As the last warm days of autumn slip away, the time finally comes to prepare your backyard for winter. Your children won’t play on that swing set until spring in a very cold winter climate, although a more moderate one might leave room for occasional romps outside on warmer days. Regardless of your climate, here are a few tips to ensure that your playset remains in superior condition year-round and hearty enough to weather the snowy or rainy winter months.
Do A Thorough Inspection of Your Swing Set
The first thing you will want to do is inspect your swing set for damage or problem areas in any screws, roofs, or equipment. For wooden swing sets, check for insect damage or molding in any hidden spaces. The best way to keep your swing set in great condition for years to come—and through many winters—is to inspect it regularly and catch any small problems before they develop into large ones. After a thorough inspection, fix any problem areas or call a professional to assist you before winter sets in.
Clean Up the Swing Set
You should always aim to clean up all fall debris before the first winter rain or snow hits your swing set. Leaves soaking into the wood could make your playset more prone to mold or mildew damage.
Next, make sure you give the entire set a good washing with a hose, power washer, or deck cleaner and any mild soap. (If you do use a power washer, make sure that the pressure is not so high that it actually causes damage to your swing set.) This cleaning will help prevent stains and mold, and keep your swing set looking fresh. In wooden swing sets, it will assist in deterring possible rotting along with allowing you to restain the wood less frequently.
Store or Cover Certain Equipment and Toys
If you have a sandbox, one of the first things you should do is cover it with a secure tarp or heavy lid to keep extra moisture and animals out for the winter. Any extra toys you keep in the play set area should be stored away for the winter, along with any equipment that you deem questionable for handling your home’s typical winter weather such as a hammock.
If you live in a place with very snowy winters, it is a good idea to remove larger, detachable parts such as swings and slides and put them in storage. This will assist in keeping the equipment in great condition for years to come, away from the pressure caused by sitting under heavy snowfall all winter long.
For Wooden Swing Sets in Particular
Skip this section if you own a vinyl swing sets. When it comes to wood, remaining consistent with resealing and restaining will ensure your swing set stays in good condition for many more years. Typically, the wood will need restaining every 2-3 years depending on your weather conditions and type of wood. Resealing the wood should generally be done more frequently, about once every 1-2 years. If you feel uncertain on when you should reseal and restain, consult your swing set manufacturer for care tips.
If you follow these tips every fall, you will undoubtedly prolong the life of your playset while also keeping it attractive in your yard and safe for your kids.