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How To Determine the Best Quality Materials for Your Backyard Playset

How To Determine the Best Quality Materials for Your Backyard Playset



If you are reading this, chances are, you’re on a mission to get your kids to spend more time outdoors. You are not alone if you have found that it is becoming more and more difficult to promote activity in your children. These days, screens and technology cut into unstructured and free playtime.

A safe and fun way to encourage outdoor play for the whole family — and improve physical, emotional and intellectual health — is to install a quality backyard playset.

A fort with swings and a slide can keep children imagining adventures for hours and let them run off their energy close to the home, within your supervision. You can get involved in the fun yourself by pushing your kids on the playset swings, creating memorable home videos or joining the quest in playing pretend.

Do Playground Materials Really Matter?

Backyard playsets and playgrounds provide a stimulating alternative to screen-time. Children are far less likely to be injured on their home playset than on public playground hardware. As they play within their own backyard fortress, children will become very familiar with the equipment and often have a parent or guardian close by, allowing everyone to help keep playtime under control.

But what about the stability of the structure or the slipperiness of handlebars? How can your child’s safety be at risk if they’re climbing several feet off the ground and dangling from metal rods? It comes down to a few factors, and two of them are good, solid construction and quality playset materials.

Normally, the two most common type of playground-related injury involve falls and faulty equipment. While falls have traditionally been the more likely of the two, between 2009 and 2014, a recalled piece of seesaw equipment skewed the stats, being associated with 1,239 injuries over that five-year period, as reported by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

As residential play equipment providers, we at Superior Play Systems® are motivated to prevent anyone looking for a playset for their backyard from becoming one of these alarming statistics. Safety is our primary concern when it comes to fostering imagination and recreation. That’s why we have compiled some of our favorite tips here on creating the safest and most high-quality outdoor experience for you and your family.

What Are Basic Safety Standards?

Basic safety standards for a backyard playset of any kind, no matter the materials, include the following:

  • Setting up and installing the equipment correctly and without errors
  • Making sure the playset and its features are age-appropriate for its users
  • Creating a cushioning surface for the playset to stand on in case of falls
  • Keeping bolts tight and checking regularly for wear and tear
  • Removing unsafe ropes or contraptions that children have added to suspend themselves from
  • Clearing the area around and beneath the playset on a regular basis

These safety tips on their own will be worth very little if the playset is made up of poor quality materials. “Wear and tear,” for example, will occur much more frequently if the type of wood isn’t strong. You don’t want your playset materials to be mostly built from wood that’s highly susceptible to rotting and splintering, and unable to withstand regular use.

With a variety of playset hardware out there, you want to make sure your backyard’s fun zone is made from the best playset materials. And, according to the CPSC, this quest to find the all-around safest playset begins with a wooden frame made of solid cedar beams.

Advantages of a Solid Cedar Beam Construction in a Wooden Backyard Playset

What makes wood preferable to metal? For starters, your backyard will gain natural charm with one of the industry’s most beautiful cedar playsets. Aesthetically, wood construction complements the creative and outdoorsy imagination in ways that shiny metal and bright plastic might not.

Not only does wood look great, but your children will be subject to far fewer burns during the summer months, which can be a hazard from glossier, heat-absorbing materials. Over time, metal can rust and become sharp, and plastic can crack and bubble. Solid, 100% chemical-free Pacific Cedar wood beams, on the other hand, are naturally resistant to fungus and pests, splintering, warping and other concerns that could compromise the equipment’s structural safety.

Safety Hazards of Poor Construction

Equipment made with the wrong materials or built incorrectly has the potential to remove all the fun out of play and cause harm — sometimes to an irreparable degree. This is something important to remember when shopping around for a new playset.

Here are a few of the dangers associated with faulty equipment and materials:

  • Unreliable lumber: When builders use a species or type of wood that warps quickly outdoors, the structure could weaken or collapse. Over time, your equipment would be likely to break during use and have a high chance of causing splinters.
  • Rusting bolts: Metal bolts that are low-quality or improperly coated run the risk of rusting and crumbling, creating a highly unstable structure.
  • Slippery guards: Without the proper materials to create safe grips and guardrails, children can slip and fall. The CPSC reported that 44% of incidents involving swing set and playground injuries were related to falls.
  • Snagging and pinching: Any materials that are prone to cracking, chipping or splintering over time can snag and tear clothing or skin, causing harm.

Durability and safety need to be your playset supplier’s number one priority, otherwise it could hurt your long-term investment and the fun you hope to have in your backyard. At Superior Play Systems®, we expect that your new equipment will provide years and years of safe play through multiple generations. And you should expect the structure to be worth every penny.

