Trampoline pads cover the springs of a trampoline. They protect little fingers, toes and even hair from getting caught in the springs. They also prevent more serious accidents by blocking the gaps between the springs where kids might fall when they land whilst jumping. But these pads are exposed to the elements, and can crack when they dry out or freeze.
To keep your trampoline pads from drying out, use a vinyl barrier cream on the pads to protect them. This barrier cream will keep the PVC flexible and more able to withstand the UV of the sun’s rays. This will protect the pads from cracking in the hot sun or in freezing conditions.
Let’s go through what trampoline pads are made out of, why they are used, and how to best protect them from drying out and cracking.
What Are Trampoline Pads Made Of?
Trampoline pads are made out foam surrounded by a water-resistant cover.
The best trampoline pads are made from 1” closed cell expanded polyethylene (EPE), often tapered to help with water run-off. This EPE is resistant to mold, mildew and bacteria.
These high quality pads are then covered a high quality 0.5mm UV-resistant polyvinyl chloride (PVC) either heat sealed, or closed up with a marine quality stitching. This PVC is very difficult to tear or rip, and is perfect to withstand the elements and children.
Cheaper trampoline pads are made of open cell foam, with a covering that is not UV-resistant. These more budget options are likely to dry out and crack within 3-6 months.
Do Trampoline Pads Deteriorate?
Trampoline pads do deteriorate with age and exposure to the elements. The amount of time it takes for different trampoline pads to age is where you will find a real difference in quality.
The first part of the trampoline pad to deteriorates is generally the Velcro or cloth ties. These ties attach the trampoline pads to the frame. This leaves the pads liable to flap about and be more exposed to mechanical damage.
The next part to deteriorate will be the topside of the PVC, especially near the ladder as the kids climb over it to get in and out of the trampoline. This will start to fade, and then small pieces of it will wear away, exposing the foam underneath.
Then, larger pieces of the PVC will come off, and as more of the foam is exposed, then part of the foam will be worn away. This isn’t good for your trampoline pad, or the environment.
If the stitching is not UV-resistant, the thread used in the stitching can rot fairly easily also.
How Long Does A Trampoline Pad Last?
A poorly made budget trampoline pad might last only 3-6 months. These pads are open cell foam with a thin covering. These wear out quickly in the weather, as well as where the kids climb over it to get in and out of the trampoline.
Premium trampoline pads can have a warranty for up to 10 years. This is where you will find UV-protection, thicker PVC and even heat sealing rather than stitching that can deteriorate in the sun.
This is one area where it truly pays to understand what quality you are buying.
How To Keep My Trampoline Pad From Drying Out?
To keep the trampoline pad from drying out, I recommend using a vinyl protective barrier cream to act like a conditioner.
I like this one, the IMAR Stamoid Marine Vinyl Protective Cream, (LINK: ). Now, this is a marine vinyl cream and is designed for boats, however, they are exposed to even harsher conditions compared to your backyard trampoline.
I like this product because it contains UV-protection to extend the life of the PVC and plasticizers to keep the PVC flexible. These bind to the PVC and form a nearly invincible barrier.
You’ll want to apply it every 2-3 months. It will stop the trampoline pads from drying out.
You could also use a rain cover if you don’t have a safety net, or keep the trampoline out of direct sunlight.
Are Trampoline Pads Necessary?
In my view, trampoline pads are necessary. They protect kids from getting their hair, fingers or feet stuck in the springs.
This is important if you have a couple of kids jumping at a time. One kid might be lying on the trampoline mat sometimes with their hair or hands draped over the springs, and the other will be bouncing. It’s easy to see how the extended springs can pinch the skin or catch some hair easily.
How Do You Clean A Trampoline Pad?
To clean a trampoline pad, use soapy water and a soft cloth. You can also use a soft bristle brush if you need to scrub at any especially dirty areas.
1. Take a soapy bucket of water and a sponge.
2. Wash the vinyl pads, and remove any dried-on dirt with gentle scrubbing action. Pay special attention to the topside, as well as the stitching.
3. Rinse off the sudsy water.
4. Dry the pads well with a cloth or leave them to dry in the sun.
5. Finish by putting on the vinyl protective barrier cream. Rub this in well with a fresh cloth, putting most of it on the topside of the pads. Do include some on the bottom-side, as this will still be impacted by freezing conditions and rain run-off.
Trampoline pads are necessary to protect the kids, and can dry out and crack in the hot sun or freezing conditions. You can keep your trampoline pads from drying out by using a UV-protective barrier cream.