Why Cedar Is the Best Wood for Your Playset

Why Cedar Is the Best Wood for Your Playset

You know you want a wooden playset for your backyard, but what's the difference between one playset and another? The type of wood used is often a major difference. You might assume all wooden playsets offer durability, safety and quality. 

However, not all wood is created equal when it comes to playset construction. Cedar playsets rank higher than other materials in many different areas. Understanding the benefits of going with cedar helps you make an informed buying decision.

Cedar Wood: A Strong and Reliable Material

What makes cedar so special? Cedar has many natural properties that make it a strong, reliable and safe material for outdoor structures like playsets. The wood comes from needled evergreen trees. It's a soft wood, which means it's lighter than hardwood varieties, but cedar isn't weak due to this lightness. It holds up well year after year under the most brutal conditions. 

Cedar contains natural preservatives in its fibers that help the wood last longer than other varieties. It's also moisture-resistant, which makes it ideal for outdoor uses like playsets. Cedar holds its shape well with moisture and weather changes and resists the rot and decay that can happen with 4 seasons of abuse. 

In other words, it doesn't warp, swell or otherwise change each time the weather turns for the worse. It's even resistant to rot when it comes into contact with soil, which makes it ideal for an outdoor play area that sits on the ground. Cedar is also known for its aroma. It has a distinct smell many people find appealing compared to a plastic or metal playset.

What Makes Cedar the Best Option for Playsets

The wood from cedar trees offers many natural benefits that make it ideal for play structures. Not only does it produce a long-lasting, safe playset, but cedar also enhances the look of your backyard. When you compare the qualities of cedar to other woods or playset materials, cedar always comes out on top as the clear winner. Consider the following characteristics of the wood to understand why it is the best option for playset material.

Longevity and Durability of Cedar

Cedar is one of the longest-lasting types of lumber you can find, which means your cedar play structure will likely be standing years after your kids outgrow it. Your grandkids may even have the chance to play on it someday. When you invest our Original Playcenter with Wood Roof or other deluxe set, you know you can use it for a long time.

Because of its naturally protective qualities, cedar doesn't deteriorate as fast as some other types of wood. A closed-cell structure means the cedar wood doesn't soak up moisture, which is a good thing when you're talking about an outdoor wood structure. This property cuts down on the potential for mold or mildew that can eat away and destroy a playset. It also minimizes rotting, which often happens due to moisture damage in the wood grains. 

Pests Don't Like Cedar

The resistance to insects underscores the durability of cedar construction. That distinct smell of cedar that so many people like is the same thing that drives insects away from the wood and keeps the playset safe. 

Termites can be a big problem with many wood structures, but cedar is a termite-resistant material. Due to the smell and structure of the wood, termites will not attack your play structure and your yard will be safe! You don't have to worry about termites eating their way through your support beams and destroying your child's play area. The wood also repels other insects, too, which can be just as damaging to the playset structure. By keeping those destructive insects away, you protect the integrity of your playset, keeping it stable and safe. 

Pests Don't Like Cedar

Cedar Dries Quickly After Rain or Snow

Cedar can come into direct contact with soil and water without sustaining damage. Since playsets are anchored into the ground and exposed to natural elements, that characteristic is a big help in making cedar playsets last. When cedar does get wet from rain or snow, it dries out much faster than other types of wood, which further decreases the chance of rot. 

All that natural resistance to rot, insects and other damage comes with another advantage. Your play structure isn't covered in any extra chemicals. 

Treated wood structures hold up outdoors because they've had many potentially toxic chemicals added to them. Even quick contact with a chemical-covered playset can leave the chemicals behind on your child's hands. When your child eats a snack without washing their hands after playtime, those chemicals can go into their body. You take care to keep toxic materials away from your kids inside your home, so it makes sense to extend that concern to outdoor play structures. 

Safety of Cedar Swingsets

When choosing a playset, you and your kids likely have different priorities. They want something that's truly awesome and fun. You want something that keeps them entertained but also keeps them safe. Choosing a well-made, reliable playground system for your backyard reduces the chances of sustaining an injury. 