Safe Quality Materials to Look for in Your Playset

Quality materials play a huge role in keeping the structure on its feet and keeping its users safe. In the long-run, a playset that will hold up to use and be relatively easy to maintain will have the following three characteristics:

1. Solid Cedar Structure

In their safety guidelines for backyard play equipment, the CPSC recommends cedar as the structural base for residential playsets. Solid Pacific cedar beams are less likely to collapse, because cedar as a species is naturally strong and resistant to fungus, decay and pest infestations. The wood can be pressure-treated to increase this strength.

Why are solid beams important? As opposed to glued multi-layered timbers with low durability, solid wood like the kind used in our Playground One® Playsets is chemical-free and much less prone to cracking and warping.

Also remember to look for a playset that features high-quality multi-beam joint connectors to hold the frame tightly.

Paired with the solid wood beams, this structure will hold even the weight of an adult, and it is guaranteed to provide family fun for generations!

2. Grips and Guards

Simply put, good playset grips will prevent falls on swings, steps, bars, ladders and other parts of the playset that need to support your child’s weight. Before purchasing, check the swing chains and make sure they are coated to make them easy to hold onto. Ensure that the coating will prevent pinching.

Ask your retailer whether the coating on swings, handles and bars will stay effective in any weather and not get too hot in the summer heat.

Additionally, look for well-designed guardrails and non-slip steps that will prevent falls.

3. Smooth Surfaces

If your playset is made of cedar, it will not splinter and crack as frequently as other types of wood, especially with the proper maintenance.

Take the time to look for galvanized bolt fasteners, and make sure they are coated well to prevent your children getting cut on sharp edges or injuring themselves on any bolt protruding out.

If there is a slide, look closely and make sure it is smooth all the way down, and that it does not have any protruding bolts. These could be painful and cause injury. By examining the slide ahead of time, you can ensure the safety that will allow your children to slide in a variety of positions without being injured.

Long-Term Safety Tip: Remember to Maintain Your Playset

It is important to start with the right playset materials that guarantee long-term fun and safety, but you want to make sure you keep your play equipment in the best condition by performing regular maintenance. This will also help you detect potential hazards early and keep your playset looking its best on a regular basis.

Here are a few simple steps to maintaining your playset:

  • Stain and seal: Do this to your playset every two or three years, starting at the top of the structure and working your way down.
  • Inspect it regularly: Make sure the wood is still smooth and solid, the metal doesn’t protrude or snag, movable parts are still well lubricated and the surface beneath the playset is still adequately soft and clear.
  • Store removable parts: Before a harsh winter, detach all removable parts to keep them from being damaged by the cold temperatures and the weight of snow.
  • Keep it clean: Brush of dirt and debris, especially before re-staining.
  • Re-mulch: Keep the area beneath your playset cushioned and add material as needed.

While not exhaustive, this list provides a good idea of where to start when it comes to keeping your outdoor fortress looking fresh. When quality materials and quality maintenance run in tandem, outdoor family fun is practically guaranteed to last for years to come.

Superior Play Systems® Offers You Installation With Integrity

Even with the best materials, a playset can be dangerous if it is put together incorrectly. Look for a supplier who will work with you to make sure your new playset is properly installed. They may even offer professional installation services.

At Superior Play Systems®, we value professionalism and personal attention. We send our very own builders to your backyard to ensure tight bolts, correct setup and proper installation, all while providing top-of-the-line customer service. This is one of the services that makes us The Most Trusted Name in Play.

Additional services to ease your mind:

  • Design your own: When browsing different playset options, consider working with a Superior Play designer who will personally help create the playset to suit your needs in the safest way.
  • Top-notch warranties: It is incredibly important to work with a supplier who values the long-term durability of your playset. Our Playground One® playsets provide the best warranties in the industry. Protect yourself for up to 10 years from wooden components being subject to rot, corrosion or insect infestations. Accessories, metal components, seats, tarps, ropes and more can all be covered under warranty as well.

Not every play equipment provider has the confidence of Superior Play Systems®. We offer you the biggest and best high-quality selection, and we encourage you to shop around before coming to visit our showrooms. Our showrooms allow your kids to test out the different playsets and give you the space to decide in a stress-free environment.

Safety First for Fun That Will Last

At Superior Play Systems®, we promise to ensure that the playset installed in your home will be made of only the best quality materials: sturdy cedar beams, hot-dipped metal coatings and smooth surfaces to give your children the time of their lives without risking harm.

Allow your children’s imaginations to run wild in a safe environment for years to come, as they grow into the active adventurers you’ve been hoping they would be. Those tech screens will seem less exciting than the great outdoors after all.

Find only the safest high-quality materials at Superior Play Systems® — The Most Trusted Name in Play and the proud, exclusive retailer of Playground One® playsets. Let’s get started on finding the perfect wooden playset to suit your family’s needs!

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