Between the elements and the weight of bouncing bodies, trampolines are designed to take quite a beating. But no matter how tough they are, they’re not immune to the wear and tear that naturally occurs over time. And of all the components, the jumping mat is usually the first to succumb – usually in the form of a rip, tear, or hole. But does one little hole mean you have to stop using your trampoline?
As a general rule, its not a good idea to jump on a trampoline that has a hole in. Doing so can cause the hole to become larger and compromise the integrity of the jumping mat which could lead to injury. Depending on the size of the hole, however, you may be able to repair it.
Dangers of Jumping On a Damaged Trampoline Mat
Jumping on a damaged trampoline mat can be risky for a few reasons, not just for anyone jumping on it, but also for anyone in the surrounding area. To top things off, it can even damage the trampoline itself.
The main danger is of having the mat rip or break while someone is jumping on it. This could cause the person to fall through and hit the ground – and whether they land on their feet or anywhere else, they could be seriously injured as a result.
Trampoline mats are suspended by the springs with an enormous amount of tension holding them taut. If there’s a hole anywhere in the mat, this tension will be exerting pressure on it, putting more strain on the surrounding fibers. If people continue to jump on it, whether they’re bouncing anywhere near the hole or not, the stress will be too much and the hole will eventually get bigger and bigger.
Or, as is often the case, the strained weave will reach its breaking point suddenly when someone bounces on just the right spot, causing the mat to rip open from the initial hole all the way across the mat.
Another way a hole or tear can be dangerous is the way it affects the tension in the springs. Any kind of damage to the mat can disrupt the way tension is distributed, meaning that some springs may be pulled tighter than others. When this happens, the overloaded springs can wear out or break, the loose springs can unhook and pop off, or the stitching that connects the V-rings to the mat can rip under the strain. This can send springs flying off to strike anyone nearby or land on the jumping mat – either of which can cause nasty injuries.
Jumping on a damaged mat can also wear out or damage the trampoline and its components. As mentioned above, the mat may be irreparably damaged when the hole is allowed to widen and the weave becomes overstrained, or the springs may get stretched out or even snap.
But the frame and the bolts that keep it together may also get bent, warped, or otherwise damaged when tension is imbalanced and people continue to jump on it. While this usually doesn’t happen before the mat itself rips, it’s not unheard of for frames to bow or collapse in this way.
Can a Hole In a Trampoline Be Repaired?
In some cases, a hole in a trampoline mat can easily be repaired using a simple DIY patch kit. There are a few different options available for trampoline patch kits. Some holes, depending on their size and location, may require professional repairs or an all-out mat replacement.
In general, holes or tears smaller than 2 inches can be repaired using a DIY trampoline repair kit. Most trampolines come with repair kits, but you can also find them online. There are two main types of patch kits – sew-on patches and adhesive patches.
Sew-On Patch Kits – These are a less common but highly effective method for repairing minor holes and tears. They typically come with detailed instructions on how to use them effectively, including recommended stitching patterns. However, if you’re not very confident in your sewing abilities, this option may not be for you.
Adhesive Patch Kits – These are another great option and tend to be a little cheaper than sew-on kits. They’re also much more straightforward. You simply place a patch on the bottom of the hole and one on the top, with a powerful adhesive between them, then let it sit for several hours. It’s important to note, however, that the adhesive may not cure properly in very cold, very hot, or very humid climates, depending on the brand you use.
If the holes are larger than 2 inches, a DIY kit likely won’t cut it. Some may be able to cover slightly larger holes, but they typically won’t hold up for very long. In these cases, you may need to get the mat repaired by a professional. You may have to make some calls to find a trampoline repair shop, trampoline dealer, or sporting goods store that will do it for you. Or, if you can’t find a local repair service, you may need to ship it somewhere to have it fixed.
Depending on where you take it and what kind of repairs it needs, you may end up spending anywhere from around $25-80 (not including shipping) for this service.
If your mat has holes large enough or damage extensive enough that your chosen repair center can’t fix it – or you simply don’t want to pay for expensive repairs – you can simply replace the mat. Likewise, if there are multiple holes or the mat is generally worn down, it’s probably time to go in for a brand new mat. It’s also worth noting that if there are holes near the center of the mat, you may want to consider a replacement, as repairs on these are less likely to hold up for very long.
If you see a hole in your mat, it’s always best to repair it (or have it repaired) immediately, before it grows larger. And in the meantime, try to keep anyone from jumping on it. Even if it’s a tiny hole, it can grow rapidly or cause unseen stress in the weave that can lead to accidents and injuries.
And if you notice multiple holes, or they just keep appearing after you’ve patched the last one, it’s likely a sign that your mat is becoming dangerously worn down and needs to be replaced.