Most wood swing set manufacturers pre-seal their play systems with water-based sealants due to shipping guidelines. Unfortunately, water based sealants break down shortly after being exposed to the rain and UV rays. Some playset manufacturers even recommend re-applying sealant just months after your purchase. Oil based sealants are made to be more durable and offer greater protection of wood products. Oil based sealants also wear significantly better on the high traffic areas of you playset.
Quality wooden play systems can be very expensive. It’s amazing how much money is spent on the purchase of a play system and how little is spent on maintaining it. Your playset should be considered an investment, and unfortunately it will depreciate in value like anything else. By properly caring for your playset it will retain its value for a longer period of time. A quality playset can easily hold 50-75% of its original value if it receives regular maintenance. During everyday play, it can be subjected to damaging forces depending on the weight and momentum forced on it.