Urban Effects street furniture is made to last – tailored for the New Zealand lifestyle and environment, and manufactured using high quality materials and finished. However, there are a few simple steps to maximise the life of your street furniture. Here, we share our top tips for preventative maintenance and key considerations if your site is exposed to harsh environmental conditions, heavy use and potential vandalism.

Street furniture in coastal areas

Our street furniture is engineered from high quality marine grade alloys, uses stainless steel fasteners and specially formulated hybrid coatings to offer optimal protection against corrosion. It can take many years for corrosion to effect the structural integrity of our street furniture, but extreme conditions like those experienced in coastal environments, will cause surface rust on powder coated surfaces and stainless steel fastenings if corrosive residue such as salt and sea spray is not regularly washed off.

Wash down street furniture exposed to extreme conditions every month

Wash down street furniture with detergent to remove salt build up, road grime and other extraneous matter which can reduce the life of furniture in parks, reserves and urban environments. In extreme environments, we advise facility managers to wash furniture with high-pressure washers or hoses, taking care to flush out narrow gaps and ledges of any corrosive residue. The process should include an initial water blasé, detergent water blast, and then a wash down with clean water. Note: Detergents such as dish washing detergents can be corrosive themselves, so these should be avoided.

Maintenance in high UV areas is required to prevent fading and cracking

Street furniture in tropical or sub tropical areas, desert conditions and areas prone to high UV readings is subjected to extremes in heat radiation. Plastic components and powder coated surfaces will need additional maintenance in these conditions to help prevent fading or cracking.

Regular inspection is required in areas where vandalism is a risk

Where street furniture is located in high-profile public parks, eateries and vandal-prone areas, regular inspection is recommended to ensure damage is identified and repairs can be made as early as possible.

Preventative maintenance for natural timber finishes

Timber is a beautiful and renewable resource which is widely used in street furniture due to its aesthetic appeal and durability. However, as timber is a natural product, exposure to harsh elements will eventually lead to weathering which may include warping and cracking. While this is considered a normal process and you may choose to allow these changes to occur, the effects can be minimised through preventative maintenance.

Urban Effects offers ‘first oiling’ or ‘pre-coating’ of timber during the manufacturing process (for a nominal surcharge).

Once installed, we recommend treating all timber surfaces with a UV resistant oil or stain twice a year. In particular, treating timber prior to summer each can ensure timber retains its appearance and structural integrity for years to come.

Hardwood leaching and preventative measures

Leaching, sometimes referred to as tannin bleed, occurs when timber releases its natural oils and resins when exposed to moisture. When the ends of timber are cut and moisture enters the grain and timber cells, tannins and extractants are released. This can cause brown, black or rusty looking ‘bleed’ marks on nearby surfaces. The process occurs in all timbers to different degrees (even light coloured timbers leach).

What can be done to minimise leaching?

We recommend the following measures to prevent or reduce the effects of leaching:

  • Apply one or two coats of a quality timber sealer prior to installation.
  • Apply a ‘first oil’ during the manufacturing process (for a nominal surcharge).
  • Should staining occur, this will gradually faded away on its own – over time. Accelerate and assist stain removal by applying a cleaner with a light scrubbing of the affected area.
  • If the timber is supplied with a stain or oil, regular maintenance involving the reapplication of the stain is necessary to preserve the timber’s appearance and structural integrity. (If a stain or oil is not re-applied, timber will naturally ‘grey off’.)

Need maintenance advice? Ask the Urban Effects Team.