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, Adam wants to know if his wooden playset is resistant to rot and decay.
Question: Will the wood on my wooden playset rot?
- Adam Bailey, Father of Heather, 5, and Joshua, 7
Answer: Whether or not your wooden playset rots has a lot to do with what type of swing set you purchased and what you do to maintain it. Here’s a closer look at a few factors that will affect the longevity of your outdoor swing set.
#1 The Right Kind of Wood
While wooden swing sets are certainly the most durable option of any outdoor playground equipment, choosing the right kind of wood will give you the most time and enjoyment out of your playset.
Cedar wood will not rot, but it is much weaker than other types of wood, so warping is a common complaint from these swing set owners.
Redwood and teak are both solid choices, but these types of wood are much more expensive than most of the other options available to you.
Pressure-treated wood is probably the most resilient option for wooden swing sets. It is rot- and insect-resistant, so it will keep the integrity of your playset for the longest amount of time. Many customers have happily reported that their pressure-treated wooden swing sets saw their children grow through to adulthood!
#2 Applying Sealant Regularly
Any wooden playset will need a layer of sealant if you want it to last through the seasons. Sealing a wooden swing set is simple and will only take a few hours. Here is a quick overview (and you can also turn to our in-depth answer on how to seal a jungle gym when you’re done reading this):
Clean the surface thoroughly to remove mildew and surface dirt.
Apply a layer of sealant or stain according to the instructions on the packaging.
Allow the sealant to dry for 24 hours before using the playset.
#3 Occasional Maintenance
How well and often you maintain your playground equipment will obviously be a major factor as to how long the playset will last and whether or not it will rot. Annually sealing the wood swing set will keep the protective layer intact as will regular maintenance of the structure and components.
#4 Bug Spraying
While weather and exposure to water over long periods of time are generally the cause of swing set rotting, another culprit is also to blame: bug infestations can form within the wood and cause massive destruction from the inside out.
If you are fortunate enough to have chosen a pressure-treated wooden playground structure, then this shouldn’t be a problem for you. As mentioned, the kid-friendly chemical treatment used on the wood is a bug repellant. The little critters can’t stand to be around the stuff, so they won’t bother building nests and infesting your playset.
If you chose another kind of wood for your playground equipment, then you can use a strong bug spray to ward off these unwanted visitors, though it will not be as effective.
#5 A Fresh Coat of Paint
Aside from giving your wood swing set a brighter and fresher appearance, a nice coat of paint will also help prevent the wood from rotting. The paint acts as a protective layer against the elements and other adverse conditions that generally contribute to the decay of wooden swing sets.
We hope this answer has been helpful for you. If you have any other questions or concerns, feel free to read our in-depth how to guides or contact one of our service representatives for fast and courteous assistance.