Spring is just a few weeks away, and much of the country is already enjoying unseasonably warm weather. While your little ones might not be clamoring to play outside yet, it’s the perfect time to get your swing set up to snuff and ready for the spring and summer. Doing proper maintenance is an important part of ensuring that your swing set is safe to use, and to minimize wear on it over the course of the year.
Check for Damage
Over the course of the winter, outdoor equipment tends to suffer quite a bit of weather damage. Rain and snowfall can soak into wooden frames, and, through repeated freezing and thawing, cause cracks to form. This leaves the wood vulnerable to insects and fungus, leading to damage and decay. Temperature variations also cause metal parts to expand and contract, which can loosen nuts and screws. This kind of damage can be minimized by performing the proper maintenance in the fall, but it’s always worth it to check and make sure everything is in order.
Paint, Stain, and Seal
Sealants and stains are designed to protect wood from UV and water damage. Winter causes a lot of water damage, and tends to wear down sealants, even if they were just reapplied in the fall. During the spring and summertime, sunlight is more likely to take its toll on your swing set. A good stain will help to keep the sun off, and prevent excessive bleaching.
Painting over wood or other components with an opaque color solves this problem in a single step. However, it’s very important to repaint regularly for another important reason. Peeling paint can be a sign of water damage, and leaves paint chips, which may make it into your kids’ mouths if they aren’t carefully removed. If you notice any blistering or peeling paint, it’s important to remove the old paint and to add a new coat.
Maintain your Swing Set Surface
Your swing set’s surface does more to protect your child than any other part of your swing set. When kids fall from the monkey bars, the swing, or the climbing wall, they need a relatively soft surface to land on. Whether you’re using sand, bark, rubber pellets, or anything else, you’ll need to ensure that it’s up to the task. Replace overly decayed bark, and groom and level non-organic fillers to provide a relatively loose and level surface. This will go a long way toward preventing twisted ankles, broken bones, and other painful injuries, while simultaneously making it more enjoyable to play on your equipment.