Playset for the Kids


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Old 04-20-15, 07:29 PM
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Playset for the Kids

Buying a fort-style playset might be like purchasing a minivan: You never think you'll do it, but then it just happens. I managed to avoid the minivan but I did recently buy a playset. It's my next project.

Rather than tear up sod, I'll be laying down heavy-duty landscape fabric and using 2x10 boards to build a perimeter wall. I hope to use wood chips as the protective material. The woodchips will be 8-9 inches deep and I'll add more over time as they settle.

I have never built or installed one of these, so I'm learning as I go. Looks like it will take me and another person 8-10 hours to put this together after the base is done.

It appears that I will need to use something to elevate the fort and posts of the playset, otherwise the first 8-9 inches will be buried in woodchips. To anyone here who has ever built one of these, what did you use to elevate the playset? Needs to be something that isn't dangerous to the kiddos if woodchips are moved around and it's exposed.

I welcome any input to what may be an odd inquiry. I didn't need to be any sort of handyman until I bought a house, so I'm learning to do things as I go.
 
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Old 04-20-15, 08:17 PM
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What's the direction's that come with the play set suggest for footings?
Weeds and grass will grow right through landscape cloth if the top soil is left in place.
Want it to never move, not rot out at the bases, not move up and down from the frost?
Then set the post on Sono Tubes with Simpson Strong Tie post bases pored to below the frost line in your area.
Ever once seen a real playground use 2 X 10's and wood chips before?
2 X 10"s are not even direct grade contact rated.
Use 6 X 6"s instead, notch them on the corners and if you need to do a long run, drill them out so you can drive in 1/2 rebar to keep everything from moving.
5" is more then enough mulch.
Use recycle tire mulch and it's not going to rot and attract insects.
 
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Old 04-21-15, 03:21 AM
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There would be no reason NOT to remove the sod. It will not be viable after the kids grow up anyway. I would remove the sod, lay in landscape cloth and cover it all with pea gravel. Wood chips look good, but are dirty and will eventually rot and go through a heat process. I pulled out all the old wood chips in our church's nursery school playground and replaced it with pea gravel. We were adding to the chips every year. It has been 8 years, now on the same load of pea gravel. Cleans itself with the rain. 8" is quite a bit of ground cover and IMO not necessary. 3 or 4" would suffice.

As far as mounting the playset, go with Joe's idea of sonotubes and concrete with post bases for a firm permanent location. It will be permanent, however. Figure total lifespan or usage and adapt your mounting to that. I would not want 8 concrete footings in my yard after my kids grow up and the fort goes away.
 
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Old 04-21-15, 03:57 AM
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I built one for our grandson when he was little. I just sunk the 4x4 posts in the ground [no concrete] I bordered the base [under the elevated room] with a 2x6 [?] and filled the bottom with sand [removed sod first] His had a swing off to one side and I've forgotten what was on the other It cost more than I had figured but he had a lot of fun with it. It's gone now as he's outgrown it.
 
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Old 05-01-15, 08:46 AM
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I'm doing something similar. I'm making a raised 4x8 play house for the kids. Do you guys also recommend footings? Or could I get away with pavers or floating deck piers? If I go with footings. . from what I could tell I'd be looking at 30" deep here in Chicago. Given the light load, what diameter footings would I be looking at?
 
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Old 05-01-15, 09:13 AM
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Unless you expect it to become a permament structure I wouldn't bother with the footers. I would sink the 4x4 posts into the ground to make it more stable. How tall do you plan to make it?
 
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Old 05-01-15, 02:12 PM
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I'm thinking the deck of the house would be about 4-5'. Enough to have a sandbox/play area under it. I've got a 2 year old and a 9 month old. . so this thing may be around for years to come (in terms of it's permanence)
 
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Old 05-01-15, 02:47 PM
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If the playhouse is also part of the deck - it needs footers down to the frost line!
 
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Old 10-25-15, 10:19 AM
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The directions regarding footings were vague, hence my initial post here.

Yes, have seen professionally built playsets use 2x10's and wood chips, which is where I got that idea. It's not what I ended up going with, but I have seen it done in a way that works.
 
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Old 10-26-15, 07:04 AM
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How many kids and how old? I ask because some day you're going to try to get rid of this thing and I just want it to have been worth the effort.
 
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Old 10-26-15, 09:17 AM
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My oldest is 2 and my youngest is just a couple months old. Hope to have more in the future.

Finished the playset in July and it's been well worth it. My oldest uses it every day.

Removed the sod, put down weed screen, built a wall with treated ground-contact rated 4x6 timbers, and filled with several inches of playground certified wood chips.
 
 

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