Why do Trampolines Rip and Tear? (And How To Fix)

The kids have got friends over, and after much excitement, are ready beside the trampoline. Their shoes are off and they’re half-way up the ladder, when you notice a small tear in the mat. It looks like the trampoline has a rip in it. You try to figure out whether they can keep jumping, or whether it’s time for a jolly-fun game of snakes and ladders.

Trampolines rip and tear if they are being treated poorly or as they age. They can deteriorate from the sun’s UV rays, the stitching can break or even a missing spring can put extra tension on the mat in places. They can also tear if sharp objects such as keys or hard shoes hit the surface.

This wear and tear over time can cause trampolines to rip and tear. Let’s look below at why a trampoline can rip and tear, if it’s ever it’s ok and when it’s time to make an intervention. We’ll also cover how you can fix a rip in the trampoline mat.

How Does A Trampoline Rip and Tear?

In terms of safety and performance, after the frame itself, the trampoline mat is the most important part of the trampoline.

It is imperative that the trampoline mat be in great condition. It needs to be in full integrity to give great bounce to the jumpers, as well as ensure they don’t fall through to the ground below.

Wear and Tear on a Trampoline Mat

Over time though, even the best trampoline mat will start to break down under the sun’s harsh UV rays. This is why it’s important to look for a mat that has at least a 5 year, and ideally, a 10 year warranty.

You can tell when a trampoline mat starts to break down from the sun. The carbon starts to be released from the mat, and your feet and clothes will gather black dust when you bounce on the trampoline.

If you are missing a spring, there puts extra tension on the springs around the missing spring. This tension can create lines of weakness across the mat. These are lines pull the mat tighter than it should be. If you do any mechanical damage to these lines, it can rip the mat.

But it’s not just wear and tear. Sometimes you can do things that might damage the mat. If the mat is older and starting to wear out, the physical damage might happen in just the wrong place.

Too Much Weight On The Trampoline

If you have too much weight bouncing on the trampoline, you can start to tear at the stitching around near the springs. This can start to tear away at the mat itself.

There might be too many kids jumping on the trampoline at once. Or sometimes, cheaper trampolines have lighter weight limits than you might expect. It’s important to make sure you have a good enough quality trampoline to accommodate your family’s situation.

Damage To a Trampoline Mat

Trampoline mats are also susceptible to physical damage. Small twigs, seeds and other nature debris can get caught in the woven mesh of the mat and damage it. The acid from bird poop can eat away at the fibers.

Someone can climb on with hard shoes, such as contractor work boots or high heels, and this can tear at the fibers. It doesn’t take many bounces with stilettos to damage a mat.

Other times, the mat can start to get micro-tears in it from tiny cuts. These cuts can come from having keys in your pockets hanging out. You might do a Sit Bounce, and the keys will hit the mat at force, and micro-sheer some of the mat cross-weave. If this happens often enough, the mat will start to break in places.

Burn Damage to a Trampoline Mat

You can even get small holes in the trampoline mat from burns, such as cigarettes or fireworks. A small burn by itself probably isn’t an urgent problem on a relatively new mat, especially if off at the side rather than in the middle.

However, if you have a large number of small holes, it can be difficult to patch them without overlap. Likewise, if you have a burn hole in an older mat, this can be the start of a tear in the weakened area of the mat.

Is It Safe To Jump On A Trampoline With A Small Rip or Tear?

If you have a small rip or tear, the danger is that it becomes a large rip or tear.

You can see that if you accidentally land on a small rip, with the right angle, that small rip could become a big rip. The bouncer will go straight through the mat, and land on the ground below. This is incredibly dangerous.

They could land at an odd angle, get stuck in the trampoline mat, or just hit the ground too hard. There could be broken limbs or worse.

What Size Rip In A Trampoline Mat Can You Repair?

A good rule of thumb is if the rip in the trampoline mat is smaller than 0.2 inches in length, and the edges look neat rather than frayed, you can probably leave it, especially if it is at the side.

If the rip is smaller than 2 inches, you can probably use a self-repair kit at home, and fix it yourself.

You can technically fix a trampoline rip that is bigger than a couple of inches, but it does require some fairly hefty sewing equipment or a trip to a professional seamstress.

