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Playground Paints & Maintenance for Schools

Playground paint and paint for sports surfaces is often on the mind of caretakers and maintenance teams during half term and out-of-term holidays – be it Spring, Summer or Winter breaks. They’re the ideal time to hit the reset button and restore the beauty of the exterior wood, metal and stone paintwork, be it reviving vibrant colours on playground play equipment, to providing a new durable coat on rusty railings. Whatever the playground maintenance project, we have it covered here with tips and product recommendations!

If you’re a bit short on time, why not skip to the relevant topics:

Introduction: The Importance of Playground Play

It’s a well-known fact that children learn better when they enjoy themselves, and let’s face it, for many of today’s youth, school is often but a chore. It’s their daily grind. Think back to a time when you were happy at school; it might be those memorable moments playing hopscotch with your besties or having a game of picked-it-dropped-it on a playground roundabout. Whatever memories you have during your childhood play, it always brings us to our happy place.

Benjamin Whichcote (1609-1683) is quoted as saying, “It is impossible for a man to be made happy by putting him in a happy place, unless he be first in a happy state.” These wise words by the famed Cambridge Platonist provides a sound bed-rock (or tarmac if you like) for the happiness of children in today’s education.

Happiness and communication go hand-in-hand; take a moment to think about your own adult life, how many times has miscommunication resulted in confrontation? Communicating well is a life-long learning curve and as responsible adults, it is our duty, and certainly a privilege, to inspire exemplarily communication behaviours that will build strong and happy adults. It is therefore no surprise the National Literacy Trust believes that play is crucial for developing children’s communication.

Part of National Literacy Trust’s slogan is changing life stories, and sometimes to change a life story, we need to hit the reset button. Half-term in schools are like mini holidays for pupils but it also gives schools a chance to reset the environment. One such reset which many schools will appreciate, is general maintenance work; schools are high footfall environments and take a bit of punishment over the course of a term, let alone a whole year.

We will delve deeper into rejuvenating playground surfaces and equipment, addressing outdoor court and sport surface repairs, line-marking and recolouring, car park tarmac/asphalt repair, step and curb repair, as well as guiding you through a few pertinent aesthetic maintenance work, such as painting entrance doors. So let’s get started!

Safe Wow-Factor Playgrounds & Sports Surfaces

Taking a daily battering, playground surfaces can lose their brilliant colouring, and leave the overall look rather tired and not particularly inviting to the young mind. Rawlins Paints offers an extensive and effective range of paints that are perfect for the whole playground experience. We will break these down into surface artwork, line marking, and equipment re-colouring.


All playground paint and line marking paint systems require different methods of application, and you will find the relevant datasheets within each product page. This will give you the preparation and application details required for that particular coating. However, feel free to call our dedicated technical team on 0113 2455450 should you have any questions or queries.

Playground Paint Surface Artwork

Rawlins Paints Blog | Playground Paint

Playgrounds need to be bright and colourful places

Painting stunning layouts such as this can be achieved by applying Britannia Playground Paint – a stunningly-beautiful array of colours for hard playground surfaces. This is the paint to crank it all the way to 11 in terms of the fun factor.

Britannia Playground Paint

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Why | features & benefits

  • 10 stunning colours available
  • Black and white options also available
  • Water-based eco-friendly coating
  • Matt finish
  • Slip-resistant

Where | usage

  • Tarmac and concrete playground surfaces
  • Other hard and non-absorbent playground surfaces
  • Interior and exterior use

Extraordinary | big selling points

As we’re sure you’ll agree, there are 2 massive selling points to the Britannia Playground Paint, the first is that it is an eco-friendly solution. This is ultra-important for the modern school demonstrating a proactive approach to helping the environment. The second major selling point is the colour palette available; along with standard black and white shades, check out these stunning shades below:

Rawlins Paints Blog | Playground Paint

Britannia’s striking colour range for playground paints and coatings

Ideas | creativity + imagination = amazing

  • Host a competition during term time to design a playground surface. The winner has their creation made into reality.
  • Some schools may have the budget to hire an artist to design a surface, or perhaps there’s some hidden local talent?
  • Incorporate educational elements into the design; using shapes and geometry.
  • Host a design-a-playground-game competition. Pupils come up with a game design and the winner has their game painted. Might be a good team-based adventure; a great one to bring out the best in people through teamworking.

