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  • Essential Activities All the Best Swing Sets Have

    As a mother, father or grandparent shopping for an outdoor playset for your little ones, there are many important safety considerations and material choices you’ll need to contemplate. But once you've decided on the basics, it's time to think about the fun!

    That means picking from lots of accessory and activity options. We're here to help you mull over the choices and give you some advice. With more than 22 years' experience in the industry, we've got a pretty good idea of the essentials that all the best swing sets have.

    First, here's a rundown of some common swing set activities and accessories:

    ·       Clubhouse and/or playhouse -- The clubhouse is the center of the swing set. It's where the kids play with toys (more on that later); use their imagination to take them out of the backyard and into the helm of a ship; or stay "safe" at home base during an intense game of Tag. If you really want to go all out, add a bottom playhouse for extra fun.

    ·       Rock climbing wall -- The best rock climbing walls challenge children and help them become stronger. That's why the rock wall should be a reasonable size. It should also allow for hand grips to be added or removed, so the wall can grow with the kids.

    ·       Slides -- Whether you go with a wave slide, a scoop slide or a spiral slide, a slide is a necessity. The best swing sets sometimes have more than one, with different styles, colors and sizes.

    ·       Swings -- No playset is complete without swings. And because soaring through the air on a swing is more fun with a friend, we recommend at least two or three swing positions. This is an enjoyment that even adults treasure, so make sure your backyard playground is strong enough to support all of your family members. And keep in mind that it's always better to have more swing positions than fewer, as you can switch out the classic sling swing for a baby swing, horse glider swing or gym ring trapeze bar combo, depending on who is playing on the set.

    ·       Tire swing -- Forget the idea that a tire swing has to hang from a tree. There's no reason your playset can't accommodate one (all of our Angled-Base swing sets do). Keep in mind that a good tire swing will use an actual tire. This means the surface will be soft rubber instead of hard plastic. And a three-chain suspension system means it can accommodate up to three kids.

    Outdoor playset with tire swing for best swing sets blog This wooden swing set features a tire swing, a horse glider swing, two sling swings, a slide, multiple ladders, a clubhouse with toys and a rock-climbing wall. It offers the kids so much to do!

    ·       Horse glider swing -- This swing allows two kids to sit back-to-back while they rock and glide. It is a favorite among young children.

    ·       Picnic table -- With a wooden picnic table built in to your playset, you really add to the investment. Now your swing set isn't just a place to play, it's a place to take a break and eat lunch, too!

    ·       Sandbox -- Whether you take the DIY route and add the sand yourself, or you purchase a sandbox with your swing set, a sandbox adds a little variation to the play area. Not only will the kids enjoy it, but mom and dad will appreciate how it keeps the little ones entertained for even longer.

    ·       Toys -- Steering wheels, ship's wheels, telephones, binoculars and telescopes. These are just a few of the toys all the best swing sets have. We say, the more the better! Don't be afraid of doubling up. There's no reason you can't have one telescope in the clubhouse and one on the post near the sandbox.

    ·       Ladders -- From step ladders to steel rung ladders to Jacob's ladders, kids love to climb. With a ladder and a rock wall, the children will have more than one way to access the clubhouse. And don't forget about overhead ladders (also known as monkey bars)!

    Now that you have a good understanding of all the options, it's time for us to give our recommendations.

    Eastern Jungle Gym's top five accessory and activity picks for the best swing sets are...

    (drum roll, please!)

    1)    Slides

    2)    Swings

    3)    Clubhouse and/or playhouse

    4)    Toys

    5)    Rock climbing wall

    Since nearly all of our swing sets include a slide, swings, a clubhouse with toys, and a rock climbing wall, these choices probably won't come as much of a surprise. Our longtime experience in this business has told us that this is the right formula for a swing set the kids will love for years and years. Just look for these essentials and you can't go wrong, especially if you add in a bonus activity or two.