Picking solid cedar playsets helps make your backyard play area a safer place to be, especially in the summer. Other materials heat up quickly, bringing the potential for burns. Some slides have been measured at over 160 degrees, which can cause significant burn injuries rapidly. Anything over 120 degrees can cause serious burns in just seconds. 

Many kids have received severe burns on a single trip down an overheated slide. Metal is one of the worst offenders of overheating in the sun. If you have a metal playset in your backyard, it could cause painful burns on your child's skin, especially if it's in direct sunlight. 

Cedar doesn't heat up like those other materials. That means it won't burn your child's skin, even on a sweltering day. If your cedar playset has plastic components, such as our Classic Fort and Classic Playcenter Combo 2, it's always important to check them before letting your child play on a hot day, as plastic can get hot enough to burn the skin. 

Another advantage of cedar is its lack of splintering when you touch the wood. You don't have to worry about the cedar components splitting off. That means a lower risk of getting splinters in your feet or receiving cuts and scrapes from jagged, splintered areas. The smoother surfaces make it easier for your kids to touch the playset structure without getting lots of slivers. 

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Appealing Appearance of a Cedar Playset

A playset takes a prominent spot in your backyard. Sure, you want something your kids love playing on, but you also want something that looks good. Playsets made of metal, plastic or unstained woods can stand out as an eyesore in your backyard. They may not hold up as well over time, which makes them look old and even less attractive.

Cedar, on the other hand, has a beautiful reddish tone. You get the natural beauty of cedar in a well-constructed playset that stands the test of time. That means your backyard can look great and keep your kids entertained when you add an attractive set from Superior Play Systems, such as the Turbo Original Fort Hangout. 

Natural Beauty of Cedar

Because of the structural stability of cedar, the pieces remain straight and flat, so your structure stays looking great long-term. The look of the wood also holds up well to aging. Even if you don't stain the cedar wood, it ages well and looks great over the years. If you want to keep the original reddish brown color, you can seal the structure yearly to prevent it from showing its age.

Cedar Is Environmentally Friendly 

Cedar is a natural product, so it's a more environmentally friendly option than some materials. It's also a renewable material, unlike other playset structures made of metal or plastic. At the end of your playset's life, you can repurpose the cedar into something else. If it's no longer of use to you, cedar is biodegradable, unlike plastics and metals often used in playset construction.

Cedar playsets also hold up well without the need for toxic chemical treatments to prevent rot or insect damage: 

  • That makes your little corner of the world healthier and safer by limiting your child's exposure to chemicals.
  • It keeps more toxic chemicals out of the environment in general. 

Chemical-free cedar playsets naturally resist fungus and insect damage. Think of your purchase of a cedar playset as your part in helping the environment. All those little decisions add up to a healthier environment.

Easy Maintenance for Solid Cedar Playsets

Because cedar is so durable and naturally resistant to rot, insects and other damage, it doesn't require as much maintenance as some other materials. You may need to wash your cedar play structure occasionally to get rid of the natural buildup of dirt and grime. While sealing isn't required, you can coat the cedar with sealant every year or two to give it a little extra protection. 

Sealing also helps retain the original color of the structure. You should also visually inspect any playset regularly to look for loose hardware or other things that could potentially cause injuries. Other than that, your cedar playset is relatively low maintenance, which means your kids can play safely and you don't have a long to-do list to keep it that way.

Solid Beam Construction of Wood Playsets

I would change this to read that we are the only play set manufacture that uses 100% solid wood beam construction. No wood components that we use are made up of engineered wood --

The best cedar playsets use solid beam construction instead of engineered wood or layers of wood that are glued together. Wooden playsets constructed with those inferior methods are often more susceptible to buckling and warping, which affects the safety and stability. All playsets from Superior Play feature solid beam construction, so you can feel confident in the strength and safety of your backyard play area. 