Playground & Sports Surface Line Marking

The Britannia Line Marking Paint will give your half-term maintenance work a lot of substance when recreating lines on playgrounds and sports surfaces, such as tennis courts. Not merely restricted to white lines, there is also 4 other bold colours to choose from, giving you complete flexibility in its application. Create boundary markings, play surfaces or any other line-based pattern.

Britannia Line Marking Paint

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Why | features & benefits

  • 4 Bold colours available + white
  • Eco-friendly solution
  • Penetrates deep for long life
  • Slip resistant

Where | usage

  • Use on tarmac, concrete and macadam
  • Interior and exterior use

Extraordinary | big selling point

The perfect playground paint solution needs the perfect colour palette, the colour palette is a big selling point with this line marking paint. Although not as plentiful, it offers the right brilliant shades needed for sports and playground surfaces. In addition to white, check out the colour range available below:

Rawlins Paints Blog | Playground Paint

Contrasting and complimenting playground paint colours at Rawlins

Ideas | creativity + imagination = amazing

  • Got a spare area concrete surface area? Why not turn this into a tennis court to enhance the profile and activities within the school grounds.
  • Create amazing educational fact timelines on school pathways within the grounds.
  • Design games using line markings on playground surfaces.
  • Make or refurbish sports courts such as tennis, basketball and netball.

We’ve compiled three awesome designs you can create on your playground this half-term. Feast your eyes over these delights:

Rawlins Paints Blog | Playground Paint

Durable, colourful, weather and waterproof, and line-marking paints for playgrounds

First up we have Hopscotch. A classic playground game that involves a few numbers and boxes on the floor! It’s one of the easiest things you can do to add a point of interest to a boring playground. Use Coo-Var Acrylic W/B Road Line Paint to create strong, defined lines that can last through many playtimes!

In the middle image, we are creating geometric shapes and circles that be used for playing playground games; this is an easy way for a playful update to your playground. Using Coo-Var Acrylic Floor Paint, you can mark pathways, circles and playground games onto the surface using a paint that’s perfect for foot traffic. If you want to make it interesting, add a few extra bends and winds!

Or as a third option, you can create playful pathways and direct traffic through the right path with painted arrows. An interesting way to guide visitors through the playground!

Coo-Var Acrylic Floor Paint

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Coo-Var Acrylic W/B Road Line Paint

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Repaint Playground Equipment

Many school playgrounds contain equipment like monkey bars, climbing frames or slides. Not restricted to metal structures however, many schools, such as Pocklington Community Junior School in East Riding of Yorkshire, have a wooden mini assault course.

We’ve compiled two brilliant solutions for you; one with metal structures in mind, the other wooden. Check out the table below:

Metal Structure Wooden Structure
Recommended Solution Rust-Oleum CombiColor Rust-Oleum Universal All-Surface
Features & Benefits · Long-lasting protection in all weathers.

· Primer and top coat in one.

· Heat resistant up to 90°C.

· Apply between 5-35°C.

· A plethora of excellent RAL colours available.

· Durable finish.

· Available in 27 stunning colours.

· Fade and chip resistant.

· Satin and gloss finishes available.

· Can be used on suitable-primed metal. Contains anti-rust properties.

Additional Uses Railings, bike storage. Fences, wooden wastebins.
Rawlins Paints Blog | Playground Paint

Specialist metal paints for playground play equipment, at Rawlins

Look at those bright and playful colours in the collage above. Aren’t they wonderful? With our recommendations combined with your creativity, the children at your school will have all the fun they can possibly imagine.

Rust-Oleum CombiColor Original

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Rust-Oleum Universal All Surface Paint – Brush Grade

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Railings, Gates & Metalwork

Schools need to be safe, and as such, safeguarding policies take a top priority in schools. Not limited only to the well-being of children, it is imperative schools provide a safe environment for play and within the grounds in general. From the moment they step through the gates, safety is paramount. Rusty gates and railings not only look ugly but they present very real hazards, and try as they might, midday supervisors can’t stop pupils climbing onto railings. If the railings are rusty, well… you know the score.

