So your kids are getting older and you want them to have the opportunities of an idyllic childhood (not to mention give them incentive to play outdoors instead of in front of all those screens). The thing is, buying a swing set for your yard isn’t quite like the purchase of any other toy. You’re investing in a structure that will provide hours of fun for your children, and quite possibly your grandchildren. But it’s a big purchase, and not only because of the expense, so you have several factors to consider as you move ahead.
Because of the very activities that make all kinds of playground equipment capture the hearts of children everywhere, you really want to put safety first. A wooden swing set carries its own considerations to be sure that nobody is at risk, not even from splinters.
Sturdiness – Buy from a reputable company, and your swing set will be viable, in terms of how much weight it can bear and so on. Still, do not overlook this concern.
Structure– How far apart are the swings? How large is the fort platform? How low is the crawl space opening? How wide are the ladder slats? Be sure your child has a margin of error for where he or she places those little feet (for example).
Protrusions – Make sure nothing disrupts the integrity of your play set structure – that’s a key point no matter its material. With a wooden set, however, pay attention to the nuts and bolts, lest they protrude from the boards they connect. Most often, you’ll be able to tighten the hardware to be flush with the board again. At worst, bang it in.
Splinters – With wood, there’s always the possibility of splinters, but the strongest, most durable woods in use for swing sets – particularly pressure-treated pine – are not particularly prone to splinters. Nonetheless, make sure the wood is sanded smooth, and preferably painted or stained and sealed to reduce the chances of splinters down the road.
As an organic material, wood has the capacity to deteriorate over time, particularly given the vicissitudes of inclement weather. Start with pressure-treated pine, one of the best woods for a swing set in terms of quality, durability, and cost. Then protect the wood even further in the way that makes the most sense given your location, with waterproof paint and the like. The hardware itself should be part of this consideration as well – the difference between hot galvanized metal parts and those that are zinc-plated may be a simple matter of corrosion, with the former giving you far more longevity.
Nobody is going to suggest that a wooden swing set is the cheapest one available, but when you factor in its durability and the possibility of it pleasing even the next generation of youngsters, you may discover that it’s most cost efficient in the long run. Compare prices to get the best deal, and keep the future in mind to help you choose a swing set worth your investment.
Even as part of your deliberations prior to purchase, consider where the swing set will stand. Be sure it’s not too high and that the swing set footprint is small enough that passing won’t be difficult.
Similarly, consider how you will have the swing set installed before you even decide which one to purchase. If you have the swing set professionals install it (whether it’s the manufacturer or an authorized swing set merchant), then you have less to worry about, of course. If, however, you expect to install it yourself, be sure that you have the carpentry skills to do so. Ask lots of questions – that should also provide you with a good sense of how responsive the company is to follow-up inquiry – and know which way you’re going to go.
If you buy a pre-cut, easy to install set with pre-drilled holes and high quality hardware included, then you increase your chances of quick setup success, and save some money by not needing to hire someone else to do the work – a win-win situation!