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Which Playset is Right For My Family - Wooden, Plastic or Metal?

08 Jun, 2017

Which Playset is Right For My Family - Wooden, Plastic or Metal?


Playset Materials make a difference

Equipment to play on can become integral to a childhood. The available playset in one’s own backyard makes it incredibly convenient to simply to out and play. Even a simple swing can provide hours of comfort or fun. Because of this, when considering a playset for your yard, you need to think long-term. Most playsets can be made attractive enough regardless of material. Most are made to be at least mildly durable and strong enough to handle a bit of play. That said, choosing what material to get a playset made of can be a bit tricky. Traditional wood, metal, and even molded plastics are available in a variety of styles and colors.



When considering materials, often the idea of strength and durability are top of the list. You want a set that is capable of standing the test of time. When considering such, artificial materials like metal are an option to be considered. Metal swingsets are quite durable, and can be both strong and painted in a variety of colors. In fact, metal is so sturdy that it will not bend or warp through the years when exposed to elements. Often made of steel with a coating of zinc or other non-corrosive metal, these choices are low-maintanence and able to take an impressive amount of weight. With wood, time can cause splits and even splinters that become a hazard for those playing on the set. Plastic can break, creating sharp edges. Metal tends to be far sturdier and less likely to create issues from wear. The exacting nature of these materials also means that assembly is often far easier than from wood or plastic. A couple can typically build a set within an afternoon with a handful of tools as opposed to a larger team trying to place large and heavy beams of wood or fiddle with plastic panels. One assembled, the metal will hold shape and stand true for years to come.

Conversely, metal is not a flexible material. Any damage or bending is typically permanent. This means if something causes a bend in the frame, the entire structure can suffer for that until bent back- which can be difficult. Older kids may outgrow the set without realizing it until such is too late. Additionally, metal is a magnificent heat conductor, leading to the possibility of burns on hot or sunny days if you are not careful.



As a purpose-built material, plastic can seem quite attractive. Without significant waste or extra material, companies can create playsets without concern by using molded materials. These panels and sections are specifically made to fit together, providing a worry-free construction. Similar to metal, the material is quite durable and maintenance-free. It cannot rust, and generally does not splinter. Often seen as the safest material to work with, it can be a much friendlier option for younger kids. In fact, plastic requires the least amount of attention over time. A little water, and most dirt and debris will simply fall away making it attractive for decades. The material can be made in a broad variety of colors that will not flake or chip away with age, as the material itself is that color. Finally, plastic tends to be a bit of a cheaper material, making it more appealing to a budget.

Unfortunately, some of the strengths of this material are also weaknesses. For instance, if the material is stressed, it becomes discolored and weaker. This damage is permanent and difficult to repair or replace without replacing the entire structure. If a break does occur, the edges are often sharper and jagged, presenting a hazard to players. Plastic is also often weak to sun-bleaching, meaning a vibrant and colorful set can quickly become dull and less attractive. Having such an item in your yard can be a problem in later years.



The classic construction is iconic for multiple reasons. Wood often has a more neutral appearance, allowing the material to blend into a broader variety of looks and compliments homes far easier. Often the material is harvested in an eco-friendly way, meaning you won’t have to worry about where it came from, or how it might affect the environment once constructed. Of the choices, wood has the broadest range of options on material. So many available types of wood create new and interesting colors or patterns in the structure. Wood also boasts the most options for a given playset, as most have worked with it for so long. This creates more options for an ideal playset for your yard- just how you want it. As your kids grow, the wood can bend without breaking, allowing use far longer than other materials. Should a break happen, replacing boards is generally easier than finding appropriate metal or new plastic pieces.

Despite such, wood does have some drawbacks. It requires the most maintenance to keep strong and viable over time. From warping to painting, it needs your attention to keep from falling apart. Also, as a natural material, it is more prone to being made into a home by insects. From those that eat the wood like termites to other animals like wasps, they won’t know the difference, and see it as a good place to make a home. Swinging Monkey wants you to make the right choice for your family when purchasing playsets and web swings for your family.

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