What to Do With an Old Swing Set?
Swing sets have come a long way since we were kids. When we were little, we had a piece of tire rubber attached to an aluminum rod by a bit of baling twine. Bruises, cuts, and blisters were an every day event.
These days, swing sets come with every modification imaginable, not to mention they are infinitely safer. My sons swing set comes with, multiple swings, monkey bars, two slides, a little house, a three-story rock wall, two canopies, a telescope, a Mr. Fusion, and a flux capacitor.
Putting the thing together requires the intellectual genius of the engineer who built the Hoover Dam. It took me hours and hours, well let's be honest, months, to finally finish assembling the damn thing. I was even able to stash the extra parts at the bottom of the trash can before anyone could ask me what they were for. And it was all worth it to watch my kids' faces light up every time they played on it.
But that was ages ago. Those same kids only get excited now when I give them money or tell them I upped their data plan. And the behemoth swing set sits unused and unloved in my backyard.
My kids, like yours, have outgrown it and so, it's time to find something else to do with it. We’ve come up with a few options to make the most out of a once beloved family toy.
HOW TO REMOVE AN OLD SWING SET
If your swing set is irreparably broken or damaged then getting rid of it is the way to go. If it's old and unsafe there’s really nothing else for you to do other than remove it or repurpose. Luckily demolishing a swing set it is a lot easier than putting it together was.
Demolition is one of those things that make adulting worth it. You get to crush, smash, destroy and annihilate things. The more adult toys or tools you have at your disposal, the more fun you get to have. If you are really succeeding at this adulting game then you have a tractor, a front loader is best but you can make do with any Caterpillar you have access to. Just mount up and crush the playset like a bug.
Maybe you have a chainsaw that you haven’t played with, I mean used, in a while. Start that sucker up and go to town.
If you're unfortunate enough that you lack these basic machines then you will have to go about demolition day in a more primitive form. You need some boring though useful tools; things like hammers and wrenches. Don't get me wrong, I love a good wrench set but there is just such a fundamental joy that comes from smashing things.
Before you get started, you should take a really close look at the playset, you may have put it together but that was hundreds of beers ago. Refamiliarize yourself with how it is assembled. Also, take note of any damage or rotting. If the wood is rotten then you might have an easier time breaking it apart rather than unscrewing all the joints. Take a minute and evaluate just what you might be getting into; if you’re sure you want to tackle this project yourself then review our quick demo guide to learn exactly how to crush that backyard eyesore into smithereens.
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Quick Swingset Removal
Call for fast and easy disposal of an old swingset.
We will dismantle and haul off the entire set, and we’ll even clean up before we go. To top it off we’ll sort all of the pieces and take everything we can to a recycling center instead of hogging up valuable landfill space. It's a quick job for our expert junk removers, give us a call, and your set will be gone before you know it.
Wooden Swing Set Demolition
A wooden playset is more challenging than tearing down a metal one. They are usually bigger than metal ones and come with more parts and accessories. That means more pieces to take apart. Then once you have finished demolishing it, you have a variety of materials to dispose of.
Again if you can crush the thing with your mighty mystical Bobcat weapons then go for it, crush it like the ugly, persistent, infestation that it is, but without the help of a Bobcat, you’ll need to dismantle the playset step by step.
Things You'll Need
- Rust Doctor or WD-40
- Cordless drill
- Socket set
- Case of beer
This is going to take a while so get ahold of Postmates and have them deliver three servings of hot wings in about two hours, you’re going to need the sustenances to reboot your energy and your determination. You should also set up your trash bins or Bagster® to toss debris into as you go along. It will save you a ton of time on the back end.
Hit those screws and bolts with WD-40, Rust Doctor, muriatic acid, whatever you have on hand, and let them start working while you take on the accessories.
Remove all the large plastic add ons. Although it seems like this might be the simplest thing, it’s actually the worst. The slides are like your journey through puberty, awkward and never-ending. You’ll need to remove a thousand bolts and screws before you’ll be able to cast them aside. It's also a two-person job because of their size and shape. It's hard to hold them in place long enough to get all of the bolts out.
