Conducting regular swing set maintenance at the change of each season, especially before and after winter, is a great way to ensure optimal safety and play. It's also one of the best ways to make sure your outdoor playset looks great and stays functional for many years to come.
If you're unsure of where to start, here are some helpful tips and tricks for inspecting, cleaning, and maintaining your outdoor swing set or play structure.
Protecting Your Swing Set Over the Winter
Before we dive into swing set maintenance, it's important to make sure you're taking care of your swing set even in the months it's not in use. We recommend removing detachable parts, placing them in storage, and applying a fresh coat of sealant as you begin to approach winter. If you're finding your garage short on the extra space, we wrote a blog on garage organization tips to help you get started.
You may also consider covering the swing set with a tarp/canopy to protect it during the colder months. This is especially important for a wood swing set, as it deters rot and allows you to restain the wood less frequently.
How to Inspect Your Swing Set
Before your kids start climbing all over the swing set again, conduct a thorough inspection of the entire structure. Pay special attention to the roofing, hinges, bolts, screws, ropes, cables, chains, and anything that could be a potential safety hazard. If you notice loose boards, fraying ropes, or rusting metal, be sure to address this ASAP.
If you put any of the swing set's accessories in storage over the winter, be sure to inspect them when you go to reattach the parts. If you're reattaching a slide, swing, or climbing wall, be sure to secure each piece with the appropriate bolts and screws.
How to Fix a Wooden Swing Set
(1) Repair Boards
Simply locate any loose boards, remove the screws, and place them in a different section of the wood. This redistributes the tension on the wood and can actually help straighten boards and planks that have warped slightly due to time and weather.
(2) Remove Wooden Boards
If the boards are warped or splintered beyond a simple repair, remove them and replace them before allowing your kids to play on the swing set. If replacing wooden boards seems daunting to you, don't stress about it!
Locate the boards that need replacing and remove them one at a time with a power drill. From there, grab a quality set of wood screws and start replacing them one at a time.
(3) Reassemble the Play Set
Swing set maintenance may sound like a lot of work. But the more consistently you maintain your structure (about once a season), the less you'll have to do at any one time. You can try working it into your yard work routine, even doing a quick quality check every time you mow the lawn or maintain the garden.
How to Clean a Wood Play Set
After you've fixed any loose boards and reassembled your structure, the next step of swing set maintenance is cleaning. But before you tire of spring cleaning overload, we've assembled some tips below to get the job done quickly (and have a bit of fun doing it).
Power Washing a Swing Set
Power washing a swing set is a great way to remove any hard-to-clean build-up that may have accumulated over the colder months. If you opt for a power washer, just be sure to set the spray-wand to low. From there, you can adjust as necessary based on how much dirt your swing set has collected. You should also wear protective glasses to make sure dirt and debris do not get in your eyes.
You can also look for a power washer that has a no splashback hose so you can clean the swing set without getting your clothes all wet (unless it's a hot day and you're looking to cool off).
Stain and Seal
After you've washed your swing set and removed the dirt and grime, you'll want to think about playset stain and sealer. Applying fresh stain and sealant at the correct times-after you've cleaned it and given it ample time to dry helps your wooden swing set look as good as new for years to come.
Once you've mastered the fundamentals of how to refinish a swing set, you want to make sure you prioritize consistency. We recommend restaining your wooden swing set about every 2-3 years and resealing the wood a little more frequently, about every 1-2 years.
How to Keep a Metal Swing Set from Rusting
If you're looking to purchase a metal swing set (though wood and vinyl are typically more popular for their longevity), we recommend at least buying a galvanized swing set. A galvanized swing set has a layer of zinc or magnesium that protects the metal from being exposed to water and oxygen.
Another way you can prevent rust on your metal swing set is by painting it. This is essentially like doing your own galvanization process, and a good metal primer can work just as well as purchasing a professionally applied one. Be sure to paint the nuts and bolts as well, as these small parts are just as likely to attract rust as the rest of the swing set.
BIG ELEPHANT summarizes the specific maintenance skills of these children's swings. We also remind parents that they must purchase a swing device with a stable structure to truly ensure the safety of their children.
We are a manufacturer of children's fitness equipment, and our aim is to bring a beautiful childhood to every child. We are equipped with a professional quality inspection system to carry out all-around quality control of our products. With our thoughtful one-stop shopping service, our products have been loved by customers all over the world. If you want to buy our children's swing, please contact us immediately!