  • Building a Wooden Playset with the Whole Family

    When was the last time you and the kids bonded over a family project? Enjoying laughs, working through challenges and finally accomplishing your goal with your son or daughter leaves you with memories that will last a lifetime. And, depending on the project, you'll likely have a finished product that will yield even more fun times for years to come.

    That's certainly the case when it comes to building a wooden playset for the backyard. Depending on the model you've selected (and its complexity), getting the kids involved may seem a bit challenging. But not to worry -- there are plenty of ways to get the little ones to help out safely. Here are a few suggestions:

    • Safety first -- Teach your children how to make sure all safety precautions are taken before embarking on a construction project. This means having the proper equipment (safety goggles, gloves and sneakers, or another type of closed-toe shoe) and the appropriate work space; making sure any lumber you've picked up at the local hardware store is sanded and free of splinters; etc. Communicate all of this to your kids during a "safety talk" before you get started on the wooden playset. Be sure to mention that power tools can be dangerous, so it's important they stay away from these items unless otherwise instructed.
    Little girl using drill on swing set bracket Whether it's cleaning up, learning about safety precautions, organizing hardware or learning how to use the drill (with adult supervision, of course), the kids will have a blast helping to build a wooden playset for the backyard.
    • Have the kids organize the hardware -- Before getting started, gather all of the hardware you'll need and ask your children to sort through it. Have them place all the bolts in one pile, the washers in another, the caps in another and so on. Then, once you start assembling, your kids can have them ready at your request. This activity will help them learn all about the different parts of the swing set, and they'll get an up-close look at the construction as mom or dad's assistant.
    • Let them try their hand at assembling -- Since you will be supervising the activity, there's no harm in allowing your child to try using the drill, provided he or she is the appropriate age and you have modeled the correct usage several times. Just guide the youngster along and you should have no problem.
    • Have them take care of the finishing touches -- Whether it's helping them up the ladder to hang the swing or handing them a rake to smooth the rubber playground mulch around the set, the kids will love the privilege of being responsible for the finishing touches.
    • Clean up -- There's nothing children love more than a game, so factor in the spirit of competition and see who can clean up the most! Instruct the kids to gather up any boxes, and make sure all the pieces of hardware are picked up and placed in their respective bags.
    • Test out the product -- It's the moment they've been waiting for! Once the wooden playset is assembled and cleanup is finished, it's time for the kids to try out their new swing set! We recommend having a camera on hand so you can capture the excitement as they hop on the swings and swoosh down the slide for the very first time!
  • Carolina Retailer Now Selling Eastern Jungle Gym Swing Sets

    Eastern Jungle Gym is excited to announce the addition of an authorized specialty retailer in North and South Carolina.

    Liberty Storage Solutions is now selling Eastern Jungle Gym swing sets at ten of its super center locations. The company, which was founded in 2006, manufactures and sells high quality storage sheds. Gazebos, carports and barns are also available at Liberty Storage Solutions, which has a total of twenty locations across the two states.

    "Our swing sets have helped families create childhood memories for more than 22 years, so we are confident that they will do very well in North and South Carolina," said Rolf Zimmermann, vice president of sales for Eastern Jungle Gym. "And because Liberty is committed to providing top-notch products along with great customer service, we know this partnership is a good fit. We're very excited."

    Eastern Jungle Gym swing sets range from the Classic freestanding series, to models with a single slide and clubhouse, all the way to playsets that features a treehouse, multiple clubhouses and several slides. There are 70 playsets in total. They all use 100-percent cedar wood, heavy-duty hardware, thru-bolt construction and high quality accessories.

    All of the swing sets are available through Liberty, which also offers delivery and installation through its professional installation team.

    Eastern Jungle Gym is planning to have its cedar swing sets in all Liberty locations next season. The Liberty locations currently carrying Eastern Jungle Gym swing sets are in Burlington, Concord, Jonesville, Rutherfordton, Statesville, Salisbury and Conover in North Carolina; and Anderson, Gaffney and Newberry in South Carolina. For exact locations, visit our "Find a Factory-Direct Location" page.

