These days a playground set is a big investment and like any other, it pays to protect it. Preserving your wooden swing set through the years doesn’t have to be a labor- or time-intensive project. In fact, it’s really a simple task. Owners who are willing to set aside one weekend each year to perform maintenance and upkeep will be able to retain their swing set’s beauty for a long time to come.
Staining and Sealing
Staining or sealing is one the most important components of preserving your backyard playground. To protect the unit from the elements, we recommend you stain or seal annually. Of course, you may find that it is beneficial to stain or seal more or less often, depending on the climate and weather of your location.
The first step in staining or sealing your set is cleaning it. We like the idea of using plain old soap and water here. A power washing is of great assistance for this step. Next, removing accessories and toys, and let the swing set dry. Ideally, the cleaning could be done on a Friday night, or early Saturday. Then, on Sunday, you can finish the process: sand rough patches and apply the stain or sealer. It is important to wait another 24 hours for the stain or sealer to dry. A more detailed list of step-by-step instructions is available here.
When it comes to checking the hardware on your children’s playground set, there’s simply no such thing as too often. At least once a year, or even once a season, inspect the bolts and tighten as necessary. This doesn’t take much in the way of time or resources — all you need is a wrench and an hour’s time!
Replacements and Cleaning
Another way to keep the playground set looking brand new is regular cleaning. An annual wipe down of swings and toys should be sufficient. Replacements should be much more sporadic. For example, if you live in the Northeast and the past few winters have been particularly tough, a tent top canopy may need replacing after three or so years. The same goes for a sling swing. Eventually, after a number of years, it may be time to make a small investment in a new swing. This is also an opportunity to upgrade the playground set, and incorporate a horse glider swing or gym-ring trapeze bar combo as a new activity.
Commitment is Key
Mom or dad, or both, should be able to accomplish all of the recommendations provided here in a day or two. We recommend marking a weekend on the calendar in advance so you don’t forget about the upkeep of your playground set. Even if it’s six months away, you’ll give yourself a reminder. Once you’ve done the staining, tightening and cleaning for that year, skip ahead 12 months and schedule the next maintenance day. We encourage you to get the whole family involved. After all, having a playground set is all about creating childhood memories. Why not making this a teaching moment for the little ones?