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Cedar Playset, should I seal it?

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Forum topic by steffen707 posted 03-25-2019 05:26 PM 257 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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steffen707

172 posts in 2620 days


03-25-2019 05:26 PM

I’m about to start construction of a cedar playset for my kids. The manufacturer recommends sealing it (with their product of course).

Should I seal it? ( i thought with cedar you didn’t have to)
should I buy the manufacturer’s stuff, or just a high quality wood deck sealant from a local big box?

Thanks much!

-- If you think it will take a week and cost $100, it will take a month and cost $400.


19 replies so far

View WoodenDreams's profile

WoodenDreams

537 posts in 238 days


#1 posted 03-25-2019 05:42 PM

With Aromatic Cedar on the Cedar Chests we build, we use a natural wood stain to bring out the color, then use four coats of water base poly for protective coating. Is the play set toys

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LesB

2047 posts in 3770 days


#2 posted 03-25-2019 05:49 PM

If is is western cedar and used out doors I would apply a sealer. Generic Boiled linseed oil would the least expensive and about as affective as anything else in an outdoor setting. I would apply two coats; the first one diluted 50% with mineral spirits and the second full strength but one coat is ok too. Like a deck surface that is treated it will need to be cleaner and renewed every few years (depending on exposure).
If you decide not to seal it the surface will turn a grey color eventually and get a nice weathered patina. Even that can be cleaned and renewed with a commercial deck brightener (a bleach compound).
From my experience (my kids and grandkids) the kids will probably use it for a couple of years and then move on and you will be looking to find a new owner to get it out of the yard.

I noticed there was a response posted just before mine about Aromatic Cedar which is different than the usual Western Red Cedar used for outdoor structures and toys. I would DEFINITELY not use a poly finish on outdoor play sets. In a couple of years it will need to be stripped and re-done and will look terrible.

-- Les B, Oregon

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steffen707

172 posts in 2620 days


#3 posted 03-25-2019 06:03 PM

This is an outdoor playset Les. With the linseed approach, Ina few years do you just re-apply another coat, or do you have to strip something?

I absolutely do not want to have to strip anything and would just like to clean and reapply if needed.

-- If you think it will take a week and cost $100, it will take a month and cost $400.

View onoitsmatt's profile

onoitsmatt

427 posts in 1503 days


#4 posted 03-25-2019 07:34 PM

I use a sealer and power wash it every three years before reapplying a fresh coat on my kids’ swingset. I think I did two coats last time.

-- Matt - Phoenix, AZ

View Snipes's profile

Snipes

392 posts in 2572 days


#5 posted 03-25-2019 07:39 PM

Leave it

-- if it is to be it is up to me

View steffen707's profile

steffen707

172 posts in 2620 days


#6 posted 03-25-2019 07:40 PM

onoismatt, what sealer do you use? How do you apply it?

-- If you think it will take a week and cost $100, it will take a month and cost $400.

View TravisH's profile

TravisH

653 posts in 2262 days


#7 posted 03-25-2019 07:40 PM

I just let it age to its natural silvery/gray color and forget about sealing it. Just something else to keep up with in my opinion and the gray isn’t bad to look at. It is going to last way longer than your kids will use it and something you likely won’t keep after a given age. They don’t resell for much around here and most end up being put out in pieces at the curb or free to whoever will come get it.

From my experiences and most I know, really one of those things you end up building to find out it won’t likely be used very long but hopefully you have outdoor kids. Mine melt in the sun and evidently may die without some sort of controller in their hand. My kids (three total) only really used it from like ages 3 to 6 and not much during that time period. The raised fort portion on ours ended up being an area for me to dry milled logs as it gets good airflow being raised partially higher than our privacy fence and the “tent” funneling air over it. I had built a playhouse for them also that just became a very large dog house and then got re-purposed to store my smoker, fold-able ladder, chainsaw, etc..

View BlueRidgeDog's profile

BlueRidgeDog

472 posts in 107 days


#8 posted 03-25-2019 07:43 PM

I would put a deck sealer on it with a pump sprayer.

View pottz's profile

pottz

4683 posts in 1312 days


#9 posted 03-25-2019 07:46 PM

i agree with lesB id use an oil or stain but as he said dont use a poly,i mistakenly used poly on some adirondack chairs i made for my brother,two years later i saw them and was horrified at how they looked.with oils you just need to clean and apply a fresh coat every few years.penofin is a good brand ive used.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View steffen707's profile

steffen707

172 posts in 2620 days


#10 posted 03-25-2019 08:31 PM



I would put a deck sealer on it with a pump sprayer.

- BlueRidgeDog


Any need to spray the under part of the deck, or the side of the walls that don’t face the sun?

-- If you think it will take a week and cost $100, it will take a month and cost $400.

View jonah's profile

jonah

2063 posts in 3626 days


#11 posted 03-25-2019 08:58 PM

I wouldn’t bother sealing it, personally. You have to re-do it every year or two, and the gray color is pretty attractive. Our swingset we got off Craigslist for free and passed it on about three years later to someone else for free when we moved. It was ~8 years old when we got it, never sealed, and it’s just fine today.

View PeteStaehling's profile

PeteStaehling

89 posts in 1447 days


#12 posted 03-25-2019 11:02 PM

I did stuff like that in cypress and let it go silver/gray. Same for outdoor furniture. I’d do the same if doing it again. I’d think cedar would work similarly well with the same lack of finish, but I can get nice cypress here and like working with it so I don’t have a lot of experience with cedar.

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steffen707

172 posts in 2620 days


#13 posted 03-25-2019 11:09 PM

So if i want to maintain the look, seal it,

if not, the cedar wont rot before the kids are out of the house, or the playset is out of my lawn

That’s what i’m hearing.

-- If you think it will take a week and cost $100, it will take a month and cost $400.

View PeteStaehling's profile

PeteStaehling

89 posts in 1447 days


#14 posted 03-25-2019 11:19 PM



i agree with lesB id use an oil or stain but as he said dont use a poly,i mistakenly used poly on some adirondack chairs i made for my brother,two years later i saw them and was horrified at how they looked.with oils you just need to clean and apply a fresh coat every few years.penofin is a good brand ive used.

- pottz


Yeah, I have varnish on the clear pine seat parts of some iron porch chairs. It looks nice and isn’t so bad since it is in the shade and pretty easy to sand and apply a coat or two, but it if it was anything much more difficult to deal with I wouldn’t want to bother with the frequent freshening up of the finish. The other outdoor stuff is all thankfully unfinished cypress.

View PeteStaehling's profile

PeteStaehling

89 posts in 1447 days


#15 posted 03-25-2019 11:22 PM



So if i want to maintain the look, seal it,

if not, the cedar wont rot before the kids are out of the house, or the playset is out of my lawn

That s what i m hearing.

- steffen707

Yeah, it really depends on how you feel about the look of silver/gray cedar. Some love it some don’t.

showing 1 through 15 of 19 replies

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