    Eastern Jungle Gym will continue to grow its network of authorized specialty retailers--which includes national and international dealers--as well as its online presence. The company recently added Vuly trampolines to its online inventory.

  • Eastern Jungle Gym Now Selling Vuly Trampolines

    Eastern Jungle Gym is now selling Vuly trampolines on its website.

    The Vuly Thunder Trampoline, the Vuly Thunder Tent and Vuly accessories are available on EasternJungleGym.com. Vuly is an Australian-based company that expanded to the US in 2014. The award-winning Thunder is designed to be strong and safe, with "the best bounce of any recreational trampoline in existence."

    Trampolines provide a terrific source of exercise, and the kids just love them.

    "We're all about creating childhood memories, and we're committed to providing only the safest products," said Rolf Zimmermann, Vice President of Sales for Eastern Jungle Gym. "Vuly trampolines and accessories are high-quality. They fit perfectly with our goals."

    After launching its e-commerce site in January of 2015, Eastern Jungle Gym was looking to expand its online offerings to include another backyard product for children. Trampolines allow kids to have hours and hours of fun while staying active outdoors. This, coupled with Vuly's innovative design and safety features, made the decision a no-brainer for Eastern Jungle Gym.

    The Thunder offers a number of terrific features. First, it uses leaf springs instead of coil springs. That means the edges of the trampoline are soft, so mom and dad don't have to worry about the kids having to avoid a hard frame. Second, the safety net fully encloses the trampoline. The HexVex game mat is printed with graphics so the kids can play trampoline twister and other games. And the sturdy dual frame design means the trampoline's foundation will last.

    Trampoline accessories available for purchase through Eastern Jungle Gym include the basketball set for the hoops-lover in the family, the Vuly deck for the skateboard, and the Thunder tent. The tent is an exclusive Vuly feature that will allow the kids to feel like they're camping without ever leaving the backyard.

    Depending on the size of their backyard, customers can choose from three sizes of Vuly's Thunder Trampoline series. There's the medium round (8'3" mat diameter), large round (10'7" mat diameter) and extra large round (12'6" mat diameter). Additional information--including spring leaf counts, frame diameter and product videos--is available on easternjunglegym.com. And customers will be pleased to learn that these trampolines qualify for free shipping.

    Eastern Jungle Gym looks forward to adding more products to its website in the future.

  • How to Stain or Seal a Swing Set

    Is your wooden swing set a few years old? If it is, and you have never stained or sealed it, it's probably in need of some tender loving care!

    Just like you cover your BBQ grill when it's not in use, and put your outdoor patio furniture away for winter, you should plan some maintenance for your swing set, too. With more than two decades' experience in the business, we recommend staining or sealing your wooden swing set once a year (if yours is in a shady location, you may be able to get away with once every two years). Doing so will protect the investment you made for your little ones.

    If you're wondering what the difference is between stain and sealer, stain offers a tint to restore the color of your swing set, while sealer is clear. If the color of the swing set looks good, opt for the sealer. If the color is faded, stain is the best option.

    You can stain or seal before or after the season starts, but we prefer before--sometime in the spring--because you'll want the structure to be protected against the strong summer sun. And even if your swing set is brand new, staining or sealing sooner than later is a good idea because it will get you on schedule for years to come.