For the sake of tidiness, we’ll use the terminology “railings” but read this as a placeholder term for exterior metalwork, such as gates, metal boundaries, including metal surfaces which are rusty.

So, what options do you have? If you have a particularly colourful setup within the school grounds, or there is a lot of play structures, it might be better to consider a more conservative colour coating for the boundary railings. Typically, school railings are a shade of green, such as can be applied using Rust-Oleum CombiColor Original.

This coating is ideal for creating safe and pragmatic boundary railings. There’s no need to use a primer first as the coating is a primer and top coat all in one. Perfect for less hassle, less cost and more productivity. Railings rusty? No problem; Rust-Oleum CombiColor can be applied directly on to rust!

All the boxes are ticked with this one: a durable coating that can be applied to bare metal – primer and top coat in one. But… now you get the additional benefit of choosing any of the many colour options available, all in RAL colour codes.

Extra Special Touch

Up to now, we’ve provided two railing coating solutions for you – one conservative in appeal, the other, more youthful. But there is a third option. We’ll call this next-level railings, and this is how it works:

Creativity is the driving force of education

Rawlins Paints Blog | Playground Paint

Education sets the standards of the future

Rawlins Paints Blog | Playground Paint

The future is made from dreaming big

Rawlins Paints Blog | Playground Paint

Dreaming big is the driving force of creativity

Creativity and education play a vital part at all stages of life and it is vital that this creativity-education partnership be fundamental in school environments. The beauty about creativity is it’s free of financial cost. The only cost required is brain power, so where one might see railings, another will see an opportunity to cultivate more creativity.

Doorways and Windows

For many buildings, uPVC is the material of choice for windows and doors. To brush new life into these parts of the school, we’d like to draw your attention to our blog post on uPVC paints; this will give you all the info and product recommendations you need to spruce-up your windows and doors.

Protecting Paths, Car Parks and Kerbs

Although tarmac and concrete are tough materials, they are not indestructible. Without proper on-going maintenance, even tough structures can present both aesthetic and safety problems. Check out the table below to find the best solution for your needs:

Goal Recommendation End Result
Reduce oil stains and pollutants on paved car park. Hydron Mona-Guard Block Paving Sealer A clear coating that resists against oil, weathering, UV and chemicals whilst increasing the life of the car park paving.
Reduce damage to kerbs. Hydron Nu-Guard Clear AC Protection against carbonation, acid rain and weathering for concrete kerbs.
Revive tarmac paths. Hydron Mona-Guard Revive Rejuvenates colour degradation caused by weathering, spillages and pollutants. Also resists staining from dirt and oil.


Hydron Mona-Guard Block Paving Sealer

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Hydron Nu-Guard Clear AC

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Hydron Mona-Guard Revive

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More Paint for Thought

If you’ve made it this far, we know you are as passionate about paint as us. But we, like you, know that the right tools for the job is only part of the solution. Every school is different, and every school’s priorities are different. Some schools have bike sheds made of metal, some of wood. Some have small wooden storage for scooters (Not the motorised kind of course!), some schools don’t. We’ve dedicated this section to concisely providing solutions to other potential needs you may have.

Exterior Storage Box

Plastic isn’t always everyone’s first thing to consider coating. That’s fair enough; when we think paint and coatings, we think wood, metals and stone. But… plastics make great surfaces for creating graffiti, such as with permanent marker pen. Whether you have a storage bin for play equipment or even a salt bin, applying Hydron Nu-Guard AG gives you peace of mind when protecting plastic surfaces from graffiti. We haven’t come on to the biggest selling point yet; the thing you will love is it doesn’t leave behind ghosting! That’s right, just wash the graffiti off with water, and there will be zero ghosting.

