How to Maintain Your Wooden Swing Set

Kids playing with KidKraft swingset

The excitement of unveiling a brand new wooden swing set to your over-the-moon kids is tough to beat. But over time, the elements can do a number on your kids’ swing set. Fortunately, you can preserve that brand-new look and feel with a little routine maintenance. Here are the most common questions we get when it comes to caring for your outdoor swing set:

What amount of weathering is normal?

As a natural material, the wood on your swing set will show a little weathering as it’s exposed to the elements. The most common types of weathering are checking (i.e. cracks in the surface along the grain), warping, and fading. This type of weathering is totally normal and won’t affect the safety of your swing set, so keep on playing! We recommend applying a stain or water repellant each year to keep weathering to a minimum.

What about splinters?

It’s also normal to see some minor splintering on the surface of the wood over time. Simply sand those splinters down to save you and the kiddos the first-aid-fuss later on.

How often should I check my playset for safety?

At the beginning of each play season, we recommend doing a thorough sweep over the play set to check for splinters, loose or rusted hardware, damaged plastic pieces, and loose or damaged anchors. If you do find any issues, here’s what you should do:

  • Sand down any rusted hardware and repaint with a lead-free paint
  • Tighten loose bolts or screws, but do not overtighten as this will cause the wood to splinter
  • If any bolts are protruding on the other side of the wood, add more flat washers under the top of the bolt until it no longer protrudes.
  • Sand any splintered wood until smooth and reapply water repellant or stain
  • If the playset isn’t secure (i.e. wobbly/ sinking), resecure or replace ground stakes and anchors if necessary. Refer to your manual for instructions.
  • Lubricate squeaking hardware on swings with WD-40
  • Replace chains, swings, and other attachments that show excessive rust or damage

Continue to check the swing set once a month during play season to keep playtime safe, and check out this video for details!

Do I really need to apply water repellent/stain to my wooden swing set each year?

Please do! This keeps the wood from absorbing too much moisture, which is the main cause of weathering. This is one of the simplest ways you can keep your playset looking like new for years to come.

How do I care for the plastic pieces on my swing set?

The plastic swings, slides, and other accessories on your swing set are tough and built to last. Their only enemy? Freezing temperatures. Temperatures below freezing can make the plastic brittle and more prone to breaking over time. If it’s freezing outside, we recommend removing and storing these pieces to prolong their life.

How do I keep my swing set from sinking or wobbling?

The best way to prevent sinking or wobbling swing sets is to make sure they are installed properly. Swing sets that are installed and anchored properly on level surfaces rarely have these issues. If you do notice some sinking, check your anchors and ground stakes to make sure they are secure and undamaged and resecure or replace them if necessary.