All about splits and cracks in wood

In spells of sunny and dry weather we find an increased amounts of splits and cracks appearing in the timbers in the yard. This means that there will be a range of our products delivered with splits in the timber before the product has even been assembled.

There’s no need for concern

We understand that this can cause concern particularly on a brand new product.

Splits and cracks will occur in timber as it expands and contracts with humidity and temperature changes. They will occur particularly in the round pole timbers, but also in square cut timber and they are in new sets as well as old.

The key fact is that we use round timbers for our play equipment equipment. Most people are used to working with square timbers. Round timbers – due to the nature of their structure are more prone to splits and cracks so that when people see the cracks they become concerned as they are not used to seeing this happen.

Whilst these can appear quite large and alarming, these cracks DO NOT affect the strength, integrity and durability of the play equipment. The splits and cracks happen because timber is a natural product and is a living material, and through the year the wood expands and contracts, often meaning quite large cracks appear in hot, dry weather, and then close up in the wetter, winter months.

Salt efflorescence

This can appear as superficial white to greenish spots on the surface of the timber and is as result of a mixture of exiting resin and ingredients of pressure impregnation. It should not cause concern and will not affect the safety and use of your product. It will naturally fade over time with exposure to a variety of weather conditions.

If you would like to remove the effects of salt efflorescence then just sand gently with some fine sandpaper.

Cracks and branches

Branches, grains and pith are part of the characteristics of the wood that will affect the way the timber looks. It is completely natural to have a variation in the look of the timber and that is also what gives the product charm. Email us a picture if you are concerned that it is not normal and we will be happy to advise you.

Swelling and shrinking

Volume change due to moisture absorption and drying is typical of wood and should not cause concern.
Where possible wood warping may happen we undercut the timber so that it will not change the shape of the product.
Although it is not necessary –  some people may choose to unpack their new play equipment immediately when they receive it and let it dry for a couple of days before assembly.

Looking for reassurance?

If you are still concerned about the safety of your play equipment due to splits and cracks in the wood then please get in touch on If you send us a picture of the timbers causing concern that would be particularly helpful. We will be able to let you know if the splits and cracks are normal or if they are something that requires further action.

Existing customers page extra images - splits and cracks