Hopscotch and other playground markings are known to be incredibly beneficial for children and playgrounds benefit from them as a permanent addition to their outdoor space.

Traditionally, these markings were made with chalk, or for more permanence, paint. A more modern option, though, is thermoplastic.

If you’re struggling to decide between permanent playground marking types - thermoplastic or paint - this article will help give you lots of information so that you can make an informed choice.

Let’s take a look at the key differences between paint and thermoplastic playground markings:

How Much Does It Cost?

Overall, you’ll notice that playground painting is cheaper upfront compared to thermoplastic markings. However, the markings will fade much faster which means you’ll need them repainted more often.

Instead, thermoplastic markings are a better investment because they don’t fade as the months go by. In fact, high-quality thermoplastic markings can last a decade or more. For that reason, most companies offering thermoplastic markings will provide a guarantee of at least five years because they know how durable and long-lasting this marking method is.

In conclusion, cost upfront is usually less with painted playground markings but they last around a year or less compared to thermoplastic markings which are often more money, but they can last up to a decade.

How Eco-Friendly Is It?

Commercial playground paint markings are often made using tough outdoor paint that is unfortunately very harsh and chemical-rich in its contents. Sadly, that can result in the components of the paint being absorbed into the ground as the paint fades, which is bad for the environment.

Luckily, thermoplastic markings are not as bad for the environment. Are they plastic - yes? However, they are present for a very, very long time and they do not leach into the ground like paint does. In terms of environmental impact, they are no different to a plastic piece of playground equipment that is used again and again.

How Durable Is It?

Hopefully your pupils will get a lot of use out of the playground markings you have installed. With all that play and fun, though, comes a need for the markings to be durable.

On average, paint not only fades faster with lots of use but it isn’t designed to be durable against the weather. It will fade with general use and harsher weather, but in winter and times of frequent rain, wind and even snow, you can expect it to fade really quickly.

The good news is that whilst painted markings can fade at speed, thermoplastic markings last all year round and remain just as vivid and aesthetically pleasing whatever the weather. This is great news for your pupils who can continue to be inspired to add to their 60 minutes of recommended activity everyday by playing on them every day, any season.

How Good Are The Results?

Thermoplastic markings are extremely precise because they cannot be adjusted once they have been placed. They become permanent in just 30 minutes after installation, so kids can be playing on the beautiful markings long before pickup time. Because of this minimal margin for error, the method of placement is detailed and guaranteed to produce phenomenal results.

Unfortunately, painted markings do not always look as good right away. They can bleed, they can look different depending on the playing surface, and the colours usually don’t look as vivid as thermoplastic markings. As we mentioned above, painted markings also fade quickly too, so even the most beautiful painted results don’t last long.

“A moving child is a learning child.” - Gill Connel and Cheryl McCarthy

Thermoplastic playground markings are the most innovative and effective way to lay playground markings without compromising the environment, or needing to pay for regular costly maintenance. If you truly want to invest in your pupils and their playground fun, thermoplastic markings are a smart choice.