Swing sets are great projects for beginning DIY and mid-level DIYers. The place to start is with hardware kits that supply the fittings and fasteners, but not the lumber, or kits that supply finished lumber, fittings and fasteners.
There are a few things you should know to build a safe set.
Check the Screws and Bolts
If you opt for a hardware kit (without lumber), check with the manufacturer about the screws and bolts that it supplies with its fittings. Some manufacturers supply their kits with rust-resistant screws and bolts that are intended to be installed in cedar, not pressure-treated lumber, which is far more corrosive.
If you build the swing set with pressure-treated lumber, you’ll need fasteners that have a corrosion-resistant coating specifically rated to resist pressure-treated wood corrosion: stainless-steel fasteners or hot-dipped galvanized fasteners. If you go with cedar, then the screws and bolts that came with the set are fine.
Use Nuts, Bolts, and Washers to Secure Swings
I was shocked to see that you can buy swing hardware kits that are intended to be installed with lag screws. Bad idea. Never fasten swing fittings with a lag screw, which can pull out suddenly and send a kid flying. Swing hardware should be secured with a bolt, washers, and a locking nut of some kind.
Have a look for safer swing-set construction, and read up on the caused by pressure-treated lumber.
Get the Right Kit
There are several things that we like about Swing-N-Slide products. First, they supply everything you need, including pre-cut wood components. Next, the lumber, is pre-finished, reducing your maintenance. Next, the fittings are rugged, pre-finished to resist corrosion, and swing hardware is bolted to prevent any dangerous pull-outs.
You can try something simple and inexpensive, like , or something more elaborate, like what . If you're really ready to take on a challenge, there's , too.
Of course, you could try something a little more DIY. For example, is hard to beat for cost effectiveness, though it does not include the slides or deck screws.
Building From Scratch
If you’re reasonably handy, and all you want is a simple swing set, then it makes more sense to buy the brackets and swing fittings and design your own A-frame-style swing set. It’s a cost-effective option for young families.
This from Eastern Jungle Gym makes the process much easier and safer and these only give you more peace of mind.
If you want a more one-stop-shop option, with all the brackets, hardware, and nuts and bolts, though it is slightly more expensive.