How to Stain a Swing Set {& HomeRight Finish Max Pro Giveaway}

Early 2012. That’s when I bought the stain for my kid’s swing set. But it took until this summer to stain the swing set, thanks to the HomeRight Finish Max Pro Fine Finish Sprayer. Without this little wonder machine, our (used) swing set would still be in an uncertain state of decay. If you have a swing set like this, or a raised deck to stain, let me try to convince you that the Finish Max Pro is the way to go. And keep reading until the end so you can find out about winning one of your very own!

HomeRight Fine Finish Sprayer stains swing sets

It took me three years to get around to staining this partly because this was always going to be a two day project. The chances of having two days in a row where I had all the necessities were slim to none. I needed:

  • Good weather
  • Plans for the kiddos that didn’t involve me
  • Enough energy to pull it off

Before: Staining a Swing Set

Before: How to stain a swing set

My little one (she’s not quite 5), keeps saying things like, “Remember last winter? That was really awful.” Even she remembers winter, and she knows we are heading into it again! So now is the time to protect swing sets and decks and outdoor wooden furniture, before they take another winter beating.

How to Prepare to Stain a Swing Set: Phase 1

Phase 1 of the project was power washing. I bought this power washer from my favorite local hardware store two years ago.

Power Spray prep to stain a swing setOnce you start power washing, everything next to what you washed looks awful. It’s kind of addictive. Once I started, I kept thinking, what else can I use this on? See the before on the left and the washed section on the right? Sooooo much better already.

Power wash results on right on swing set

A wooden swing set is the perfect project for a beginner because it is possible to cause some damage with a power sprayer. I wasn’t really worried about damage because the squirrels have really done a number on our swing set as it is. You don’t want to practice on your house, if at all possible. After I got the hang of it, I washed our small deck while I was at it.

I planned for this part of the project to take an hour. It took three.

Then it has to dry. Then I had to wait for another good day. See bullet points above. The raw wood looks pretty, but don’t let it sit too long, or you’ll have to power wash all over again.

Let swing set dry after power washing, before staining

How to Stain a Swing Set: Phase 2

They’ve been calling for rain all week, and I haven’t seen a drop, so Wednesday, I decided to go for it. I checked, and it said cloudy, but no rain.

When HomeRight sent me this Finish Max Pro sprayer to try, I opened the box and thought, no way. They must have sent the wrong item. It’s too small. All that stain is going to fit in that small black canister?

HomeRight Finish Max Pro sprayer to stain a swing set

It turns out, this Finish Max Pro sprayer is awesome. Fill the container and away you go. I only filled the container 5 times from the gallon of stain. That is the perfect amount to work with without putting strain on your hand and wrist. With stain, there’s no measuring viscosity or thinning needed, so I just poured and got started.

Well, I took a short pit stop over at Sherwin Williams, where I had them shake my can of stain…because it had been sitting for three years. All the good stuff was on the bottom. I didn’t want that getting stuck in the sprayer.

Mix stain well before staining swing set

Some things you’re going to want to know about this sprayer (besides the fact that it is awesome):

  • Start with safety equipment. I had gloves, safety glasses and a hat.

safety equipment for staining a swing set

  • Read the instructions. There’s a lot of useful stuff in there. Especially if you are using paint, you’ll want to test for viscosity and set it correctly.
  • Get comfortable changing the spray pattern from horizontal to vertical. It will save you a lot of extra work if you have the spray pattern lined up with your surface.
  • Cover anything you don’t want to hit. Mask or drape anything nearby to protect from overspray.
  • Every now and then I had to wipe the front of the nozzle to get a layer of stain off the brass part. No biggie. Just watch your pray pattern to be sure it’s nice and even, or swipe it clean.

I got this far before it started raining. Grrrrrr.

HomeRight how to stain a swing set

I planned for this to take one hour. It took two.

It took nearly exactly one gallon of stain. I have just a smidge left over because I’m using another stain on the rock wall. I’ll tell you about that next time.

So I came in and cleaned up. This is where HomeRight products really shine. I kid you not, I spent the whole time that I was spraying absolutely dreading the cleanup, but it took about 10 the kitchen sink! Years ago I owned a similar sprayer and it seemed like everything had to be cleaned outside, which was such a hassle. But just like with my hallway transformation with my HomeRight Paint Stick EZ Twist, cleanup was super quick. Here’s what got cleaned up:
Clean up after staining a swing set

Easy, right?

By the way, I had one little issue with stain dripping out of the can. The company was very easy to get ahold of and offered to replace the entire machine immediately. They are paying return shipping so they can troubleshoot the problem in their office in Minnesota. Anyone can have a problem, but how a company responds to the customer makes all the difference.

Let’s be completely honest. This project never would have been completed without this HomeRight Finish Max Pro Fine Finish Sprayer. And now that I’ve recently admitted my little Monday Morning problem, I might be able to get more curbside treasure makeovers done with this, too.

I thought for sure this was going be a thankless project, with my little people oblivious to it. But they actually noticed it when we pulled in. “Oooh, that looks really great.” I didn’t really stain the swing set so it would look nicer. I stained it so it would last longer. But it’s nice to be appreciated, too.

After- How to Stain a Swing Set

Do you have a story like mine? A swing set or a deck with good intentions but no real action? I’m here to help. HomeRight is letting me give away one of their Finish Max Pro sprayers to one of my readers! Just enter below to get in on this action. The winner will have theirs in plenty of time to complete their own deck or play set stain project before fall is over. Just enter below.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


*Disclosure: I received a Finish Max Pro to review, and am happy to let you know how it honestly worked for me.

This Post Has 44 Comments

  1. Laura Clark

    What a great project for the Finish Max Pro! Thanks for giving this product a try for this project.

