A trampoline is a decent investment for your yard. Trampoline should last for years, and will benefit from regular care and maintenance. This should help extend the life of the trampoline and make your trampoline last longer, as well as give countless hours of fun for the kids.
We’ll start by going through your Seasonal Guide to Trampoline Care what you need to do during each season to care for your trampoline. We’ll then go through what you can do to protect your trampoline from each of the elements. Finally, we’ll look the specifics of caring for and maintaining each part of your trampoline.
Let’s jump in!
Seasonal Guide To Trampoline Care and Maintenance
In general, trampolines are designed for the elements. But there are small steps you can take to optimize the outcome for your trampoline in each season. We’ll start by looking at winter.
Winter Care for Your Trampoline
Whilst it is fun to bounce in light snow, a harsh winter can exact a toll on trampolines. The main danger is the weight of the snow. Snow can build up and become so heavy that it stretches the springs of the trampoline. In serious cases, it can even deform and bend the metal of trampoline frame itself.
Whilst it’s possible to replace springs, once the frame is bent, the trampoline is unsalvageable and shouldn’t be jumped on.
Snow and Trampoline Care
The best way to care for your trampoline when it snows is to not let any decent amount of snow build up. A small amount of snow at the start or end of the winter season is fine as it will melt quickly.
However, as you get deeper into the season, you will need to be diligent about getting the snow off the trampoline so that it doesn’t accumulate. If you get too much snow for this, then you’ll be better off storing it for the winter (see below).
After each snowfall finishes, use a stiff bristle broom or leaf blower to push the snow off the trampoline. You’ll have to work carefully around the safety net if you have one, and get the snow past the safety pads. Try not to use a sharp shovel as this can go straight through the trampoline mat, particularly if it is a few years old.
Just make sure that you don’t put the excess snow under the trampoline mat if you still expect to be jumping on it.
Storing a Trampoline for Winter
If you have a lot of snow, or you’re not up to keeping the snow off the mat, I’d recommend that you store the trampoline for the winter.
The easiest way to store a trampoline for winter is to put it directly in a barn or big shed. Get a couple of strong and willing helpers to help you carry the trampoline in. If the ceiling is high enough, the kids can even continue to jump all through the winter, and burn off that indoor energy.
If you don’t have a barn handy, you can dismantle the trampoline, and then store the pieces. Take off the safety net and padding, then use a spring tool to remove the springs. Put them into a labelled box. If you misplace any at this point, it will be painful in the spring, so be careful not to misplace any. (I speak from experience!).
The final step is to unbolt or unscrew all parts of the frame. Store the pieces out of the way in a shed or garage. Once this is done, you have successfully winterized your trampoline.
Spring Care For Your Trampoline
Spring arrives as the snow melts and the days get slightly longer and warmer.
Depending on what state you are in, you might find that it’s wetter. Good news, trampolines do fine in the rain as they are designed for outdoor conditions.
You might want to check the condition of your trampoline annually, and this is a good time to do it. If you reassembling after the winter, or just doing annual checkup, getting the maintenance in before the kids start playing on it is a good idea.
In spring, look for new surface rust, loose bolts or missing springs. You’ll want to remove any surface rust, tighten the bolts and replace missing springs. Deep rust can’t be fixed, as the rust has eaten away part of the frame.
Summer Care For Your Trampoline
The heat of summer and the UV rays from the harsh sun bring their own challenges to a backyard trampoline.
How To Protect A Trampoline From The Sun
The most important part of the trampoline to protect from the sun is the mat.
The danger is that the mat deteriorates under the UV rays, and then splits or tears whilst being jumped on.
Most good quality mats have UV protection incorporated into the plastic fibers of the mat, and this extends the life of the mat. However, some cheaper mats don’t have any UV protection. In this case, the plastic mat will deteriorate quickly, and you will be lucky to get six months from it in the sun.
If there is UV protection built-in, you can tell when it is starting to breakdown as you will get bits of black coming up on the kids’ clothes and skin after they have been jumping. This is the carbon being released. Unfortunately, it means it is now time for a new trampoline.
