How to stain your swing set
A sure staple in the family backyard, a swing set is a sizable investment that will provide your kids with years of fun.
However, it’s no fun when the wood loses its luster, or when the set ages unattractively in the sun or snow. While all of the Backyard Discovery swing sets arrive to you pre-treated and stained, we understand that many people want to personalize their sets, or would simply like to preserve the stunning cedar color. On the other hand, if your swing set has never been stained or sealed, it probably just needs a little TLC to restore it to its former glory.
Just like you maintain other aspects of your home and outdoor furniture, such as covering your BBQ grill and taking seat cushions in for the winter, you should plan some maintenance for your swing set, too. For this reason, you should try to stain or seal your swing set once a year. (If it sits in a shady, protected location, you might be able to get away with every two years instead.)
Stain vs sealer: what to use on your swing set
Many people struggle to choose between stain or sealer, often because they don’t actually know the difference between the two. It’s simple — stain has a color, whereas sealer is clear. For that reason, if your swing set is in pretty good shape and the color of the wood is still good, you might want to opt for sealer over stain to get a more natural effect.
If, on the other hand, the color is faded, then a stain can revive your swingset and bring back some cheer to your outdoor area.
At Backyard Discovery, even though paint is a great way to protect your swing set we tend to avoid using thick paint on wood products to keep the boards from sticking together in the box. However, you can get away with painting your swing set provided you use a high-quality outdoor paint designed for wooden surfaces. You should also sand the wood down so that it’s free from any previous paint, and prime the surface if necessary.
What time of year should I stain my swing set?
There is no perfect time to stain your swing set, but we would recommend that you get it done during spring, when the weather is dry enough but not too hot. Staining in spring also means that your swing set is ready to go for the summer season. Having a certain time of year in mind is a great action to take because this will get you on schedule for years to come.
Staining your swing set: step-by-step guide
Once you’ve chosen your stain and sealer and you’re all ready to go, this is the method we recommend you follow:
- To avoid any stain going where it shouldn’t, remove everything from the structure but the wood itself. That means tent top canopies, plastic components, swings, slides and other accessories, such as binoculars. Where you physically can’t remove something, try to protect it with tarp or tape.
- Clean the swing set using a store-bought wood cleaner or a simple mixture of water and white wine vinegar. This will kill off any bacteria and remove any mold.
- After cleaning, the wood will be wet, so you’ll need to allow the swing set a full 24 hours to dry.
- Inspect the swing set by running a gloved hand over the surface.If there are any rough spots, make sure to sand them down to avoid injury to your little ones. This is also a good time to check and tighten your swing set.
- Apply your chosen stain or sealer. You can do this either by using a brush, or to make the job quicker, with a paint sprayer — take care when using stain in a sprayer as you might end up with spots or streaks. Keep your brush close by to smooth any areas out.
- Allow 24 hours for drying.
Staining a Backyard Discovery swing set
Each of our swing sets is made from 100% cedar, which is naturally decay- and insect-repellent. We treat all wood with a non-toxic, clear stain that is done for color only. Once or twice a year, depending on your climate conditions, you must apply some type of protection (sealant) to the wood of your unit.
However, if you’d like to put your own spin on the swingset, or have had it for several years and want to revive it, take a look at our advice on restaining outdoor wood and follow our easy-peasy process above!
For any further warranty, safety or assembly questions, get in touch with us today!