Wooden swing sets are a kids’ dream come true, and if you want to keep it from becoming a nightmare, parents would do well to use a quality sealant periodically. Read through this fast guide to using sealants for easy outdoor swing set maintenance that you can do on your own.
To Seal or to Stain?
First, a word on the difference between sealant and stain. Sealant is a clear coating that creates a barrier around your wooden play set, protecting it from weather and water damage. Stain does the same thing, but it comes in various shades, giving your backyard jungle gym a nice color to it.
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. You can buy either one at your local hardware store.
Sealant Made Easy
Now that you know which materials to use, you’re ready for a quick and easy how to lesson so you can be a DIY sealer. Take a look at these simple steps to swing set sealants:
- Remove everything that isn’t wood. This includes slides, swings, and any other accessories that aren’t really secured down. It is a lot easier to take a few minutes to unscrew swing set accessories than it will be to clean off the sealant splatters if you don’t remove these items!
- Run a maintenance check. Do any parts need replacing, fixing, or caring for? Sand down rough spots or anything that is rotting.
- Clean the entire swing set with a cleaning solution. This can be soap and water, bleach, or other cleaning product of your choice. Pay particular attention to any mildew spots and make sure to remove every trace of this unpleasant substance. Trapping mildew beneath a layer of sealant will only help to rot your wooden swing set faster. You can use a pressure washer, but only if you know how to use this tool properly. Otherwise, you risk damaging the wood.
- Let your playset dry. Let your swing set sit for approximately 24 hours in dry weather to allow all the moisture and liquid to dry out of the wood. The last thing you want to do is seal moisture into your backyard playset beams.
- Now, it’s time to apply sealant. Use a pump sprayer that will exclusively be used for this task. Don’t use an old paint sprayer because no matter how hard you try to clean it, there’s always some paint residue left in the thing, and that will mess up your neat sealant layer. A pump sprayer will generally use more sealer than a manual brush job would, but it will save you a significant amount of time.
- Let the sealant dry for 24 hours.
Quick Tips for Instant Success
- Sealant doesn’t have to be applied 100% evenly because it dries clear, so no one will notice any imperfections. Stain on the other hand has to be more exact because the imperfections will show through in the color. Use a brush to smooth out areas where you went over multiple times, drip marks, or other messy parts.
- Make it a habit: By sealing even fairly new swing sets, you get yourself into the habitual routine of doing it at a certain time every year.
- Avoid sealing your wooden swing set when it’s humid outside or in temperatures lower than 40 degrees. These weather conditions leave moisture in the air, making it harder for the sealant to set and dry properly.
- Use one gallon for the average single outdoor playhouse, two for bigger jungle gyms or models with more pieces to cover. Read the label carefully to figure out if this product will require a second coat.
Applying sealant is an easy one-person job, and especially with a sprayer, it doesn’t have to take a long time. Keep your swing set safe, strong, and looking smart for years to come with a quick layer of sealant.
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