Trampoline Getting Too Hot In the Sun
Depending on where you are, the metal in the springs and frame can get incredibly hot under a blinding sun. This can be uncomfortable if you are trying to get on or off the trampoline, and can cause burns in extreme cases.
To cool your trampoline down in summer, you can put it under a shady tree (watch for over-hanging branches!), put the sprinkler on for summer shenanigans and fun, or use a shade cloth over the top of the trampoline. With the shade cloth, this will work better for little kids who are less likely to hit their heads on it.
Trampoline Pads Drying Out
In the sun, the protective pads that sit on the trampoline springs can dry out. These pads are made out of a vinyl material. Whilst some vinyl pads have UV-protection built in and will last longer, all vinyl will crack in the sun over time.
To keep the trampoline pads from drying out and cracking over time, I recommend a vinyl protective cream.
This one, IMAR Stamoid Marine Vinyl Protective Cream is designed for boats where they are clearly exposed to the same amount of sun as a trampoline. You’ll want to apply it every 2-3 months. It acts as a barrier cream on the vinyl and will stop the trampoline pads from drying out.
Fall Care For Your Trampoline
When fall comes around, the main consideration are the leaves from the deciduous trees in your yard.
You’ll want to keep the trampoline mat from leaves as much as you can.
It’s not just soft leaves that fall from trees. It’s also small twigs and seeds, which can be sharp and pointy. These can damage the trampoline if they get stuck in the mat, and can also hurt little feet. You won’t even see them if they are buried in the leaves when the kids jump.
I recommend either a leaf blower or a soft-bristle broom to clear the leaves.
Trampoline Care and Maintenance – By Element
Caring for Your Trampoline in the Wind
Trampolines are normally fairly heavy stable pieces of outdoor play equipment. But get a good strong wind under the mat, you’ll be amazed at how quickly your trampoline turns into a sail. If the wind is strong enough, it will turn into a missile.
If not anchored properly, a trampoline can fly through the air and damage your property, your neighbor’s property, or even hurtle down the freeway.
It’s critical that you keep your trampoline stay safe on the ground.
The best way to keep your trampoline safe in the wind, whether storms or hurricanes or just a strong wind, is to anchor it to the ground.
You want to keep the mat flat, so that the wind can’t get underneath and blow the entire thing away.
The best way to anchor a trampoline against big winds is with corkscrew or auger-style anchors. These require a lot of force to pull out of the ground.
If you have more of a mild breeze, you can use U-shaped anchors, also called wind stakes. These will hold your trampoline in the wind, but not quite as well as the corkscrew style ones.
And in a pinch, or when your trampoline is on concrete, you can also use sandbags.
Caring for Your Trampoline in the Rain
Trampolines are designed for the outdoors, but they will still benefit from some protection against rain. The main challenge here is rust on the trampoline springs and frame.
Most good quality trampolines are made from a high-grade steel, which has been hot-gal dipped. This means the metal tube of the frame and springs have been dipped in a vat of hot galvanizing zinc, and so is coated inside and out. This gives it protection against oxidization and thus rust.
However, trampolines get banged and nicked over time, and so the metal can be exposed. And some cheaper trampolines don’t have any zinc protection at all.
To treat rust on a trampoline, it’s important to get to it whilst it is still surface rust. Once it has eaten through the metal and damaged the structural integrity of the frame or springs, it is too late.
When you have surface rust, the best approach is to use a wire brush to get rid of the red coating. It will come off like a powder. You can then wipe it with a cloth and spray it with galvanizing zinc. It looks like a spray paint, and is effective for putting a protective layer back over the metal.
Caring for Your Trampoline Against Bird Poop
Bird poop might be a natural part of the outdoors, but it’s not good to have it on your trampoline.
Bird poop generally has a number of bacteria that are dangerous to your kids’ health, and so you’ll want to get it cleaned up as soon as possible. And then you’ll want to try to minimize birds roosting on or near your trampoline!
