How sturdy a swing set is depends on the quality of the materials and the strength of the assembly. Obviously the stronger the hardware, the longer lifespan your playset will have. The same holds true of the construction. A poorly-made jungle gym will fall apart after a short time.
Here is what you need to look out for to ensure that you are buying a solid wooden swing set that will last you throughout the years.
The type of wood might be the most important factor in keeping your outdoor swing set standing for the long run. Inferior quality wood may be cheaper, but it will also not stand the test of time. And trust us, you are going to need something really durable to withstand the beating your kids are going to give this playset!
Avoid wood that is:
- Cheap quality. Remember the price tag will also reflect the quality, and something cheap will just fall apart on you in a few years. That’ll cost you more in the long run, not to mention serving as a potential safety hazard.
- Too soft. While soft wood might sound nice, it is actually a terrible material to build with. Nails and screws have a hard time holding in soft wood, and these types of wood invariably bend under the pressure far too soon.
Which Wood SHOULD You Use?
The recommended wood for outdoor playsets is contemporary pressure-treated wood. This modern marvel treats the wood with a chemical that supersizes the boards, giving them rot-resistance, added resilience, and super strength for standing up against the elements, wear and tear, and your kids!
PT wood is completely safe for children and pets, and quality playsets made with this wood are approved by the EPA. You can check individual companies to see if they have certification.
While the wood is the material you’ll see the most, the hardware is probably just as essential to keeping your swing set standing strong. Look for these telltale signs of quality playsets before you think of purchasing:
- Commercial grade hardware: Don’t settle for zinc-plated, inferior quality hardware. These nuts and bolts have to hold together your wooden playset under a lot of pressure. Commercial grade hardware ensures resilience and durability.
- Recessed hardware: This is also a safety feature because recessed hardware will not snag kids’ clothing or scratch them as they run by.
- Hot galvanized hardware: Using this type of hardware means you’re getting longer-lasting pieces that won’t corrode within a short time.
Putting together a wooden swing set isn’t like assembling a paper airplane. Most playsets come with thousands of nuts, bolts, and screws, hundreds of pieces, and, unfortunately, vague instructions on how to put them all together into a functioning outdoor playhouse. A project like this can take days and the end results are often inferior construction and frustration all around.
Fortunately, there are companies (like ours!) that make this step a lot easier on playground equipment owners, and these are the playsets you should be looking at when making your decision.
Companies that put together the difficult pieces for you (such as bridges, decks, and certain walls) cut down on the work time and headache dramatically. They also ensure that your swings are being assembled properly because it’s already been done by the professionals. Companies like The Swingset Co. will make things easier for you by:
- Including clear and comprehensive instructions in a language that you can understand.
- Cutting the wooden playset pieces with pre-drilled holes. This means you won’t have to start measuring, drilling, and cleaning up after yourself for each screw that needs drilling, and, even more importantly, it means you won’t have to worry about the wood splitting from a haphazard drill bit or angle.
- Pre-sanding the wood for safer, easier construction.
- Providing the quality hardware that won’t need replacing every six months as we mentioned earlier.
Giving your kids the gift of a sturdy swing set is something most parents dream of, and by following these simple buying tips, it’s a dream that you can finally make come true. Check out the in-depth guide to buying a swing set, The Ultimate Swing Set Guide for Parents, and learn everything you need to know to make a smart choice today.
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