    Here's a step-by-step guide to get your backyard playset looking like new again:

    1. To avoid any mishaps, remove everything but the wood! That means tent top canopies, swings and slides. You could also remove binoculars, telescopes, steering wheels and so on; or you could work around these toys (like you will do with step and rope ladders).
    2. Clean the swing set. Using a bleach and water solution (half and half), hose down the entire set. This will help to remove any mildew or dirt that may have built up since last season.
    3. After cleaning, allow the swing set 24 hours to dry.
    4. Inspect the swing set and look for rough spots or places where the grain is lifting. Sand wherever necessary. This is also a good time for an annual hardware/retightening check.
    5. Apply stain or sealer. You'll need one gallon for most basic, single clubhouse swing sets. For larger jungle gyms, or smaller ones that have multiple wooden components (wooden roof, gang plank ramp, monkey bars, etc.), purchase at least two gallons. You may want to pick up a pump sprayer from your local hardware store for the application, as this handy tool will allow you to get the job done a bit quicker.
    6. If you're using a sealer, you do not have to worry about the spray not being perfectly even because it's a clear coating. But if you opted for the stain, you'll need to brush it out so there is no excess and drip marks are minimal. You may want to have a small brush on hand to work around ladder rungs, monkey bars, etc.
    7. After staining or sealing, again allow 24 hours for drying.

    That's it! Staining and sealing a swing set is not a difficult task (easily a one-person job), just a bit time-consuming. It's a worthwhile chore though, and it will keep your swing set looking great for years to come.

  • What to Look for in Swing Set Accessories

    When it comes to your kids, you want only the best -- the safest, strongest, highest quality, and so on. Here at Eastern Jungle Gym, we share the same philosophy, which is why we make sure everything from our playsets to our hardware to our swing set accessories are top notch.

    With spring's arrival (and summer's not too far off), we wanted to share a few tips on what to look for in a swing set accessory, to ensure that the products you're buying are designed with your child's well-being in mind. Here's what we suggest:

    -- UV-protection: Swing set accessories that are equipped with built-in protection against ultraviolet rays won't heat up as quickly in the summer sun as accessories that lack UV protection. This feature also adds to the life of your playset, as the color of the items (tent top canopies, swings, slides and more) won't fade as quickly.

    -- Ladders with grab handles: If you're thinking about building a wooden step ladder or adding one to your backyard playground, be sure to include a set of safety grab handles. These aren't as necessary on ladders that have rungs, as the kids can use the rungs to hold onto. But with step ladders, they're a must! We suggest grab handles that have pebbles or grips to ensure the kids get a secure hold.

    -- Coated swing chains: To avoid pinched fingers, your swing chains should be of the straight-coil variety, with a soft coating (like plastisol) covering part of the chain to protect their little hands.  A coating will provide a soft surface for them to grip. We recommend the rings on your gym ring trapeze bar combo be coated in a soft plastic, too, for the same reasons.

    Bucket swing for baby This full bucket swing features plastisol coating, one of the things you should look for when buying swing set accessories.

    -- Avoid magnified binoculars or telescopes: Toy binoculars and telescopes are best for the swing set, as the children won't damage their eyes by looking up at the sun through a magnified view.

    --  Inspect different swings for safety: If you're purchasing a baby swing, make sure it's a full bucket with a high back, so your little one is properly supported. For the half bucket swings, which many people use for their toddlers, not only should there be a high back, but also a strong chain that secures in front of the child. This chain should always be latched when your youngster is swinging. And with a tire swing, it's best to use an actual tire rather than a hard, plastic one.

    -- Playground rope: The last thing you want is a rope that irritates your child's hand, or splinters and frays. For this reason we recommend playground rope (which is used on everything from gang plank ramps to Jacob's Ladders) be made of nylon, rather than polyester.

    -- Climbing holds for the rock wall: Whether you're constructing your own rock climbing wall for the kids, or buying a swing set that features one, it's a good idea to consider the number of rock holds. If your children are young, you may want to consider adding some additional holds, so they are gathered somewhat close together. Once your kids are a bit older and their skill level allows, you can remove a few to make the activity more challenging.

    We hope you've found this blog post informative. Please feel free to send any questions about swing set accessories (or anything else playset-related!) our way!

  • Contest Winner Thrilled with Playset

    As luck would have it, the winner of Eastern Jungle Gym's 2015 Springtime Swing Set Giveaway was just starting to look for a backyard playset for her kids. In fact, Molly Conetta and her husband Jason were planning to start shopping in the coming days -- until they got the good news, of course!

