timber drying cracks.
When should wood cracks be a concern?
Most of the wood splits will never become large enough to affect the reliability and strength of our products, however, there can be rare cases where splits can occur. This happens when a crack develops past the halfway point from the timber, splitting it into two separate pieces.
Feel free to contact us with detailed pictures of your product so we can assess and ensure that your playground remains safe.
Timber products will require care and maintenance as it weathers over time. We recommend to:
Check over the product every season.Check
Sand away any sharp points or splinters.Sand
Coat or Re-coat the timber with an appropriate layer of surface protection such as a stain or paint finish.Protect
Follow the recommendations provided in the instruction manual.