Have your children grown to the age where you start to think about a perfect playset for them? I believe a swing set is the ideal recreational toy for kids. It keeps them active and helps them have fun. However, choosing the perfect swing set can be difficult as you have to choose between a metal or wood swing set.
Metal and wooden swing sets are popular swing variants that are widely used in play parks and backyards. They both come with pros and cons. You have to evaluate both options to decide which one works best for you.
This article focuses on highlighting all the benefits of metal and wooden swing sets to help you understand their features and make a well-informed decision.
Pros of Metal Swing Sets
Metal has the reputation for being durable and solid. It withstands pressure and can carry the weight of a full-grown adult without any restrictions. I once took my daughter to the park, and there was this particular metal swing that she loves so much because it can carry both our weights without any problem. It’s a moment I always cherish. You can tag that as a benefit of metal swing sets. It allows you to enjoy time on the swing with your kids because it is strong enough to carry both of you at once. However, there’s a catch, but more on that later.
How long your swing set will last primarily depends on the quality of the material used to construct the playset. Whether metal or wooden swing set, you have to be conscious of using weather-resistant material, especially considering that the swing sets are permanently outside, and thus, are constantly exposed to all weather conditions.
The best metal used for metal swing sets is galvanized steel because it is weather-resistant and will slow down rust. Meanwhile, the best wood for a wooden swing set is either mahogany wood or oak wood. On the other hand, softwoods like cedar should not be used outdoors as they are more susceptible to weather conditions.
A good quality metal swing set in favorable weather conditions can last for an average of 12-15 years. On the other hand, a wooden swing set in good weather conditions is more likely to last an average of 25-30 years.
I know for a fact that a metal swing set can last a lifetime if constructed well. I had one in my house while growing up and it still works perfectly. My kids even play on it whenever I take them to see their grandparents. It has survived two generations already, and if maintained well, my kids could have their kids play on that swing set as well, depending on factors they can’t control.
How long your swing set will last primarily depends on the quality of the material used to construct the playset. Using weather-resistant galvanized steel is the best option. As previously mentioned, a metal swing set in favorable weather conditions can last for an average of 12-15 years.
When maintaining a metal swing set, you must look out for rust and invest in galvanized steel. Additionally, you will need to re-paint it to avoid paint chips and preserve the bright colors of the metal frame. The maintenance of a metal frame takes significantly less time than that of a lumber frame.
The installation of a metal frame can be done quickly. It shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours. All you need to do is ensure you follow the installation instructions. Thus, it is the swing set for you to enjoy home building.
A metal swing set costs significantly less than a wooden swing set. Indeed, a metal swing set costs as low as $1,000. Considering the cost of maintenance and other expenses that will arise throughout the years, metal swing sets are still considered very affordable.
Cons of Metal Swing Sets
Metal swing sets are considered generally less safe than wooden swing sets. The material is much harder, and in the summer, metal gets too hot to touch, and thus, may burn a child.
All metals are prone to rust. Using galvanized steel to build your swing set along with regular treatments will reduce rusting, but the inevitable will still occur.
- Paint Chips
The maintenance of metal swing sets costs less and doesn’t take as much time, but the annoying reality of repainting it to prevent the bright colors of paint chips from sticking to your children while they play makes metal swing sets less attractive to parents.
- Flexibility and Design
A metal swing set comes in fewer designs and remains with basic features, with some exceptions here and there. For instance, there are no custom add-ons to make a metal swing set more fun for the kids.
Pros of Wooden Swing Sets
The wood used for wooden swing sets is much softer and warm to the touch. Wooden swing sets have sturdy frames that can support a larger number of children at the same time than metal swing sets.
Wooden swing sets can last a lifetime when created with quality and adequately treated lumber. The best type of wood for a wooden swing set is either mahogany or oak. However, softwoods like cedar should not be used outdoor as they are more susceptible to be affected by weather conditions. As previously stated, a wooden swing set in favorable weather conditions is estimated to last an average of 25-30 years.
The installation of a wooden swing set is a little complicated and takes a lot of time. Thus, we advise you to call a professional as any installation mistake can lead to a serious safety hazard.
- Flexibility and Design
When it comes to flexibility in design and versatility, wooden swing sets are the winners. They are not a “one-size-fits-all” type of frame as every family can choose an adjustable design. With a wooden swing set, more play parts can be added as the need arises, and some can be taken out as well.
Cons of Wooden Swing Sets
The price of a wooden swing set is significantly higher than that of a metal swing set. When compiling the maintenance costs of treatment and wood sealing, it sets the price even higher.
Maintenance here considers both the time taken to maintain your swing set and the type of maintenance required. For wooden swing sets, lifelong care is needed. Even though quality and pre-treated lumber is used for production, you have to dedicate a lot of time to stain and seal the wood as this will further prevent rot, as well as prevent it from becoming a habitat for naturally occurring insects in timber, such as wasps, bees, ants, etc. Besides, you will have to constantly tighten the metal bolts of your frame to reduce the risk of injury while playing.
Just as rust is inevitable to metal, as age creeps up on wood, it is not uncommon for splinters to come out of the wooden frame of your swing set. The splinters pose an injury hazard to children.
Should You Choose a Wooden or Metal Swing Set?
In the early 1900s, swing sets were implemented into public parks in the form of metal swing sets. Thus, for a long time, it was the standard and the norm, especially in public places. As time progressed, people began opting for wooden sets over metal playsets in family spaces like homes and backyards. Parents embraced the safety that a wooden swing set brought to their backyards.
These days, wooden swing sets are more common practice in family homes than metal swing sets.
When selecting the best fit for a swing set, it is essential to put the safety of the children that will play on the swing set at the forefront of your mind, and let them worry about what style they’ll want to have to keep them up and out of the house.
I’d recommend you go with a wooden swing set as it is safer and children-friendly. This type of swing set doesn’t cause sharp cuts or deep wounds.
Best Wooden Swing Set
A wooden swing set has some specific advantages over a metal swing set, among which are the fact that:
- It is safer for children as it is not as hard as metal.
- It is more durable and will last a lifetime with proper care.
- It is much sturdier.
- It is always more fun for children as there are no limits to the designs and modifications that can be made to a wooden swing set.
The ultimate choice of a swing set remains a mixture of a wooden timber frame covered with metal braces for extra support. That way, you get the sturdy nature of a wooden swing set, along with the warm and appealing appearance and texture of a wooden swing set.
As for most situations, it’s neither a black or white but rather a grey area of compromise. With that in mind, go through all the swing sets available on the market (metal and wooden) and within your budget, and pick the one that best suits your kids.