Generally though, if the rip is bigger than 2 inches, or even if it is smaller but it’s frayed and looks susceptible to tearing further, you’ll want to get it replaced. There are some trampoline mats whose time has simply come to an end.

This is definitely the case of a stitch in time saves nine. If you notice a small rip or tear in your trampoline mat, it is better to address is before it turns into a bigger rip (which is a bigger job to fix), and before someone has an accident.

How Do You Fix A Small Tear or Rip On A Trampoline?

Most small tears in a trampoline mat can be fixed with a repair kit. However, if the mat is close to the end of its warranty, or you can see that there are other parts of the trampoline mat that are about to go, it’s better to just get a new mat.

If you have assessed the mat, and you can see there’s still plenty of life left in it, and the tear is under an inch, it’s time to pull out the handy dandy trampoline mat repair kit.

There are a variety of rip patch repair kits available from Amazon.

Recommended: Galactic Xtreme Trampoline Mat Repair Kit (https://amzn.to/3ay3ncd). This patches both above and below the rip and the bonding glue secures both patches in place. With the edges of the patch being round and laser cut, there is no chances of the patches having a sharp corner. It’s unlike to come away from the mat as it is secured with marine glue, and so it won’t cut or poke any little feet jumping. It will make this part of the trampoline stronger than the original mat.

Step 1: If the rip is under 2 inches, leave the trampoline in place on the frame with the springs attached.

Step 2: Clean the trampoline mat with a small amount of soap and water around the rip. You want the mat to be free of any grease or dirt that could prevent the glue from sticking well. Be sure to rinse the soap off well.

Step 3: Apply the marine glue to the first patch, and fix the patch to topside of the trampoline. The patches are 4-inch round, so try to position it so that there is at least an inch clear on each side.

Step 4: Repeat with the bottom patch. The patches should now overlap eachother well on the top and bottom.

Step 5: Go around the outline of the top patch with the marine glue. Repeat on the bottom. There is no need to use a brush or fingers, as the glue is self-levelling.

Step 6: Wait 24 hours for glue to dry, and then send the kids to Go Forth! Mission: Backyard Adventure is back on.

How Do You Fix A Big Tear Or Rip On A Trampoline?

If you have a big rip or tear on a trampoline, it might still be salvageable. I’d recommend using a patch that you sew on with UV-resistant thread. It is critical that you use the UV-resistant type, as you don’t want to do the work of sewing this one, and then having it become brittle and break after just a few months.

You need to leave the trampoline mat in place on the springs to keep the right tension. This works best if you have someone to help you either above or below the trampoline to help feed the needle through.

Try a reclining yard chair as this can be very handy here to save your back and neck. In some places, you might need pliers to help you pull the needle through.

If the rip goes all the way across the trampoline, it is better to get a new mat. If you have to take the trampoline mat off, and use an industrial sewing machine, I’d worry that the tension isn’t going to be right when you come to reattach it.

Here is a short video showing how to sew a patch onto a trampoline.

Will Flex Tape work to repair a rip or tear on a trampoline mat?

If the rip or tear is relatively small, under 1.5 inches, you can try a small amount of Flex Tape in a pinch. It is flexible, waterproof, and can adhere to almost anything.

Put a strip of Flex Tape at least 2 inches wider than the rip or tear. Although it says it’s waterproof, it would be better to have the trampoline clean and dry before getting it to adhere. Put the strip of tape both above and below the tear.

Then apply Flex Seal Rubber Coating around the edges of the tape to help it stay in place.

When Is A Rip Or Tear So Bad That You Need To Replace The Mat?

Sometimes, the trampoline mat is so badly ripped or torn that it can’t be fixed. Here are some signs that it is now time to replace the mat.

  • When you have a number of small rips or tears, and the patches would start to overlap
  • When the rips are very frayed, showing that the UV-protection is starting to wear off the mat itself. This means that it close to permanently failing.
  • When the rip is so long, that it’s possible to stand up inside it. It will be difficult to get the right tension in any sewn solution, and a patch or tape won’t work.

In Summary

It is possible to repair a rip or tear in your trampoline mat, although, depending on the age of your mat, it may be more pragmatic to replace it.

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