For prevention, I’d start by not putting your trampoline underneath trees where birds are nesting or roosting. Then consider putting bird spikes or cable ties around the top of the trampoline safety net to stop birds from landing on the top of the net.
To clean off any bird poop, wait until it is dry. You don’t want to just smear a wet bird poop into the mesh of the mat. Once it is dry, you can flick it off, or carefully use a scraper to lift it. Wash any remaining spots with a soapy disinfectant. Be sure to rinse it with clean water so that no slippery suds are left.
Caring for Your Trampoline Against Algae and Moss
If your trampoline has been around for a while, especially if it’s been in a shady damp area, it may get a build up of algae or moss on the mat, safety pads and even the safety netting.
To clean your trampoline of algae and moss, use a high-pressure washer, or an algae removal chemical such as Wet ‘n Forget.
After struggling with this myself, and being uncertain about whether the high-pressure washer would damage the mat, I wrote to the manufacturer. They told me, “You can definitely use a pressure washer to clean off the algae on the safety net and mat.”
Care For Your Trampoline By Part
Care and Maintenance for Your Trampoline Frame
As the trampoline are used over time and stay out in the weather, there are two main watch-outs for trampoline frames. These are that they can get rusty in the rain, and the bolts can become loose over time with a good amount of use.
To care for your trampoline frame, ensure that you wipe it down regularly with a damp cloth. This will allow you to see whether there is any rust appearing. If rust does appear, give it a good rub, and then apply galvanizing spray paint.
Every year, or more often if the trampoline starts being noisy, give the trampoline a good shake, and see if it jiggles more than expected. If it does, you may need to tighten the bolts. Take note of where you start, and work your way around the trampoline legs and frame, and test every bolt. If it’s loose, tighten it with the screwdriver, Allen key or wrench, whatever you need.
Care and Maintenance for Your Trampoline Pads
The pads of the trampoline are probably made of a UV-resistant vinyl. When intact, the water just runs off them, except for around the stitching. UV-resistant vinyl is fairly good in the sun, but over time will mildew in the shade, or will split in the sun. Once water gets into the pads, they will deteriorate more quickly.
To care for your trampoline pads, put a vinyl protective barrier cream over them every 2-3 months. This will stop the UV-rays from drying out the pads. Be sure to apply it over the stitching and underside, as well as the topside exposed to the sun.
Care and Maintenance for Your Trampoline Mat
To care for your backyard trampoline mat, you really do need to start with a UV-protected mat. If the mat doesn’t have any UV protection (often carbon black bound to polypropylene), it is likely to last only 4-6 months. With the UV protection, there are some manufacturers that give up to 10 years warranty. When the UV-protection is starting to run out, you’ll find that the kids’ feet start to turn black when they jump on the trampoline. You can’t fix this, it’s just time to get a new trampoline mat.
To keep the trampoline mat in top condition, you will want to keep it clear of leaf matter, bird poop and algae. You will also want to inspect it regularly to ensure there are no rips or tears. Some trampoline rips and tears you can fix. For others, it’s just easier to replace the mat.
You also want to protect the trampoline mat from the family pet, including dogs and cats. The most significant danger is that your pet will damage the mat by tearing it with their claws. This can happen just by your pet walking on the mat. Dogs have their claws out all of the time, and whilst cats have retractable claws, if they are nervous when the trampoline mat bounces, they will extend their claws to try and grip on.
Care and Maintenance for Your Trampoline Springs
Trampoline springs need to be cared for to avoid getting rusty and breaking, over-extending, and even going missing.
Good trampoline spring maintenance includes a regular examination for rust, and fast treatment if you find any. You want to remove any rust with a stiff wire bristle brush, and apply galvanizing zinc to extend the life of the springs.
If the springs are noisy, it is probably the friction of the spring against the frame. You can apply grease to this junction to lubricate the movement as the kids bounce on the trampoline. (LINK)
Care and Maintenance for Your Trampoline Safety Net
Your safety net only has a few areas that need attention. These include checking the netting for rips and tears, ensuring the zip still moves smoothly, and that no algae or moss is growing on it.
