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    July 09, 2024 2 min read

    Wooden swing sets are a kids’ dream come true, but to keep that dream from turning into a nightmare, parents should use a quality sealant periodically. Read through this fast guide for easy outdoor swing set maintenance that you can do on your own.

    To Seal or to Stain?

    First, understand the difference between sealant and stain. Sealant is a clear coating that creates a protective barrier around your wooden playset, shielding it from weather and water damage. Stain does the same, but it comes in various shades, adding color to your backyard jungle gym.

    If your wood playground equipment is fading from the sun, weather, or use, opt for a stain to hide the age and wear. If it’s a fairly new set, you can stick with sealant instead. Both products are available at your local hardware store.

    Sealant Made Easy

    Now that you know which materials to use, you’re ready for a quick and easy DIY lesson on swing set sealants:

    1. Remove Non-Wood Parts: Take off slides, swings, and any other accessories that aren’t wood. It’s easier to remove these items than to clean off sealant splatters later.

    2. Run a Maintenance Check: Replace or fix any parts that need attention. Sand down rough spots or areas that are rotting.

    3. Clean the Swing Set: Use a cleaning solution, such as soap and water, bleach, or another product of your choice. Pay special attention to mildew spots and remove every trace. Trapping mildew under sealant will accelerate the rotting process. Use a pressure washer if you know how to handle it properly, to avoid damaging the wood.

    4. Dry the Playset: Let your swing set dry for approximately 24 hours in dry weather to ensure all moisture evaporates from the wood.

    5. Apply Sealant: Use a pump sprayer dedicated to this task. Avoid using an old paint sprayer, as residue can affect the sealant layer. A pump sprayer may use more sealer than a manual brush, but it saves time.

    6. Let the Sealant Dry: Allow the sealant to dry for 24 hours.

    Quick Tips for Instant Success

    • Sealant Application: Sealant doesn’t need to be applied perfectly evenly because it dries clear. Stain, however, requires more precision as imperfections will show. Use a brush to smooth out drip marks or overlaps.
    • Routine Maintenance: Get into the habit of sealing your swing set annually, even if it’s fairly new.
    • Weather Conditions: Avoid sealing in humid weather or temperatures below 40 degrees, as moisture in the air can prevent the sealant from setting properly.
    • Quantity: Use one gallon for an average single outdoor playhouse, and two for larger jungle gyms. Check the label to see if a second coat is needed.

    Applying sealant is a breezy one-person job, especially with a sprayer. Keep your wooden swing set safe, strong, and looking great for years with a quick layer of sealant.