How to keep Metal Swing Sets from Rusting


A few years back before I bought a large Wooden Swing set, I decided to buy cheap Metal Swing set that was advertised in a local store at an amazing promotion price – it was too good to let go so I took them up on their offer. It started off great but over time, it really started to deteriorate very badly and after 3 years - I knew deep down that it was unsafe and it needed a new home – the skip!

The Metal Swing had so much rust that the frame was beginning to warp and most of the bolts were close to cracking – if only I knew back then how to keep the Metal swing set from rusting, I could have got a year or 2 more out of it. So if you have bought a Metal swing set, you should take a look at some of my tips below.

View also: Popular Swing sets at Wayfair Here

How to Keep Metal Swing sets from Rusting

Firstly try to understand why rust appears in the first place! Rust is also known as Iron Oxide and can appear on anything that contains iron. It can occur when water and oxygen in the air gets in contact with the iron and it starts a chemical reaction called Iron oxidization. It starts to turn red and will start to corrode and will eventually become weak and brittle.

Preventative measures and Treatments:

  • You should buy a Swing set that has a Galvanized coat – the Iron or steel used is coated in this process with a layer of magnesium or zinc which acts as a barrier against water and oxygen. The Zinc / Magnesium now becomes the Oxidized part rather than the Iron parts inside, so in effect the Zinc /Magnesium is sacrificed to save the Iron. Tin on the other hand is another way of protecting Iron by creating a layer around it but is not sacrificed for the Iron as the Iron will rust at the same rate as the Tin coating. Tin just simply provides a coat just like a coat of paint…
  • It is much easier to prevent Rust than trying to salvage an already rusted Swing set so you should take these preventative measures very seriously as once it sets in, it will spread like wildfire.
  • If the Swing set is not Galvanized, then you can provide your own protective layer such a Metal primer followed by 2 coats of Metal polymer paint.
  • If the bolts are not made from Galvanized or stainless steel, then you can add the primer and polymer paint to these particular items on their own as well.
  • If you see small spots of rust starting to appear, tackle these straight away by scraping and sanding away the loose pieces of rust to give a smooth finish and wipe away any debris including all the tiny particles you see. Once completely spotless clean and smooth, add the primer and polymer paint as stated above.
  • Some easier common choices to create a barrier against water and oxygen is to add an oil based spray such as WD-40 below as you would do with a bicycle chain.

I hope you found these tips useful and that you now have a better understanding on why Metal Swings rust and how to prevent and treat it. Like wooden swing sets, metal swing sets can also deteriorate if not handled and looked after properly but if you have a galvanized steel model with a polymer paint and stainless steel fittings then you are off to a great start.

View also: Popular Swing sets at Amazon Here

I would like to thank you for taking the time to read this and if you have any queries at all, please do not hesitate to leave a comment below.

Posted in Helpful & Safety Tips and tagged , , .


  1. This is very interesting! I’ve often thought that there must be ways to keep these outdoor structures from rusting. I use oil to keep my metal pet clippers from rusting which I apply every time I finish using it but it must be different having these things outside. Thanks for the useful post!

  2. To be honest, I find this post more useful than just the care and maintenance of a swing set but see the value of this post for anything made of metal. These days it seems like most products made of metal are having a hard time of withstanding the great outdoors. Your tips will probably come in handy for many different things we use and have outside. Will be coming back for some of your other updates as you mentioned. Thank you.

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