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    May 22, 2017 3 min read

    Wooden swing sets are easily the most durable, natural, and child-friendly playsets on the market. With a solid frame, an earthy feel, and fun accessories, wood outdoor playground equipment is the stuff that childhood memories are built on.

    The one thing that most parents would like to avoid contributing to those long-lasting memories are the splinters that only come from wood playsets. While this material is notorious for splitting and splintering with time, there are several ways that parents can avoid a splinter-filled summer and create a safer, healthier, happier environment all around.

    Smart Purchasing

    The first way to prevent splinter problems is by purchasing the right wooden swing set to begin with. Here are a few buying tips to help you avoid those painful particles:

    • Don’t buy an outdoor playhouse second hand. While the idea might be appealing price-wise, you never know how the original owner maintained or treated the playset, and you might be buying a lemon. Additionally, the older a swing set, the more likely it is that the wood will splinter.

    • Look for quality manufacturing. You’ll be able to tell good playsets from the inferior ones by asking a few questions such as what type of wood was used, what kind of hardware is provided, where and how was the swing set manufactured, and what kind of guarantee does it come with. Modern pressure-treated wood is both durable and safe for children, making it a quality choice, hot-galvanized bolts will hold your playground equipment together reliably, and a quality playset will come with at least a ten year warranty. Anything less than these specs should raise some red flags.

    • Pre-sanded wood is another quality indicator. And besides, it’ll save you the headache of having to do this step yourself.

    Prevention First – Sealing Your Playset

    Buying a quality wooden swing set is your first line of defense. But if you don’t take care of your playset (even the best quality set), then it won’t last you nearly as long as it should, and the wood will quickly begin to splinter after a few years. If you want to head off this issue at the pass, then there is a simple step you can take. And as the old adage goes “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

    Sealing your wooden swing set annually will protect the wood from the weather and other outdoor elements that erode the quality of outdoor playhouses. It will also keep your swing set safe and sound in the face of water, wildlife, and children at play.

    Sealing a swing set is simpler than you’d imagine. Here’s how to do it:

    • Sand it down:

    During this step, swing set owners will simply sand down any rough areas until they are smooth. You can also gently sand down any high traffic spots so these areas are given a stronger resistance. Use medium grit sandpaper, as anything heavier will start to wear away at the wood itself and anything lighter won’t get the job done.

    • Seal it up:

    Buy a quality wood penetrating sealant. Use a paint sprayer or do the job manually. Either way, it is a rather fast process, so it can be completed in one afternoon. Apply a single layer unless the instructions say it requires two. When using opaque sealant, be careful to keep the layer smooth and even all around. Transparent sealers don’t require such care.

    • Repeat:

    Repeat the first two steps every year or two to maintain your wooden swing set’s integrity. If you keep a regular maintenance schedule like this, then you should never have to worry about your kids getting splinters.

    Keep your playground equipment splinter-free with these easy steps, and get our free ebook, The Complete Guide to Swing Set Safety, so you can read up on other important safety tips for you and your children.

    [Note: If just a small area of your wooden swing set gets damaged or starts to decay, you can spot treat the area instead of sealing the whole playset. Simply clean, sand, and seal that section, making sure to keep the new layers of sealant smooth and even with the existing finish. Continue your annual maintenance schedule as usual.]

    Keep your playground equipment splinter-free with these easy steps, and get our free ebook, The Complete Guide to Swing Set Safety, so you can read up on other important safety tips for you and your children.

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