Climbing Frames Buyer's Guide
Thinking about buying a wooden climbing frame?
If you are considering a wooden climbing frame for your children, you will find this climbing frame buyer's guide very useful. Wooden play equipment offers flexibility, strength, durability and longevity, and will look great in your garden. Wood ages and weathers without losing its structural integrity, and the natural wood colour tones blend with the garden rather than standing out within it.
Types of Wooden Playset
There's really only two types of wooden playset to consider, and the differences are significant. Our wood of choice is cedar due to it's fantastic natural characteristics, however, we find that there are many playsets advertised in the UK and throughout Europe that are manufactured from Pine wood.
Pine or Cedar wood?
Cedar wood is our product of choice for our climbing frames due to the fantastic natural characteristics of the wood, cedar really is perfect for use in outdoor play equipment. Cedar is strong, beautiful and contains a tight knot structure meaning it rarely splinters or splits, which ensures your children's hands, arms and knees will be safe when climbing around on our playsets. Cedar climbing frames also look beautiful and are naturally resistant to rot and insect attack ensuring they last for at least as long as your children will be using one!
Pine widespread throughout Europe as it is grown locally in countires such as Poland or Estonia, and is very cheap. Pine is one of the softest woods available so it must be pressure treated to stop it from decaying so quickly. We use pressure treated pine on our cheap swingsets where children have little interaction with the wood itself, meaning they aren't likely to be touching or lying on the chemically treated wood. Also, the side effect of the pressure treatment used to preserve the pine is that the wood often cracks and splinters, which means children are at more risk of getting a nasty splinter or grazes if they were to climb on the playset.
Round or sawn (planed) wood?
The choice here is much more than an aesthetic one. Sawn wood is either square or rectangular in appearance and is often made from cedar or pine wood, round wood is predominantly pine wood. Round wood products are very cheap because the processing time is minimal, but they are still strong because the dimensions are large and the wood utilises the heart of the wood which is tough. Sawn wood is more expensive for us to produce due to the cuts and shaping, but we also engineer the wood to ensure playsets are strong and stable. Roundwood swingsets are more generally cheap and rustic, and sawn wood playsets cost more but come with more features and accessories.
DIY Climbing Frame Packages
Our climbing frames are all design and delivered 'ready for home build'. This means our playsets come nicely boxed with all parts pictured, including all wood, metal and plastic components and a fully illustrated owner's manual to aid your home build. During manufacture our products have all been pre-cut, pre-drilled and pre-stained so there is minimal input needed from you during the build. Many retailers do not offer this level of service and deliver a pile of wood on a pallet, and some will only sell a DIY kit including only the hardware for the playset, and you'll have to order the wood required from a local builders yard. Climbing Frames UK believe we should do the hard work and deliver their product of choice to your door, all ready for you to build with the assistance of our illustrated, step-by-step manuals.
Space & Ground Requirements
Houses in the UK come in all shapes and sizes, as do our gardens, and we appreciate that so you'll see we've categorised our wooden playsets so you can easily view those that are looking for climbing frames for smaller gardens, or those that or more suited to medium or large size gardens. We have the biggest selection of outdoor play equipment available and our customer service team is available via live chat, email or telephone to help you chose the best playset for you, your children, your garden and to suit your budget.
What do I build my Climbing Frame on?
Our play centres are all residential sets so are designed to be sited on grass. Our sets all come with ground pegs to prevent movement of the set when children are swinging and climbing, but our play sets don't need any permanent concreting or hardcore surfacing. Some people consider ground mats, play-bark or rubber mulch, but there is no requirement for these with residential playsets.
Can you install on sloping ground?
Our climbing frames are designed to be built on a level surface. This does not mean that your garden has to be a bowling green, it's no problem if there's lumps and bumps, or a slight slope, but they'll not be able to cope with a serious slope or incline.
What about installation?
Our sets are all designed for home build, and come will all parts required and a fully illustrated owners manual. An average set would take two adults a full day to build, presuming you have reasonable DIY skills and basic tools and a power screwdriver. If you don't have the time, tools or inclination to build your playset then a full national installation service is available via the Climbing Frames UK register of approved installers, with prices starting at £250.
Ongoing Care & Maintenance
As with anything wood, to keep it looking brand new you'll need to maintain it occasionally. Whether you have fencing, pressure treated pine decking, a teak table, or a cedar climbing frame, all will survive if you don't touch them, often for 5-10 years plus, but a coat of sealant or stain will make them look new again and keep them protected for years to come. As with any equipment, especially children's play equipment, we also advise to check screws and bolts occasionally to ensure they're tight and secure.