The time has come to build a play structure for my kids: something with a slide, a few swings, maybe a climbing wall. I’m a competent carpenter, but I don’t know what the pros and cons are of the various wood options. I’m inclined to avoid pressure treated lumber, even ACQ, just on general principles. Other options include redwood, cedar, painted pine, or a newer option, glass-infused lumber which intrigues me greatly, but the nearest dealer is over 100 miles away. Any thoughts or advice from the teeming millions?
The pre-fab play structures (like the one I’ve got for the chillins) are Cedar. It’s naturally pest-resistant, and I think mildew-resistant as well. It’s about a year old now and looks pretty much as good as the day(s) I built it.
Yellow cedar, I’m guessing?
(The red cedar playground gear I remember was naturally kid-resistant, too. :D)
Red cedar, I think. I tried to find it on-line but can’t. The wood is red-ish, not yellowish (and there you have the extent of my wood-recognition skills).
Red or white cedar is generaly one of the better woods for outdoor projects. The heart wood is alot more rot resistant then the sapwood. Thus most the heartwood is milled into decking. It can be a pain to find good cedar for dimensional projects. Check on the prices in ML it may be expensive. West coast people get it alot cheaper.
PT is going to be your cheapest option. I understand not wanting to use it.
Green(not totaly dried) red oak was used for ships and such because it’s water resistance
If you want to get really exotic you could do ipe or mohogany. Either will outlast your life outside
Redwood is relatively cheap, easy to work, and water resistant. It’s generally used for decks and hot tubs, so it can withstand years of weather with minimal warping and rotting.
Or you could try lignum vitae for the most expensive, hardest to make, coolest looking, most waterproof play structure ever.
Redwood splinters are more irritating than other types of commonly used wood so care should be given to the finish. It’s not a deal breaker but it should be addressed.
I’d look into using some of the new composite woods that are comming out for decks. whatever you do, anchor the snot out of it so it doesn’t tip and wack someone in the head. Happened to a neighbor of mine and the end result was brain damage to a little girl.