If the net is starting to deteriorate, and gets some small rips or tears, you’ll want to check whether you can fix this, or it’s time for a new net. See if you can rip the next ‘cell’ of the netting just with your hands. If it rips easily, it means that the entire net is reaching the end of its useful life. You’ll want to replace it quickly, as the kids could fall through it and land on the ground.
If you can’t rip it easily with your hands, it’s probably just a small hole that you can stitch up. Simply use a UV-resistant thread or a nylon marine thread, and repair the hole in good time.
To care for the trampoline zip, be sure to apply some lubricating grease to the zipper. This will prevent it from rusting, and getting caught as the kids try to open and close it quickly. Although, in my experience, my kids are better at opening the zip and climbing in than closing the zip behind them.
Care for Different Types of Trampolines
What I’ve described about is really about care and maintenance for a regular trampoline. This is the trampoline you grew up with. A metal frame and springs, with safety pads and a safety net. All above ground.
There are now other types of trampolines in abundance. There are in-ground trampolines, a couple of types of springfree trampolines, and also fitness trampolines with their elastic bungee springs.
I’ll describe the care of these, mainly focused on the differences to regular trampoline. For example, the way that you care for a springfree trampoline mat is exactly the same as you would care for a regular trampoline mat. But the way you maintain the springs vs. the composite rods varies considerably.
Care and Maintenance for In-Ground Trampolines
Care for Inground Trampoline Steel legs and Moisture
The primary difference between a regular trampoline and an inground trampoline is the amount of damp that the inground trampoline will experience from the surrounding soil.
When it rains, there will be a certain amount of rain that goes through the trampoline mat into the pit below. And more rain will come through the soil around the trampoline pit. This means that the steel legs of the trampoline need to be of a higher grade, and have a better galvanizing zinc layer to protect it.
You will need to check the steel legs, frame and springs for rust on a more regular basis. You might need to take the trampoline mat off by removing the springs. This should give you enough room to get down into it with a flashlight and have a good look at the base.
Care for Inground Trampoline Pits
Another important difference is that the pit itself has to inspected regularly. There might be a favorite toy that has fallen, or even a wild animal that hasn’t been able to get out. You can even find snakes in trampoline pits sometimes.
Again, take off even half a dozen springs so that you can see what is in the pit on a regular basis.
Care for Springfree Trampolines
The main difference between springfree trampolines and regular trampolines is the lack of coiled metal springs. The good news is that these are a major area for rust to form, and so not having coiled metal springs makes it easier to keep the trampoline rust-free.
Springfree trampolines come in two major forms. The first is the brand “Springfree” and this uses composite rods to provide the bounce. The other form is called a leafspring trampoline. These have a leafspring to provide the bounce, and these are long pieces of bent metal that flex and provide the bounce.
Springfree trampolines that use composite rods can be dangerous as the rods deteriorate. The rods are made of a carbon fiber. When they degrade in the sun, they splinter. Not only does this stop the trampoline from bouncing as well (and they are expensive to replace), they splinter at eye level for toddlers and pets.
You’ll want to have a rigorous discipline around checking the composite rods on a regular basis.
Leafspring trampolines need around the same maintenance regime as a regular trampoline.
Care and Maintenance of a Fitness Trampoline
Fitness trampolines are generally used indoors, and so aren’t built to endure inclement weather. I wouldn’t leave my fitness trampoline outside in the sun and rain for months on end.
The elastic bungees just need to be tied on well, and checked to ensure that they are secure over time.
Note whether the rubber feet have come off the legs of the fitness trampoline. If they have, you might want to put carpet squares or a small rug under the trampoline so that the metal doesn’t scratch the floor.
Fitness trampolines do have a tendency to squeak over time. If this is from the elastic bungees, there’s not much you can do about it. If it’s because the frame or legs are loose, give the bolts and screws a good tighten before bouncing on it again.
Regular care and maintenance of your trampoline is essential for keeping your trampoline in the best possible condition. This will extend the life of your trampoline, and keep your kids bouncing happily for longer.