    "Thank you so very much," Molly wrote to Eastern Jungle Gym. "We are so thrilled and can't wait to play on our new swing set!!! My son and daughter will love this for years to come. You totally made our weekend, especially since we were going to be out shopping for a swing set for our family and now we are lucky to have this one."

    Molly, a first grade teacher, and Jason, a high school vice principal, live in Massachusetts with their two young children: Jack, who will be 3 in May, and Gabriella, who will be 1 in May. The family had their choice of a Classic Kids Swing Set, valued at $999, or a Classic Wooden Tire Swing, valued at $799. The Classic Kids Swing features a horse glider for two, a full bucket swing and a sling swing. The Classic Tire Swing comes with a three-chain tire swing designed for up to three children.

    Eastern Jungle Gym was happy to work with the Conettas, who had their hearts set on a playset with a platform play deck and a slide. So the family received a credit toward the purchase of another wooden swing set.

    "I think this is the best option for our family," Molly said.

    Molly and Jason were looking for a swing set the kids could grow into, so they are planning to order the Dreamscape 1. It features a clubhouse, a 10-foot wave slide, a rock climbing wall, a Jacob's Ladder and more.

    "There's nothing we love more than helping a family get the swing set of their dreams," said Rolf Zimmermann, the company's Vice President of Sales. "After all, our motto is creating childhood memories. It's something we've been doing for more than two decades."

    Eastern Jungle Gym regularly hosts contests and giveaways through its website and social media channels. The company is based in Carmel, New York and has been manufacturing wooden swing sets for 22 years.

  • Swing Set Contest Ends April 10

    Eastern Jungle Gym is excited to announce its Springtime Swing Set Giveaway contest, which is open for entry for about another week and a half.

    The winner of the swing set contest will choose between two prizes: the Classic Tire Swing and the Classic Kids Swing. The first features a three-chain tire swing with plastisol coating, and it is valued at $799. The latter features a horse glider swing designed for two children, a full bucket swing and infant swing, and it is valued at $999. Both of the sets are A-frame, freestanding styles made of 100-percent cedar wood. They also use Eastern Jungle Gym's exclusive two-piece thru-bolt construction, which is safer than solid wood and laminates.

    Entry to the contest is easy. Entrants are asked to fill out this form, which simply asks for an email address to enter to win. The contest is open to residents of the continental US who are at least 18 years of age. The giveaway will close at 3 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on April 10, 2015.

    The Springtime Swing Set Giveaway is one of many promotions recently hosted by Eastern Jungle Gym and its retail branch Best in Backyards. The company holds similar giveaways and contests throughout the year, all posted on the Eastern Jungle Gym Facebook page. Past giveaways have featured prizes such as Amazon gift cards, swing set accessories and a variety of playsets.

    "There's nothing quite as exciting as contacting a family with the good news that they have won one of our high quality swing sets," said Rolf Zimmermann, Vice President of Sales for Eastern Jungle Gym. "It's a part of the business we really enjoy."

    Eastern Jungle Gym has been a leading manufacturer of wooden swing sets for more than 22 years. Based in Carmel, New York, Eastern Jungle Gym sells its backyard playgrounds online as well as through a network of dealers located in several states. The swing sets range from traditional A-frame styles to single tower sets to huge units with tree houses, connecting bridges, multiples slides and more.

  • Swing Sets Buying Guide

    5 Things to Consider When Shopping for an Outdoor Playset

    Spring has finally arrived here in the Northeast and across the rest of the country. With warm weather right around the corner, the kids will undoubtedly be spending more and more time outdoors. If this is the year you're planning to buy a swing set, now is the time to start browsing and planning your purchase.

    When it comes to investing in a backyard playground--and all the wonderful memories that will follow--there are a few factors to think about. Here is a list of considerations (in no particular order) that we recommend you mull over as you begin shopping for a swing set.