Once you’ve finished removing all of the tunnels and slides, you’ll have to repeat the whole process again for the rooftop, assuming it's a plastic shade cover. If it is made of wood and is part of the playset frame then leave it for now.
Next, work on the swings, removing them from the crossbar; you’ll also need to get rid of the trapeze, glider and anything else attached to the swingset crossbeam. Then, find the rope ladder and set that thing on fire, or just remove it and toss it with the other parts in the trash bin.
After you’ve gotten rid of the accessories, head up the ladder and remove the screws that hold the swing crossbeam in place. You’re going to want a buddy to help hold the beam in place while you work on it. Watch your heads though, because, hopefully, the crossbeam will drop like Jackie Smith’s football career after Superbowl XIII, as soon as you’ve removed all the bolts. Once it’s down you can go after the rest of the swing frame, dismantling any support beams.
Next, you’ve got to hit the playhouse itself. There will be large blocks of wood all over this thing that will give you a challenge. If there is a lot of damage or rot to the wood you might have an easier time sawing through the wood rather than trying to take out the screws.
If not, the first thing you should do is remove all of the railings and walls. You might have to remove the plastic window frames and metal brackets to get everything off the playset frame. About the time you're done with the siding, your hot wings should be arriving. Take an extra long break to rejuvenate and prepare yourself for the final stretch. Then make sure your cooler is stocked with enough beer to get you through the finish line.
Now, you need to work your way through the playhouse deck. Some playhouses have an open floor to allow for a sandbox or other such nonsense, which means the deck is in the middle of the frame instead of on the ground. As you smash your way through the mid-level deck, the integrity of the frame is going to diminish. Expect that it is going to fall over and be ready to move out of the way. Don’t try to catch it, just let it go. That means you should double check that none of your little ones are running around. Safety first.
Hopefully, once it hits the ground it will splinter into manageable pieces. You might even be able to ditch the tools and just tear the thing apart with your bare hands. A sledgehammer might be fun too. Just destroy the thing until the pieces are small enough for you to easily carry out.
The deck will probably be the most difficult part of your deconstruction regardless of where it is placed, though a mid-level deck will be a bit more tricky.
If the deck is at ground level, the frame supports should drop one by one as you dismantle each joint.
After that, all you have to do is haul off the parts, piece by piece and you’re done.
Metal Swing Set Demolition
Even though metal sets have fallen out of favor in recent years, they are still found lurking in backyards, silent predators, preying on the weak and thin-skinned. Charred flesh and sutures are their calling card and they must be eradicated from all the earth before humanity can be safe.
While you may have survived years of leg burns and dozens of stitches when you were a child, it is our responsibility to protect future generations from the torments of metal playsets. Our children's children must never suffer as we have suffered. Death to all metal playsets!
Before you murder your own metal torture-set prepare yourself by gathering up as many tools and supplies as you can.
Things You'll Need
Things You May Need for Added Fun
- broad sword or an angle grinder
- bolt cutters
- a cutting torch and/or a reciprocating saw
Get anything you have at your disposal that will help you to crush your enemy.
If you’re a badass and have a cutting torch on hand, then simply get a friend to help you slice the set up into little pieces like the Valkyrie and her mighty sword, Dragonfang. Then gather up all the metal scraps and take them in for recycling or sell the parts for cash.
Otherwise, you’ll have to lay siege on the playset, it's an effective military strategy, a strategy any Lannister would be proud of; sieges just take a little more time than crushing your enemy with a magical hammer.
Begin your siege by lubricating all the joints with WD-40 or some Rust Doctor, this will make a real difference when it's time to start removing bolts. If you have some extra time; let the joints soak in the WD-40 for an hour or so, maybe even spray them again and leave them for another hour before you get started. It will loosen up the bolts that have been rusting for decades, which will mean an easier demolition job for you.
“Fake news folks.” — This vintage ad circulated the internet in 2014 claiming to be one of the original advertisements for WD-40. When it was posted on WD-40’s Facebook fan page, the company responded with “AWESOME”. Click the image to see the full ad.
While the Rust Doctor does its work, start removing any accessories, like swings, slides, trapezes, and gliders. There can be any number of add ons, you probably have at least two slides and half of dozen other attachments. Set these aside and out of your way, because only a fool would leave them lying around to trip over.
