Looking after your climbing frame during the winter

The days are getting shorter and temperatures are dropping. Playing outside isn’t a very popular idea with the kids at the moment – I think we all prefer to be inside, with a hot mug of chocolate and the television…

But, while we are all sitting cosy inside, spare a thought for your poor climbing frame, outside, all alone, bracing itself for the harsh wintry conditions that are on their way… A little bit of protection against the wind, rain, snow and hail would show your climbing frame that it hasn’t been forgotten… That it isn’t being neglected on purpose!

Wood, as a natural product, is particularly susceptible to changes in the weather. The wind and the rain have eroding effects and as a result, any old stain that is left on the wood is rendered useless after 2 winters on the trot. Once the protective stain has gone, the wood will be bleached by the sun, making it look and feel horrible. Wood expands and contracts as it gets wet and dries out again. However, cedar wood shouldn’t splinter. By protecting the cedar wood with a stain, you are guarding against any natural cracking turning into unnatural splintering.

We recommend you choose an oil-based stain. Oil is naturally water-repellent and so offers the perfect solution for protecting wood against the damp during the colder months. There are lots of different brands of wood stain. If you aren’t sure what to pick, talk to an expert in your local DIY store. They’ll be able to point you in the right direction.

The kids aren’t using the frame as much during these colder months so now is also the time to tighten all of the bolts. Windy wintry weather can play havoc with bolts and screws. If wooden parts are not held firmly in place, the windy weather will simply rip the frame apart. Screws and bolts are easy for a strong wind to loosen so do a little bit of maintenance now in order to avoid doing a lot of maintenance (and rebuilding) later. If you have a climbing frame with a tarpaulin roof, it is a good idea to take the tarpaulin down and keep it indoors during the winter. With the windy weather, the tarpaulin will act like a giant umbrella which will cause for expensive reparations come the spring. Even though you may have pegged your frame down with ground anchors, they won’t be much of a match for very blustery weather.

Next March, the kids will want to play on the frame again – let’s make sure they have a frame to come back to! If you have any questions about caring for your frame, get in touch. We are more than happy to advise you further!

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