How to Build a Swing Set
Ask This Old House general contractor Tom Silva travels to Colorado to help a couple build a DIY swing set for their young son
- Measure and mark the locations of the holes for all the swing set accessories across the top beam of swing set.
- Drill holes all the way through the beam on the marks. It’s important to keep the holes straight, so use a speed square to guide the drill bit.
- Flip the beam over and insert the T-nuts that come with the play set kit with a hammer.
- Insert the washers over the brackets for the swings and thread those through the holes into the T-nuts. These also come with the kit. Eventually, you won’t be able to hand tighten anymore, but you can use a screwdriver in the hole of the bracket as leverage to get it the rest of the way down. Be sure to keep the orientation of the hole perpendicular to the beam.
- Drill the washers into the beam using the drill driver and the provided screws.
- Assemble the A-frames of the playset using 4x4 lumber. Secure the frame together with 4” screws.
- Once the frames are assembled, screw the provided brackets to the tops of the A-frames to hold the top beam.
- Measure, cut, and assemble a platform for the slide. Leave gaps between the boards to allow for rainwater to slide through.
- Screw the slide platform into two of the A-frames using the four-inch screws.
- Attach the A-frames to the top beam using the carriage bolts and nuts that come with the kit.
- Once the frame is completely assembled, carefully tilt it right side up into position.
- Screw some additional 2x4s to the A-frame on the inside of the slide platform to act as railings.
- Screw the slide to the platform. To keep the slide from pushing forward, you can add some additional stakes into the ground underneath the bottom of the slide and secure the slide to those stakes.
- Screw more 2x4s to the A-frame to make a ladder for the platform, or screw them closer together and attach rock-climbing grabs in select locations.
Tom installed the Do-It-Yourself Pioneer Custom Play Set, which is manufactured by Swing-N-Slide. It comes with a basic set of swing set parts and then you can order additional parts to customize it to your needs.
The lumber Tom used to assemble the swing set was Western Red Cedar.
All the other tools and materials used for this project, including the drill driver, screws, and speed square, can all be found at home centers.
Expert assistance with this project was provided by the Western Red Cedar Lumber Association and Nathan Gilbert Carpentry.