Cedar Vs. Other Wood Types

Not all wooden playsets are made from durable cedar. When looking at your options, find out what type of wood each playset uses. Cedar comes out on top when compared to other wood varieties. One of the biggest advantages of cedar over other wood is its resistance to moisture and other weather elements:

  • Many wood varieties swell, shrink or warp in response to changes in moisture levels. That means the playset made out of anything but cedar you spent so much money on, may become warped. 
  • That swelling and shrinking can also cause damage to the playset. As the wood changes, it can pull apart and loosen the fasteners, which affects the stability of the playset. Since cedar doesn't change as much as other woods, you have a consistent play structure that stays securely fastened together.

Another advantage of cedar over other wood types is its durability without any finish. You can add a sealant to your Superior Play Systems cedar playset, but it stays strong and durable without it. Other woods need protection from the elements to prevent damage. 

That makes those other wood structures more difficult to maintain. If you opt out of the additional maintenance, you may find a play structure built of another type of wood doesn't last nearly as long. Plus, most other types of wood use those toxic chemicals to help them hold up, which unnecessarily exposes your kids to the chemicals.

Cedar Vs. Other Playset Materials

Wood isn't the only option when it comes to playset material. Metal is a commonly used material for playsets, especially larger commercial grade sets. Plastic is also used, more often on smaller structures for toddlers or on the extra pieces, like the slides on our Original Fort Double Trouble

Plastic Playset Parts

Playsets made primarily of those materials may cost less depending on their design, but they are also inferior in quality and looks. Metal playsets can rust over time or have hard and potentially hot surfaces. Plastic tends to crack or sag when left in the sun and the elements. Metal and plastic stand out because they aren't organic materials. Wood playsets made of cedar have a natural look that makes them seem to fit into your outdoor space. 

A cedar playset offers a substantial structure that keeps it stable, such as our Original Fort Hangout. Even though it's lighter than some other woods, cedar is a sturdy wood that makes the playset secure. Often, smaller metal and plastic play structures usually aren't as stable. A little metal playset might tip over when kids swing or play too vigorously, for example. 

Quality Construction of Superior Play Playsets

Construction methods also affect the overall quality of a play structure. Superior Play Systems playsets use the strongest components and construction methods to ensure your playset remains stable. All of our playsets feature high-quality cedar, so you get the natural resistance to insects, fungus and rot without any toxic chemicals in your child's play area. 

Multi-beam joint connections give each playset a strong foundation, so you can feel comfortable letting your kids climb and play on the equipment. Paired with the solid beam construction, our playsets are reliable and long-lasting. Hot-dipped galvanized steel hardware resists corrosion, so you don't have to worry about those components breaking down over time. Heavy-duty steel brackets also help create a strong foundation for the playsets.

The equipment undergoes extensive testing to ensure it's safe for your kids. Engineers check all the fun play equipment designs for safety and guarantee they exceed all requirements. Children test out the equipment and give feedback, so you know the playset options from Superior Play are both safe and appealing to kids. 

We Look Out for Your Kids' Safety on Our Cedar Swingsets

Beyond the cedar components, our playsets feature several pieces that make the play experience safer: 

  • Slides on our playsets feature a special double-wall construction that eliminates the need for any exterior reinforcement. You won't see any hardware, bolts or wood reinforcements that can cause cuts, snags and other injuries. 
  • All ladder rungs, hand grips, handrails and trapeze bars feature Gotcha Non Slip  Grips. 

The hot-dipped galvanized steel has a dimpled texture with powder coating to keep little hands steady without slipping. 

  • Rubber-dipped chains on our swings protect kids from getting pinched and keep the chains cooler in hot weather.

Another feature of our playsets families love is the ability to change, expand and customize the setup. Your kids have their unique interests and play preferences. Get a playset that matches those preferences by customizing the components that go into the playset. 

As your kids get older, their preferences may change. Since our playsets are expandable and modular, you can easily swap out old components or add new elements that better reflect your child's interests right now, such as replacing the tire swing on the Turbo Original Playcenter Combo 3 with a Daydreamer Swing.

Expandable Wood Playsets

Contact Us Today to Order a New Wood Playset

Check out the wooden playset options from Superior Play to transform your backyard into the best possible place to be for your kids. You know you're getting a quality play structure made from high-quality solid beam cedar when you choose one of our playsets, and our dedicated team is ready to stand behind the quality of our Superior Play products.  Contact us today to learn more!

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