In many backyards across the country, children play on various forms of wooden playground equipment. This equipment can be anything from swings, slides, playhouses, or sandboxes. If maintained properly, these pieces of wooden playground equipment can provide entertainment and joy for several years to come.
Wooden Playground Equipment Maintenance
Keeping your wooden playground equipment maintained is not only important to the life of the equipment itself. A well maintained piece of equipment will also keep children safe, and free from injuries in the event something breaks, or splinters form. Wood is a material that must have constant upkeep if it is to last any length of time and look good. Have a schedule of projects in written form so you know when and what to do.
Clean Away Dirt, Cobwebs, and Other Debris
The first priority in keeping your wooden playground equipment properly maintained is to keep it clean. Throughout the summer there are rainstorms, kids playing on it, wind blowing dirt around, and bugs finding a place to make a home. A power washer will do a great job in keeping the equipment clean and free of any spiders. Another benefit to keeping it clean is that little pieces of rocks can not embed themselves into the wood, thus scratching the finish and letting water damage start.
Treat with Water Sealer
Each spring, after you have cleaned the equipment off for the summer, it is a good idea to give it a coat of water sealer. Even if the lumber is pressure treated, it will still have some cracks in it from being outside. These cracks let in water that begin to rot away at the wood. Seal it with a product like Thompson's and you do not have to worry about replacing any wood for years to come.
Sand Off Rough Spots
While the children are playing around on the playground equipment they may gouge the wood, make dents and even cause some splintering. Using an orbital sander on these rough spots will make sure that no one is hurt by them.
Paint, Paint, Paint
One of the biggest maintenance duties for wooden playground equipment is to keep it protected from the elements. Since they are outside year round, a good paint job will keep the equipment from rotting and falling apart.
Tighten Screws, Bolts, and Nails
Through the course of several years, the playground equipment will start to loosen up in places that have to absorb a lot of stress. This means bolts needed to be tightened, screws should be made tight, and nails pounded back into the wood. If the screws are rusted, or the nails bent and corroded, replace them with new ones.
Fix Any Holes or Gouges
Wood putty is a great way to keep the wooden playground equipment looking good even after it has been damaged. If you notice that a section has begun to rot, or has been damaged by a heavy object, clean out the damaged pieces and replace with a new piece of wood. If the area is small in size, you can use some wood putty to fill in the hole. Once it dries, it will harden up and be like the wood. Sand it smooth and paint it for a universal look.