This Q&A is the latest in a blog series featuring questions submitted by some of the parents (and even grandparents) who reach out to us on a daily basis. We've started documenting our answers and the subsequent conversations for the sake of you and other parents out there who might be asking the same questions about choosing, buying, setting up, maintaining, and enjoying a wooden swing set for their family.
For today's Q&A, Brenda Harris, mother of 3, is curious if her wooden swing set could hold up well throughout the year.
Question: Can I leave my outdoor wooden swing set out year-round?
- Brenda Harris, Mother of Kayli 8, Karen 5, and Keith 2
Answer: The short answer to this question is yes, of course (after all, what’s your alternative, really?). But if you want your wooden swing set to maintain its original strength and shine, then there may be a little more to it than a simple yes or no.
Yes, homeowners can and should leave their backyard playgrounds up and running all year round. There are plenty of days throughout the winter when the sun will be shining and kids will be able to take advantage of their playset.
At the same time, parents need to maintain their outdoor swing set if they want it to last through the harsh winters, sweltering summers, and even the temperate springs and falls. Here is a quick swing set maintenance checklist that you can use to ensure your backyard play structure can withstand whatever Mother Nature has to offer.
Maintaining your playset isn’t an arduous task, it is simply one that needs to be done consistently to avoid any major problems from coming up. Checking your outdoor swing set once a year is enough to make sure that you catch an issue before it escalates or causes any real damage. Here are six things to look out for during your annual inspection:
Are there any areas of the wood that have started to splinter? If so, sand it down to a smooth finish. Splinters are not fun for kids and can cause infections if left untreated.
Are there mildew spots forming? You can easily remove these spots with a cleaning solution comprised of equal parts of water and bleach. You can also add some liquid soap if you prefer. Clean the entire area thoroughly to eliminate any mildew from the playground set.
Are there any screws, bolts, or hooks that are coming loose? A loose screw can completely undermine the integrity of your wooden swing set, so give the entire playset a thorough examination and tighten anything that is coming loose.
Are there any swing set accessories that are damaged, ripped, cracked, or need replacing. Fix or replace any of these.
Are the grounding anchors holding solidly? Check the structural integrity of the kids playground equipment as well as how well the playset is fixed into the ground. Strengthen or reset the anchors as necessary.
If your outdoor play equipment is old or faded, use a coat of paint to rejuvenate its appearance.
Sealing your kids’ swing set will give you the maximum amount of usage from the jungle gym. Anyone can seal a backyard playset, so don’t worry if you don’t generally consider yourself handy. All you need is some sealant and a paint brush. Here’s how sealing a backyard playground set works in five simple steps:
Clean the playset thoroughly as described above with bleach and water.
Allow the wooden swing set to dry completely. This usually takes about 24 hours, though it will take more time if the weather is damp.
Using a paint brush or paint sprayer, apply an even coat of sealant to the entire outdoor playset. If you are using a clear sealant, evenness is less important because when the coat dries, most inconsistencies will go unnoticed. If you are using a stain or opaque sealant, you’ll need to be more exact with your methodology. A sprayer is less exact and uses more sealant, but it works much faster.
Read the instructions on the sealant to see if a second coat is necessary (different brands have different requirements).
Allow the wood playset to dry completely before letting the kids back on. This is usually about 24 hours.
Feel free to contact us with any more questions about maintaining or enjoying your wooden swing set. We’re here to help!