Swing Sets - Maintaining a Wooden Swing Set

Discover the best way to keep your wooden swing set looking like new. An outdoor play set will last decades if you perform yearly maintenance. The maintenance routine depends on the type and grade of wood.

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When building a wooden playset, you have three options for lumber: cedar, pine or redwood. Pine is not one of the best options because pine requires waterproofing in order to prevent mildew or rot. Professional companies like Adventure Playsets or Gorilla Playsets suggest using cedar or redwood. Many parents find pine to be most affordable, however, so it’s important to understand how to maintain any outdoor play structure.

Also, do a thorough check of the yard surrounding the outdoor swing set. Remove any branches, rocks or sticks that found their way into the play area.

Cedar Swing Set Maintenance Routine

Because cedar comes from a cool, wet climate, it is naturally water resistant. Do not stain cedar. Forget about yearly applications of a waterproofing agent like Thompson’s Waterseal.

While cedar is more expensive, the insect-resistance and water-resisting properties make it a great choice for wooden play sets. You will save money every year by avoiding expensive stains and waterproofing agents.

With wooden swingsets crafted out of cedar, a yearly safety check is all that is required. Once a year, after the winter is the best time, check for loosened or rusted bolts. In cold climates, the wood may shrink in the extreme cold and require a quick tightening of nuts and bolts. If you find a rust-covered bolt, replace it.

Pine Playset Maintenance Routine

Companies like Gorilla Playsets use preshrunk, preserved pine in their outdoor swing set kits. It is important to check the wood yearly for cracking, splintering and rot. Replace damaged boards immediately.

Covering pine in a waterproofing agent helps prevent damage to the wood. It’s best to do this after the spring rains and before summer humidity. Make sure you treat the wood when there is no chance of rain for a minimum 24 hours. Children should not play on the wood swingset until it has completely dried.

Finally, check for loosened nuts and bolts on the outdoor playset. Tighten any that have loosened. If any nuts have developed rust, replace them.

Redwood Swingset Maintenance Routine

Like cedar, redwood resists moisture and insects. You should perform an annual inspection for cracks or splintering and replace any boards that look damaged. Otherwise, sanding down rough spots will keep splinters from finding their way into children’s skin.

End your inspection with a thorough check of all swing set bolts. Replace any that have rusted and tighten any that loosened over the winter.

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