Hydron Nu-Guard AG

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Bike Sheds

Structures such as these can sometimes be a breeding ground for graffiti. This is a sad reality that schools would just rather not waste time dealing with. After all, who wants to scrub for hours to constantly rub graffiti like “Adam was here” from the bike shed. And that’s just the start of it! Being able to prevent graffiti or minimise the risks of surface damage, we can recommend a fantastic ‘invisible’ defense system – an anti-graffiti coating which makes light work of cleaning-up graffiti. We recommend using Hydron Nu-Cryl WRS, an exceptional and highly durable anti-graffiti coating that is perfect for use on brick, stone and timber bike sheds. But don’t stop there. The coating isn’t developed for bike sheds specifically, but any brick or wooden structure you need to protect from graffiti. Its clear application means it doesn’t change the colour of your structure and the anti-graffiti barrier is transparent to the eye. We are so proud of this product and believe it will be the ideal solution for you, that we’d like to highlight a few deal-clinchers:

  • Conforms to bsi industry-standard EN 1504-2.
  • Water-repellent for peace of mind during damp and drizzly seasons.
  • Outstanding resistance to weathering and UV.
  • Unaffected by freeze and thaw cycles, for great durability.
  • Resistant to oil and staining.

All this adds up to an anti-graffiti coating you can trust.

Hydron Nu-Cryl WRS

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Mural Wall

Exterior murals are big news right now in education. It is a brilliant way to liven-up a concrete or brick wall. If budget allows, you can hire a professional or local artist, or it can form part of a school project; however you choose to paint a mural, you can achieve stunning results with Hydron Nu-Guard Mural Paint. Don’t forget to use the tack primer and basecoat beforehand to ensure you get the best possible results!

Hydron Nu-Guard Mural Paint

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Hydron Nu-Guard SP Tack Primer

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Hydron Nu-Guard Mural Basecoat

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We’re Here to Help

If you have any questions at all for our technical team, please do not hesitate to contact them on 0113 245 5450. Alternatively, you can send an email to [email protected], leave a message on this blog below or drop us a message on social media! We have a presence on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.


  1. I need to paint some playground equipment. it is metal and had 3 or four poorly applied coats in past, and is chipping and very faded. what do you recommend??

  2. I want to paint some simple target games and height markings on brick walls in our school playground. I’m looking for small amounts in different bright colours that will last.


    • Hi Lorraine,

      We’d recommend Zinsser Allcoat Exterior for this kind of application – whether the water based or solvent based version be used would be weather dependant; for sub-8°C we really recommend the solvent based version.

      If there’s anything I can help with then please let me know.

  3. Hello
    I am working on a parish council play area, currently their seating enclosure. Having taken it back to the metal, I’m now looking for a paint that won’t come off as easily or be scuffed off with the likes of kids belts or bikes leaning and scratching against it.
    Am I asking too much?

    • Hi Steve,

      To reduce damage caused by abrasion we would recommend a 2 pack system be applied. Assuming these are mild steel, we’d recommend a coat of the following primer followed by 2 coats of the topcoat:

      Although this would offer a higher level of abrasion resistance, no product or system will prevent scuffs, marks and scratches entirely. If the material that scratches the surface is harder than the paint, then it could still cause abrasions.

      Let me know if I can be of any further help.

  4. Dear Sir
    Can I please have a price for 4 tins of coloured paint. Bright red, yellow, orange and forest green.
    Robert Robinson Town Clerk
    Llanfair Caereinion Town Council

  5. Hi Our village play area has several metal tube pieces of climbing apparatus that need repainting It was painted with a paint that has a slightly rough finish, almost like sand. This is presumably to increase grip, being non slip.
    Can you tell me if you sell this type of paint?

    • Hi Graham,

      Thank you very much for getting in touch. We do offer a range of anti slip paints, for this application we would recommend Smartkote Protectakote UVR which is available in a range of colours.

      I hope this helps, and please feel free to get in touch if you have any further questions.

      Many Thanks

  6. Our city is interested in having local artists paint asphalt intersections (the space between the four crosswalks). We have 100 degree summers and snow in the winters. What is the longest lasting paint for something like that, and how long will it last before it will need to be painted again. Can it make it through a year? Know of any examples?

    • Hi Mike,

      Many thanks for taking the time to read our blog and for your question. We currently only supply products within the UK, so for your project we would recommend seeking advice from a supplier local to you who could advise in detail regarding the weather conditions and durability of products for this application.

      Apologies we couldn’t help this time and thank you again for the interest.

      Many thanks

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