  2. Deanna Middendorf

    I just want to thank you for this terrific giveaway. What an awesome product!!

  3. Dameon S

    I have this exact project to do and I’ve been putting off for awhile. I keep going back and forth if I cooks justfy buying this exact sprayer. I’m thinking for the price you won’t find a better sprayer. I started to use a roller on my fence and gave up 1 hour in what a hassle. It would take me less time to prepare the surface spray then clean than a roller brush would take me.

    1. Darla

      I’m sure there are parents all across this land wishing for an answer to this problem. I honestly would never, ever, ever have been able to finish this with a brush or roller. Spraying was definitely the way to go. Good luck with your project.

  4. Samantha

    I didn’t know you could use the Paint Sprayer for staining….I have a outdoor sectional that I’ve been holding off staining because of the big job it’s going to be, I never though to use a paint sprayer. The Finish Max Pro looks effortless. Great job and thanks for the review.

    1. Darla

      A sprayer is so great for big jobs, or ones with a lot of nooks and crannies. Good luck with your outdoor furniture!

  5. Jackie B.

    Great information! Looks great too. And that wood had to dry out before you could stain it! 3 years did the trick! 🙂

    1. Darla

      Haha, I hadn’t thought of that. Third year was a charm.

  6. Dawn S.

    This is actually on my to do list for the summer…thank you for the timely post and this sprayer would make my life much easier!

    1. Darla

      Oh, yes. Definitely tackle it with a sprayer. Good luck on that to-do list. Only a few more weeks of summer left.

  7. Lorah Marquardt

    My backyard fence is just screaming to be re-stained. If I had one of these it would probably actually get done!

    1. Darla

      If it’s a stockade fence, it would probably be so simple, with just an up and down swipe. The nice thing about this sprayer is that you can change the size of the spray, so you could even use it with a more open fence without a lot of overspray.

  8. Amanda S.

    I love this idea! I have a playset/tree fort that has been in my yard which has really seen better days. I have never tried using a sprayer for projects(always seemed a bit scary)yet but this might change things.Thanks for the chance to win!:)

    1. Darla

      Amanda, I have to tell you, the stain sprayer was not scary at all. The power washer was a bit scary, but since I knew that even if I did damage something, it was only in the name of making it better, it was all good. Did I mention this play set is close to 10 years old? Really, anything I did to it was an improvement. You might have a similar situation.

  9. Denise

    Hey Darla…shared on my fb page today. I am glad to know the Homeright worked. I need to get one for my swing set.

  10. Nicole-Lynn

    Oh how wonderful is this product! My husband and I were just given a swing set, but it is in poor condition and needs to be stained. We also have an outdoor deck that needs some repairs and to be stained as well. Thanks for the opportunity!

    1. Darla

      Isn’t it lovely to be given a swing set, even if it needs some work? Good luck to all who enter!

  11. Kathy Fleming

    I am so excited for a chance to win this! I need this for my little porch/deck off the kitchen.

    1. Darla

      This would be great for a deck, especially if it were raised. Just be sure to protect the house from overspray.

  12. Laura P.

    I’ve been avoiding staining my kids’ swing set because it would take FOREVER!! This would make it a project I would look forward to taking on. I’d even tackle staining our wood fence.

    1. Darla

      No more putting it off! These cool temps we’ve been having make it super easy.

  13. Reichal Winn

    What an awesome project to do and with such a great tool.

    1. Darla

      Well, the tool was awesome. The project was just necessary. LOL

  14. Jo Ashley

    Would be a great tool to add to my collection.

    1. Darla

      Thanks for stopping by, and good luck!

  15. Doris Styles

    I have home full of furniture that has been BEGGING for me to win one of these jewels for a very L O N G time. Fingers crossed again. 🙂

    1. Darla

      The surest way to win one would probably be to go buy one. Or does that kind of thing happen only to me? Good luck!

  16. Anne Meibohm

    Sounds like a fantastic tool (and the swing set looks brand new)! Maybe I’d try some projects if I had a tool like this.

  17. Trish F

    I wonder if this sprayer would work on a porch floor. The last time I stained it, you could see the marks from the pad. It’s been 5 years since I last stained it and it is in need of a fresh coat.

  18. Taylor Closet

    This would simplify all my outdoor projects. I love bringing life back into old furniture. Great Giveaway!

    1. Darla

      Yes, and the cleanup is so simple, too!

  19. Jessica

    Love this! I haven’t seen it used for stain and my mind has opened up to a whole new world of possibilities! 🙂

    1. Darla

      Great! Glad to give you some new ideas. I can’t wait to use this on paint in the near future, but this project had to get done already.

  20. Beverly Jones

    Would LOVE to win the Homeright max pro sprayer!!! Would help with my booth projects (Rescued & Restored –> on FB)
    Thanks for the opportunity!

    1. Darla

      Yes, this would be a great help with all of your rescued and restored projects!

  21. Deborah Gardner

    I want to stain my coffee table because its worn and old. This is perfect!

    1. Darla

      It’s amazing how stain or paint can really make something beautiful again.

  22. Meg K

    Great project & jealous of your swing set! 😀 Great job & this sprayer looks like a lot of fun to work with. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Darla

      Thanks for stopping by. The sprayer is a lot of fun to work with. Good luck on the contest.

  23. Sara

    What did you use to cover the grass beneath and surrounding?

    1. Darla

      Sara, I didn’t actually need to cover the grass to protect it from the stain. What I did cover, however, were the swings and slide. I just used a plastic drop cloth to protect those while spraying. Hope that helps.

  24. Athena

    I didn’t know you could use the Paint Sprayer for staining….I have a outdoor sectional that I’ve been holding off staining because of the big job it’s going to be, I never though to use a paint sprayer. The Finish Max Pro looks effortless. Great job and thanks for the review.

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