    • Family Size: The number of little ones you foresee using the swing set on a daily basis is something to account for as you decide what size unit would fit your family's needs. If your immediate family is still growing, plan accordingly. Similarly, take extended family members and friends into consideration, too. If you typically have brothers, sisters, cousins and their young children over on the weekends, you will want to make sure your playset is large enough to accommodate the group. You can judge this by looking at the swing set and all its activities. Ideally, you'll have at least two to three swing positions (say, two for sling swings or belt swings, and the third for a horse glider swing or a gym ring/trapeze bar combo), a slide, a clubhouse with a toy or two, a rock-climbing wall, maybe some monkey bars, and so on. Consider the types of activities, too -- ones that work the upper body, the legs and so on. Do make sure the clubhouse is roomy enough for the group, too. Beyond cousins and immediate family, don't forget about the friends your kids have over after school, or the neighborhood pals they spend time with in the summer.
    • Age of Children: While it may be tempting to focus on the current ages of your little ones, we encourage families to think ahead. When purchasing a swing set, you're making an investment that will last several years. It is best to look for a swing set that has activities the kids can grow into, even if it looks large for a toddler. Otherwise you could end up buying two swing sets, one that's small (say with a deck height of just four feet) and one that's on the larger side (with a deck height of at least five and a half feet).
    A swing set with a slide, gang plank ramp, swings, ladders and a rock-climbing wall provides plenty of activities. A swing set with a slide, gang plank ramp, swings, ladders and a rock-climbing wall provides plenty of activities.
    • Available space: Perhaps the first thing you should do when you decide to add a swing set to your home is identify an appropriate space. Ideally, you're looking for a spot that is somewhat level and free of obstructions. Certain swing sets can be installed on unlevel ground, so if your property is significantly sloped, you'll want to mention this as you are out browsing for a playset. If that's the case, a swing set with an angled base, rather than a straight base, would be best. And while the backyard is the most common place to find a swing set, you could also place yours on the side of the home or in the front yard. Just be sure mom or dad has access to a window close by, so keeping an eye on the kids from inside won't be a challenge.
    • Swing Set Material: When it comes to backyard swing sets and material, you have a few choices: Metal, wooden or vinyl. Your decision will likely depend on the style of your home and backyard, your personal preference, and your budget. With more than 22 years of experience in this industry, we always recommend wooden swing sets--specifically cedar--because of their strength, beauty and natural resistance to rot and insect damage. You can find more information about other types of swing set materials here. Whichever style you choose, be sure to inspect the quality of the material and the hardware. A safe wooden swing set, for example, should have smooth, sanded wood with rounded corners, solid or thru-bolt construction, and recessed hardware.
    • Price: Once you've done a little research online, you'll see that swing set prices range from about $500, for a small unit from a big box store, all the way up to $5,000 or more, for a large, high quality swing set with many, many activities. If you are the DIY type, you may be able to install the swing set yourself. However, if you're planning to opt for a professional to do the setup, remember to factor this into the cost. Also consider the cost of adding an appropriate play surface, such as rubber mulch (our favorite for safety reasons, and the fact that it never needs replenishing) or even wood mulch, to your swing set area. This is not a requirement for a backyard swing set, but it's a good idea if you can find room in your budget. Surfacing will tack on anywhere from a few hundred bucks to an additional $3,000 to your total cost.
  • Metal, Vinyl or Wooden Swing Sets

    When it comes to selecting a new playset for the family, one of the most important first questions to consider is the type of material you are selecting. From wooden swing sets to those made of vinyl or metal, there are plenty of options, each with pros and cons that are worth contemplating before making a purchase.

    If you are leaning toward one of the many types of wooden swing sets, you have several choices: cedar, pressure-treated pine or redwood.

