Tips for Maintaining Your Wooden Swing Set

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Wood is one of the very most popular options for outdoor swing sets. While wooden swing sets are attractive and durable, they are also generally more expensive. If you’ve chosen to purchase a wooden swing set, you will want to do all you can to make it last for as long as possible.

Most wood play set manufacturers include a recommended maintenance list in their instructions. It’s important to check out these ideas as it can help your playset and its own components to go longer and retain its aesthetic appeal. Moreover it will help to maintain the safety of the wooden swing sets and keep your children injury-free while they play.


While individual swing set brands can vary greatly in their suggested maintenance, there are a few basic tips that all wooden playset owners can follow to keep their set clean, safe and looking good. Below are 5 of the main actions you can take.

Stain and Seal the Wood
gorilla-playground-sealantOne of the main things you can do as it pertains to increasing the life of your wooden play structure is to keep every one of the wood stained and sealed. Most brands should come with these components already pre-stained and/or pre-sealed. If they are not pre-sealed it is recommended that you seal the wood within 60-90 days after construction.

A waterproof sealant will prolong the life span of your swing set by limiting the moisture that can seep in to the wood and protecting it from UV rays as well. Some companies, like Gorilla Playsets, sell a commercial grade playground sealant that will provide a protective layer against moisture, mold, mildew, and sun. You can also purchase waterproof sealant at a local hardware store such as Home Depot or Lowe’s.

It really is usually smart to reseal the wood on your set every 1-2 years. It doesn’t matter whether you utilize an oil or water based sealant as long as it is waterproof and protects against Ultra violet rays. Some sealants come with a tint if you wish to improve the wood’s color slightly but prefer not to or do not feel the need to re-stain everything.

Staining the wood is also an important maintenance step. Staining should be achieved every 2-3 years or as had a need to keep the wood looking nice. When putting stain on the swing set take care not to get it on plastic or rubber components as it could permanently leave stain marks in it. It’s also advisable to commence staining from the very best down so if the stain drips you can blend it into the wood as you go.

If you live in a location that has cold and snowy winters or a season when the swing set will never be in use, you may want to consider covering it with a tarp. This can not only protect the wood from the elements but can help the stain and sealant last longer. Hopefully this means the lack to do this step quite as often.

It’s important to the safety and longevity or your playset to complete a regular inspection of most of its components. In the event that you are in a location where your children are luckily enough to work with their set all year around, then an inspection should be done monthly. For those that not use their occur the wintertime months it is advisable to do an inspection in the spring before your children begin using it and then at least 2 more times before the end of the growing season.

Although some regular maintenance items or fixes will be evident you will want to look closer at other components like the swing chains, plastic components, and small hardware. Especially at the start of the growing season you should check all bots and screws to make sure they aren’t protruding precariously or broken off leading to sharp edges. You may even want to tighten all nuts and bolts as required.

Plastic components should be inspected for cracks while metal parts should be checked for rust. Metal parts can even be lubricated with vegetable oil to keep them moving smoothly. If parts are starting to rust or you see cracks, these parts should be replaced immediately to avoid injuries.

All wood components should be inspected for splinters and cracking. While splintering wood can certainly be fixed by sanding the pieces, any cracked or rotting boards should be replaced immediately. So long as your swing set continues to be under warranty, the business may replace these boards. Otherwise you’ll need to cut and stain your own wood to fit or contact the maker to get replacements.

Remove Any Detachable Parts
Again, this task might only apply if you live in a location with cold, snowy winters or cannot utilize your swing set all year around. If you don’t cover the complete playset with a tarp through the winter months, you might consider removing any parts that may be easily detached.

These parts might include swings, gliders, rope ladders, and even the canopy roof. By detatching these parts and storing them indoors for the winter you will extend their usable life and steer clear of any deterioration of the plastic. You’ll also prevent stretching or tearing of vinyl or fabric canopy roofs because they will not come in contact with harsh winds or have snow sitting on all of them winter.

Keep It Clean
Regular cleaning of your swing set will help prevent stains in the wood or rotting due to wet wood. In addition, it keeps your playset looking nicer and can hopefully enable you to avoid needing to stain it normally. Many brands advise that you clean the playset before re-staining it to eliminate any dirt and debris.

Cleaning can merely be done with a water hose or power washer and mild soap. For heavily soiled areas you can also use a deck cleaner. If you opt to use a power washer, you’ll want to be careful that it is not so powerful which it indents the wood or causes it to peel. A soft bristle brush can be used to eliminate bird droppings or dirt from high traffic areas. You should let your playset dry every day and night after washing before applying stain or sealant.

Another recommendation for maintaining your swing set looking like new is to keep bugs and pests from building nests or boring holes in the wood. One method to keep bugs away is to use a cotton ball to apply liquid dish soap to the edges of the roof lines and inside corners of clubhouses. You must pay special focus on roof peaks and inside corners where spiders and wasps build their webs or nests.

Follow Weight Recommendations
Every wooden swing set you can buy will come with weight recommendations from the maker for each of its components. While your set may seem to be extremely durable and durable, it’s important to check out these weight restrictions. Not only will it keep you as well as your children safe while they play, but it’ll allow the wood and all other accessories to last for quite some time without cracking or other damage.

The play platform or clubhouse of your playset will have a varying weight limit depending on its overall size. Some manufacturers set this limit by weight while others set it by quantity of bodies. Lots of the Gorilla playsets set this weight limit at 800 pounds. You should check the instructions of your own playset to find its specific weight, volume of children, and age limits. The list below will provide you with a general idea of these recommendations for some of the very most popular accessories.

broken-swing-setSwing belt: 150 – 225 lbs.
Glider swing: 120 – 140 lbs.
Trapeze swing: 125 – 150 lbs.
Toddler swing: 50 – 110 lbs.
Tire swing: 125 lbs. or 3 kids
Rock wall: 150 lbs.
Rope ladder: 75 lbs.
Monkey bars: 175 lbs.
Slides: 150 lbs.

Exactly like any outdoor structure, a wooden swing set looks great in your yard but will require on-going maintenance to be able to preserve its strength and integrity. By following these 5 simple tips you can protect your investment, support the safety of your children, and keep your wooden swing set looking like new for a long time to come.


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