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, Nelson Flynn, father of twin girls, wants to know if applying a sealer to a wooden swing set is necessary.
Question: Do I need to seal my wooden playset?
- Nelson Flynn, Dad of 4-year-old twin girls
Answer: Regardless of which brand, model, and size, wooden swing sets require some maintenance in order to keep them looking great and working safely and efficiently. It is for this reason that we highly recommend swing set owners seal their wooden playsets once a year. This is a simple do-it-yourself project that can be done in an afternoon.
Here is a quick rundown of what you’ll need to do.
Preparation: Before you actually seal your swing set, you need to prepare the playground equipment. This includes a few steps:
- Take down any swing set accessories you can remove easily. This is not imperative, but it will make your life easier in the future because stain and sealant are very difficult to remove from these accessories once it has settled. (That’s why it works so well to protect your wooden swing set!)
- Clean your outdoor playhouse very well. People who own a power washer can use this equipment, but it isn’t a requirement. A simple solution of soap, water, and bleach will clean off any surface dirt along with stains, mildew, and scuffs that may have occurred from normal use.
- If there are troublesome spots with persistent mildew, soak the area with a bleach solution for a little while, and then scrub the area again. You want to make sure that every bit of mildew is removed before you seal your wooden playground set.
- Give the wood time to dry. It has to be completely dry before you can seal it or moisture will get trapped beneath the protective coating.
Application: Now you are ready to apply your coat of sealant. There are two methods you can choose from:
- Hand-application: If you like to do things meticulously, a brush will get the smoothest finish and the cleanest lines. In reality, this is not so necessary for the average sealant since these materials dry clear and inconsistencies will likely not be noticed. But if you prefer this method, it is a good option. The brush method is also the preferred option if you are using opaque sealant since this will not dry clear. Opaque stains usually provide better UV protection for your swing set against the harmful rays of the sun.
- Pump sprayer: Using a paint sprayer, you can apply the sealant in much less time. Sprayers will use more sealant than you would if you were using a brush, but the amount of time you save may be worth the extra cost for materials.
After you have applied your sealant, give the wooden playground equipment at least 24 hours to dry completely before you let the little ones on it.
And that’s the long and short of it! If you have a few hours in one afternoon, the right weather conditions, and some sealant, you can protect your wood playground equipment from weather damage, sun fading, and other negative effects.
Apply a coat of sealant once a year to maximize the lifespan of your jungle gym and keep it looking fresh for years to come!
Do you have questions about your new swing set? We’re happy to help! Contact us with your questions and we’ll get back to you ASAP!
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