    Redwood, which grows on the coast of California, is the most expensive. Like cedar, it is naturally resistant to decay and rot, as well as to damage from insects. Experts consider this wood very durable, and easy to work with. It offers minimal shrinking and swelling when compared to other wood, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. As its name suggests, this wood is naturally red. This is a look many people feel adds tremendously to the aesthetics of their backyard playground.

    Still, redwood is not maintenance free. Sealing and staining a redwood swing set is a smart move, as it will lengthen its lifespan.

    Wooden swing sets that are made of cedar are naturally resistant to insect damage, rot and decay.

    Cedar wooden swing sets are typically a bit more affordable than redwood swing sets. They, too, are naturally resistant to rot, decay and insect damage -- plus, they have a beautiful aroma. They are also less prone to twisting and warping when compared to pressured-treated swing sets. Most cedar swing sets today are made from either Western red cedar, Northern white cedar or China-Fir.

    • Northern white cedar is the lightest of all commercial wood in the country, according to the US Forest Service Department of Agriculture. It glues and holds paint well and offers little dimensional change, the department states. But this wood is rather soft, so it does not hold fasteners as well as other materials. On the plus side, Northern white cedar is naturally resistant to splintering.
    • Western red cedar, which comes from the Pacific Northwest, is also known for its durability and lightness. This material has been used for decades on fencing, outdoor furniture and playgrounds.
    • China-Fir (Cunninghamia lanceolata) is very resistant to decay, pest infestations and fungus. It has been used abroad for centuries because it is a terrific all-around, versatile material. This wood is typically a warm yellow or light white color, with hints of red.

    Pressure-treated swing sets contain preservatives, which are applied in an effort to make the material last. And last it does! This material can hold up for years and years, although the quality (swing sets are not all created equally) can affect tendency to warp and twist. The process for pressure-treating wood allows the preservatives to be forced deep in the wood so that the material becomes resistant (which it is not naturally) to decay, insects and rot.

    Before 2003--when the Environmental Protection Agency stepped in--this type of lumber often contained a composite that used arsenic. Today's pressure-treated wood has safer preservatives, but it is wise to look into the specific type of preservative your swing set contains before making a purchase. Pressure-treated swing sets are usually the least expensive when it comes to wooden playsets.

    Another option is metal. These are the swing sets most adults remember having as a kid. They use thin gauge steel pipes that are painted or powder-coated, and anchored in concrete. Maintenance may include applying an oil or grease to fight off corrosion, depending on the type of metal. These swing sets are strong and affordable, but definitely give a backyard a different feel than that of a wooden swing set. Again, the quality of the swing set can make a big difference, so look at plenty of reviews and be prepared with questions.

    Vinyl swing sets use pressure-treated pine wrapped in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) for the structural components. They use composite decking (wood-alternatives made of recycled materials, such as plastics and lumber) for the walls and decks of the playset. There is no need to stain or seal these swing sets, but they should be cleaned annually. There is also no risk of splinters (which should be nearly non-existent with a quality wood playset that is sanded and has properly rounded edges). These swing sets are typically on the expensive side. One thing to keep in mind is that the moisture trapped in the pressured-treated pine has no place to go when it is encapsulated. That means rot is likely inevitable at some point in the life of a vinyl swing set. When that occurs, and to what degree, varies.

    One more important factor in your decision of a swing set material is the construction of the support posts and beams. Some wooden play sets use solid pieces of woods, such as 4-by-4s, which can sometimes lead to increased cracking because of the constant swelling from rain and shrinking from the heat. Other jungle gyms use a two-piece construction--where the wood is bolted together without glue. This reduces the frequency of checking and cracking. Another possibility is laminated wood, meaning multiple pieces of wood are glued together. Although often hard to detect, this type of post is prone to de-lamination and failure. Painting or sealing would only slow down the process.

    No matter the swing set style and design you are leaning toward, it is important to be educated and do your research when making this purchase. After all, this is an item your family will enjoy for years to come! We would love to hear about your experience with wooden swing sets, metal swing sets and vinyl swing sets.

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