Navigating through various product warranties can be a confusing process, but asking the right questions can help to ensure you are protected from expensive out of pocket costs if a claim is required.
When evaluating product warranties, it is important to recognize that playground surfacing represents a small niche industry, and as a result many of the companies engaged in the supply of playground surfacing are relatively small, privately held companies. As such, the quality of a product warranty may be more dependent on the reliability of the issuing company as opposed to the actual content contained within the warranty document.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the questions that should form an integral part of your product warranty evaluation:
Evaluation of playground surfacing should extend beyond the product itself to include the company manufacturing and installing the product.
Ask about the company’s history. How long have they been in business? Have they always operated under the same company name?
Ask for references, but be specific in requesting references for problem projects. No company is perfect, and chances are that if the manufacturer has been in business for a reasonable period of time, they have encountered some challenges along the way. By speaking with customers that have worked through a warranty claim, you will gain a much better understanding as to how the manufacture responds to warranty related issues.
Does the warranty include long-term compliance to the ASTM F1292-13 safety standard? Many warranties within the playground surfacing industry cover materials and workmanship to the exclusion of safety compliance. This means that although the surface may be guaranteed to meet the required safety performance at the time of installation, compliance is not covered beyond the initial installation date. In the absence of specific coverage that includes compliance to ASTM F1292-13, the warranty is of little value.
Many warranties, particularly with regard to poured-in-place surfaces, have been standardized to provide coverage between 3-5 years. Surprisingly, some products still carry a 1 year warranty. A number of manufacturers will offer extended warranties, however the extension typically comes with considerable cost.
Exercise caution if a company is willing to “match” another manufacturer’s warranty. More often than not, this is done in haste with a short-sighted focus on securing the immediate business. Generally speaking, a product that carries a 5 year warranty, is not capable of supporting a 10 year life cycle. Look for companies that carry a minimum 10 year, warranty that includes compliance to ASTM F1292.
Playground surfacing is a heavy, bulky material which is typically manufactured in one location and shipped across North America. Since many warranties do not include ancillary items, such as freight, the out-of-pocket cost to replace a few square feet of surfacing could cost hundreds of dollars.
Additionally, since installation of playground surfacing is often a technical process that involves specialized knowledge, the out-of-pocket cost to replace even a small section of surfacing can be significant if the installation component is not included in the warranty schedule.
Understand what is required of the owner in order to validate the warranty. Some warranties require ongoing, costly maintenance schedules in order to maintain continued coverage.
sofSURFACES provides a comprehensive limited lifetime warranty that includes long-term compliance to the ASTM F1292 Safety Standard.
sofSURFACES warranty includes ancillary costs associated with shipping replacement materials to the project.
sofSURFACES advertises a maintenance-free product and therefore we do not require costly maintenance programs in order to maintain continued coverage.
sofSURFACES is the first and only company to develop a certified installation program. The implementation of our program has resulted in the development of highly-skilled and certified installation crews across the country which translates into easy access to professional services on a local level. Our certified installation crews often offer extended installation warranties well beyond the industry standard.
duraSAFE was not engineered to be the lowest cost product. It was engineered to be the best product. After years of use, duraSAFE will not only be safer and more consistent, but it will prove to require far less maintenance than competing systems.
While you’ll probably never need to use it, you can find comfort in knowing that you’re protected by the industry's best warranty, supplied by the industry’s leading company. It’s peace of mind that sets duraSAFE apart.