Next, you can choose one of two paths. Either get a buddy to help you lay the frame on its side or start removing the bolts that hold the frame together. Tipping the frame onto the ground will help you dismantle the rest of it. The rusted bolts are going to require some serious muscle and it will be easier to deal with if you don’t have to balance on a ladder.
Either way, by now the Rust Doctor will have done the best it can and you can use your wrench set to start removing bolts. If they won’t budge then it's time to get out your reciprocating saw or angle grinder and cut right through the bolts.
When you’ve finished dismantling the frame, grab all the plastic pieces and toss them in your blue bin. That should leave you with only metal scrapes, the pieces of your defeated foe can be sold for cash at the scrap yard or you could haul them off to a recycling center.
The entire siege shouldn’t take you more than a couple of hours and a few beers.
Celebrate your victory with a turf ‘n turf dinner, that's a 16 ounce T-bone and 24 Porterhouse. Also, whiskey and a cigar. Enjoy it, you’ve earned it.
Demolition day is a necessary evil, like flossing. But it has to be done or that playhouse bacteria will rot away forever in your yard. Just remember that although riding a bike with a helmet on is silly, being cautious while destroying a three hundred pound elf house is not. Watch out for splinters, sharp edges, burning cookies, and collapsing structures.
Of course, we have a lot of experience dealing with unwanted playsets, so dismantling one is routine for us.
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If you feel like you might want to just take a pass on the whole demolition job thing, you can give us a call.
If a part of you still wants to take part in the day, then you can watch from your lawn chair while enjoying an ice cold beer. You can even give us an encouraging shout every now and then. It will be a whole lot easier and a lot more entertaining.
Other Things to Do with an Old Swing Set
If you're very sentimentally attached to your swing, it might be easiest to donate it; knowing that other kids will play and love it as you did will help you to let go. There are several non-profit organizations who would be grateful to take it off your hands. Start with charities or churches. Both of which will make great use of your donation. You can also contact day care centers, women’s shelters, neighborhood parks, or schools. With a little time and patience, you are sure to find someone to love your old swing set.
Along the same lines, you can find a family to give it to. Maybe your niece or a godson has young children. Perhaps even your neighbor. Chances are you probably know someone who has little kids who would love a new swing set.
If you're not sentimental just penny-wise, then selling might be your first choice. You can polish up the swing set and put it in a yard sale or post it on Craigslist, Facebook or eBay. There's a decent chance you'll get some takers, but this type of thing is a little hit or miss. Getting a complex contraption via online from a stranger isn’t everyone's cup of tea. But it doesn't cost you much time or effort to roll the dice on it anyway.
A fresh coat of paint can go a long way in revamping an eyesore into a play yard feature. Some white paint with pink accents can turn an old playset into a baby girl's dream house, while a few well place nautical additions can turn it into a pirate ship. A little creativity and some hard work will make your set like new again. Transforming it in the eye of your kids into a new wonderland to explore.
With a bit of creativity, you can come up with a lot of new things to make out of an old swing set.
Image by GoodHomeDesign.com click image to see more on this DIY Project
Even though chickens are the modern-day equivalent to dinosaurs, with their dragon feet, dirty feathers, and grotesque facial features, a lot of people like having them around. You can add a little wire to an old swing set frame, and you have an instant chicken coup, fresh eggs included. Why anyone would want to eat something that came out of an animals butt is beyond me, but to each there own.
Click on the image to see more ideas on Pinterest for creating your own green playset.
A better choice is to plant some grape vines, or honeysuckle and turn your swing set into an arbor. You can create a sitting area underneath or even plant a small garden.
A little more creativity can turn an old swing set into a relaxing garden with the old slide being repurposed into a stunning water feature.
Maybe your kids are the sentimental ones, and they can't bear to let it go if that's the case you can convert it into an outdoor hangout or homework area. Add some seating and lights, a few tables and maybe a cooler, to keep snacks in, and your kids can spend time outdoors while finishing up their school work.
Another simple upgrade is to remove the child swings and replace them with hammocks or a beautiful wooden porch swing.