How to Finish a Play Structure

Submitted By
Vince
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Q:

Hi Tom and Leslie.

Before I ask my question, I have to say I love your show, which I listen to as a podcast. If I may, however, I'd like to make two small suggestions to make it better:

Tom, when you answers questions about water hammer, you always, describe the cause as "centrifugal force". If you stop to think about it for a second, however, I'm sure you realize this is completely the wrong term, and you really mean to say "momentum" instead. "Momentum" is the tendency of water to want to keep moving even after you close a valve, while "centrifugal force" is the tendency of water to push against to the outside wall of a pipe when making a turn.

Leslie, you're just about perfect, but my suggestion is that you use the term "me" instead of "I" in phrases like "come see Tom and me at the show" instead of "come see Tom and I at the show", which is a common mistake.

Now on to my question. I've built a large play structure for my kids and am wondering how (or if) to finish it, as I really don't want to have to refinish it every year or two or three. I used composite lumber for the deck boards and stringers and pressure treated douglas fir for the structural members. I'm concerned about the latter. I've seen numerous products advertised on the internet as so-called "lifetime" finishes, but I suspect that these are mostly scams. Are there any real "apply once" products that work, or should I be looking at something like a semi-transparent deck stain? Alternatively, since I live in a moderate Caliåçfornia climate, can I just leave it unfinished? I've been told that my kids will outgrow the play structure long before the pressure treated lumber deteriorated.