An outdoor playset is one of the most common play items for kids. They support physical activity and creative play and encourage kids to explore the outdoors. Playsets for yards and parks are typically constructed from four materials: wood, vinyl, metal, and plastic. Making a decision regarding the material of your backyard playground or swing set that will safeguard your family and your investment is important because doing so may be a fairly big financial commitment.
Since wood and vinyl are the most common materials used to make swing sets, we want to compare them so that you fully understand them and can make the right decision regarding which one you think is right for you. So without wasting much time, let’s get started.
What is a vinyl swing set?
A vinyl coated swing set contains wood, but the wood is surrounded by a PVC vinyl coating that gives the swing set more of a plastic appearance. The coating also prevents rot and disintegration. In addition, this type of swing set doesn’t need to be sealed or stained, which can make you save money in the long run.
What is a wood swing set?
A wood swing set is as straightforward as the name implies. It is constructed from cedar or pine wood. It doesn’t have any coating that protects its surface. That means that it can easily fade because of the sun’s rays.
Now that you understand the difference between vinyl and wood swing sets let’s compare them closely.
Since safety is one of the most significant concerns for parents regarding swing sets, let’s start with it. Both wood and plastic playsets can be safe options for your children if installed and maintained properly. As the playsets get older, the majority of safety hazards become quite apparent. One of the best things about wood is that any safety concerns will be clearly visible. Any excessively worn wood is simple to identify and may be fixed before it becomes a risk.
These problems, however, are frequently not obvious with vinyl swing sets. Rot is typically undetectable because the vinyl exterior conceals the timber core. You might not even know it until the playset’s structural integrity has been seriously jeopardized.
On the other hand, vinyl coated swing sets do not chip or split. This makes them safe. They also do not have sharp edges that may cut the children if in case they fall off the structure.
Playsets made of wood are typically constructed from southern yellow pine. A renewable resource is this kind of pine. It is perfect for playset construction because of its strength and weight characteristics.
On the other hand, a vinyl coated swing set is made of wood with an exterior PVC (also known as vinyl) sheath. This creates a vinyl-like appearance that is crisp and clean and has a long lifespan with little fading or cracking. Vinyl is combined with UV inhibitors to reduce the risk of fading or yellowing.
3. Wear and tear
Wood: If properly maintained, playsets made of wood and vinyl can withstand years of wear and tear. Quality wood swing sets are pressure treated or constructed from rot-resistant woods such as redwood and cedar so they can weather the outdoors. Warping and weathering are common signs of wear and tear over time, but they don’t necessarily compromise the swing set’s structural integrity.
To preserve safety, rotting planks on a wood swing set must be replaced if they start to rot (typically due
to neglect or severe age).
Vinyl: A vinyl playset’s finish is hardly ever subject to deterioration. It is made of plastic, so it never rots, splinters, or warps.
The timber core inside is also pressure treated for an added peace of mind. The vinyl coating captures any moisture that enters the hardwood interior while protecting the wooden core for a considerable amount of time.
Any well-made swing set you buy will last many years, giving your kids hours of fun. A vinyl swing set can practically last a lifetime, whereas a wood swing set lasts only 6-10 years. The vinyl swing set your kids used to play on when growing up can still be used by your grandchildren.
Vinyl coated swing sets are completely resistant to the rot, mold, and decay that eventually destroy wooden swing sets, which is why they can last a lifetime. A vinyl set will, therefore, need minimal maintenance and will last forever. A wooden swing set must be periodically painted and stained for ten years. Vinyl is, therefore, the ideal swing set material from a practical standpoint.
Due to their low maintenance needs, vinyl swing sets are typically more expensive than wooden ones. Wood requires yearly maintenance which is additional cost year after year while vinyl only requires a power wash to bring the shine back! But if add the cost of paints for all those years, it would be better to purchase a vinyl playset instead.
Which one should you go for?
Now that you’ve gone through the pros and cons of vinyl and wood swing sets, you can make a more informed decision. But from a point of view, vinyl is the best material for a swing set. That’s because a vinyl coated swing set is durable, resistant to rot and rust, and requires minimal maintenance. So even if it is more expensive, it is worth every penny!
Check out more blogs such as “benefits of using mulch under your playset as a surfacing material” or “building vs. buying a playset for your kids: Which is better?“