Foreword: This article covers the repairs of bounce houses and inflatable slides.
Summer time is coming, meaning the kids will be out of school looking for fun to be had. You want them outside, but they say, "And do what"?
What better way to have fun when you’re a kid than to bounce or to play on an inflatable water slide? There are so many new varieties of inflatables offering something for every age and gender.
When you have an entire summer with many kinds playing on one inflatable, no matter what the size is, damage is going to happen.
Jumping, sliding, environment and activity can cause, holes, cuts, mildew and leakage. Knowing the materials used to make a bounce house will help you with repairs.
How are they made?
Commercial inflatables are made from a combination of three powerful materials, vinyl, nylon, and polyvinyl.
The combinations of the three make a material that is nearly unbreakable. The ones made for home use are not as strong. Those are made from woven oxford cloth, making it much cheaper to manufacture.
With inflatables being outside there will be times when repairs are necessary. When it comes to water slides, here are the most common repairs needed:
- Mold & Mildew:
- Being damp all the time, mildew and mold will build up on your slide. It is important that you always allow the slide to fully dry before you pack it up to put away.
- If you do find that mildew has grown, be sure to clean it just as soon as you can. Mold and mildew can damage and destroy the canvas if allowed to stay.
Follow these steps in cleaning:
- To protect the bottom from grass and dirt, place a tarp under the slide, and then inflate it.
- Spray down the area where the mildew is. Spray the area with a cleaner made only for vinyl.
- Dish soap and warm water can be used if cleaner is not available.
- Using a soft sponge, softly scrub until clean.
- Rinse area off with water hose
- Using a good household disinfectant, spray the surface, especially the areas where the mildew and mold were.
- Do not deflate until it is dry. Leave the disinfectant on the slide. This will not only kill bacteria, it will give a good smell.
Punctures or tears in fabric
Due to the nature of the inflatable slide, the most common issues are punctures and tears. Depending on size and location will determine how difficult the repair will be.
Directions to repair:
To locate the tear, spray the area you suspect, with soapy water. If you aren't sure where the area is, spray random areas, starting around the seams. Bubbles will form once the soapy water makes contact
After you have made sure the area is completely dry, using masking tape mark the hole in a square around the area with the tear in the center.
Using the Thread that came with the kit, sew the area up. Sew extra around the tear to give extra protection. If you do not have the kit, you can find them at most pool supply or hardware stores. More details will follow about these kits.
Once the tear has been sewn back together, find the proper size patch for the tear. You may have to cut a patch down in order for it to fit. Be sure to make the patch at least 1/2" bigger than the tear. Using the adhesive, apply to the back, press and hold firmly.
Make sure the glue has fully dried before deflating and packing away.
With all the action your inflatable is going to see, it should be no surprise that there will be tears in the seams. The bad news is, these repairs are the hardest repairs to make an inflatable. All inflatables come with a repair kit, but most of the time, repairs of the seams will need to be done by a professional.
With the cost of the inflatables, you are going to want to do all you can to repair them. Starting with your own kit, here are the steps.
- Starting by sewing up the area, going a little extra further than just the torn area.
- Once that is done, cover the area with one of the patches.
- Turn the blower on to double check the procedure has worked.
Repairing the blower
Unless you have skills in repairing motors, the best advice is to buy a new blower. Depending on the size and type of inflatable you have, they sell on eBay starting at $50.00 up to $200.00. When making your selection, you will need to know the size in order to have enough power to inflate the bouncer you have.
Every inflatable comes with its own repair kit. Most are the same product made by the same company.
The tear patch is made to resist the hashish of weather and activity. Some of its qualities are:
The patch is industrial strength material. It’s designed to protect against:
- UV sunlight
- Extreme temperatures
The combination of the materials the patch is made from along with the adhesive used, form a high bonding strength to many surfaces. These are examples:
- Stainless steel
The kits come in 2 different types; Type A and Type B. Depending on the type of inflatable you have would determine the type you would need.
This patch kit was designed for non-commercial inflatables. These are usually made from nylon or something similar. Its design works well on softer material such as bounce houses made for personal use.
This type is strong and sturdy. Its design is for commercial grade inflatables which are made from heavy vinyl.
Each repair kits come with:
- 7/8"X7/8" patch- This is to be used on smaller holes
- 1 3/8"X1 3/8" patch- To be used on small holes
- 3"X12"patch- Use for any purpose
- 12" reinforcement thread- for tears at edges
- 2- Alcohol pads- used for prepping
It’s no secret inflatables are a ton of fun that every event needs. Doesn't matter which one you choose, they are all gender friendly. Just remember to always keep a responsible adult around at all times.
Taking proper care of your inflatable will keep it around for a long time. Keep the area clean by picking up sticks, rocks and sharp objects will help prevent punctures.