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I Just Bought A Wooden Swing Set At Your Local Store - Now What?

by Jay Samolowicz

I Just Bought A Wooden Swing Set At Your Local Store - Now What?

Congratulations you on your new purchase! You are about to make some amazing childhood memories!

Now that you've made your decision, here are some of the key questions parents have.

Let get started.

Delivery

HOW LONG WILL MY SET TAKE TO BE DELIVERED?

If you purchased your set through us and are local, 95% of the time our installers will be showing up with your set. In other cases, our installer may drop your set off and return a day or two later. Most sets can be installed in 3-20 business days from the day of purchase. During the spring and early summer months, the lead times will most likely float towards the longer end of this.

Customized sets or out of stock may take longer. Please confirm with your sales person.

There are rare circumstances where sets will go out of stock AFTER an order is placed. We try to avoid these situations at all costs, however it does happen. We will contact you as soon as we are notified and will work with you on a new delivery and install date.

We often get inquiries from parents looking to get a set delivered and installed by a certain date, for a party or before a big event. We will do our absolute best to get you that set before a certain date, but cannot guarantee this (no matter what your salesperson says) due to weather. If it rains on or before your install day, it may push our entire schedule back.

WILL I GET A TRACKING NUMBER?

You will not. Your set is either in our warehouse or on the next truck to our warehouse. In most cases, we will set a tentative install date when you purchase your set. We will do everything in our power to do your install on this date, however we cannot guarantee we will be able to stick to it. We will notify you in advance if your install date changes. Please be prepared to adjust if so.

It is recommended that you check in with us a few days before your install to confirm.

HOW ARE THE SETS DELIVERED?

95% of the time your set will be delivered by our installers on the day of your install. 4 percent of the time our installers will drop the set off a day or two in advance of your install. The other 1% of the time we may have to have your set delivered directly to your house via freight company.

DO I NEED TO BE PRESENT FOR THE DELIVERY?

Absolutely yes, but you do not need to be present for the entire install.

It is highly recommend you meet your installer(s) to go over placement of your swing set. 

If you know you cannot or will not be present, please leave markers and/or detailed instructions with us beforehand.

HOW DO I MAKE SURE EVERYTHING HAS BEEN DELIVERED?

Our installers will take care of that.

In the case of missing hardware, 95% of the time our installers will have replacement hardware.

In the case of missing pieces, 90% of the time we will have or can make replacement pieces at the time of your install.

The other 10% of the time, we may have to return with replacement pieces to complete your install. We try never to make this an option, however please be aware that this may sometimes happen.

Installation

DO I HAVE TO DO ANYTHING TO MY YARD BEFORE INSTALLING THE SWINGSET?

You will have hopefully discussed all of this before your purchase. However, you need to make sure of 3 things. If any of these three things are not taken care of before installers arrive, you may be charged extra.

  • You have the proper amount of space for your swing set. It is recommended that you have 6 feet of clear space around your swingset after it is fully assembled. That means - if you have a swingset with a footprint of 20x15 feet, it should have an area of 32 x 27 feet prepared.
  • Your play area is level. If your play area is not near perfectly level, please contact us to discuss whether or not the install can level the set, or you must have the site professionally graded. Our installers (generally) will not level a set with more than a 4 inch grade of the length and width of the swing set area. So, if your swing set is 20 feet wide, the left side should not be more than 4 inches higher or lower than the right side. If you have any doubts, contact us immediately.
  • There are no obstructions in or near the play area. Common obstructions can include sprinklers, roots, rocks, septic tanks and anything else that can affect a safe installation and safe play in your swing set area. We cannot move these, and if they impede the install, you may be charged extra.
  • Always refer to your installation manual for the latest information for your particular swing set.

DO I NEED A MULCH PIT OR TO PREP THE YARD OTHER THAN WHAT IS SUGGESTED ABOVE?

We install 95% of our swingsets on grass or dirt. Another 3% are installed in old mulch pits where a previous swing set existed. The last 2% are installed on new mulch pits.

If you would like a mulch pit, we would recommend installing your swing set FIRST, and then installing a mulch pit after.

We do offer mulch pit installations. Please inquire with us.

I WANT A MULCH PIT, OR PIT OF SOME SORT FOR MY SWINGSET. WHAT IS YOUR OPINION OF THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF PITS?

We'll have to dedicate another blog post to this but here are some quick suggestions:

If your yard is very unlevel, have it professionally graded by a landscaper. It is safer to do this then to try to have your set leveled. When grading, discuss your pit options with your landscaper.

Put in your set first then decide after if you want to do a mulch pit. Most of the time grass with some rubber safety mats is more than enough.

Rubber Mulch Pits - The nicest but most expensive option. Rubber mulch pits start around $3,000 installed and go up depending on the size of your set and the depth of the rubber mulch. Minimum recommend is 4 inches deep. The rubber mulch we use is toxin safe and safe for children.

Playground Mulch Pits - Great, less expensive than rubber mulch pits. A little bit dirtier and muddier. You'll need more playground mulch (8 inches or so) for a normal swingset. You will also need to refill more often than rubber mulch.

Pea Gravel - This is fine. Most of the playgrounds I played on as a kid used pea gravel. I am still here :-D

Other Fillers - There are many. Please inquire with us.

    HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO INSTALL A SWING SET?

    Please view your respective swing set product page to see general install times. Your salesperson will know approximate install times for your particular swing set.

    Install time may vary. Most installs can be completed for small to medium sized sets by professional installers in 1 day. Larger sets can be done by professional installers in 2-3 days.

    Common Problems

    What are the most common problems people run into when ordering a swing set from us?

    We've found the biggest issues are these:

    1. Your install date must be pushed back. Far and away the biggest issue we struggle with is installing your swingset in a timely manner. It is very hard to predict how busy we will be during the season, and very hard to predict weather and a host of other issues that pop up.

    We've all had the experience where our cable guy has an appointment window to install a new cable box. We take a half day off work and stay home to meet them, but they show up hours late or the next day.

    While we REALLY try to avoid this, (WE hate it as much as you do, and inconveniencing the customer is NOT why we are here) but at times it is unavoidable.

    We try to inform customers as much ahead of time as possible of a rescheduling, however at times it may happen the morning of. Believe me, we try EVERYTHING to avoid this, but please be aware that it does happen.

    Let me try to explain a few things that we experience on our end. These are over simplifications.

    • Weather - Let's say we go into a week with 3 installers who are scheduled to install 5 sets each per week. That is 15 installs. It rains for a half day Monday. 1 installer completes their install of a small set, 1 installer finishes half a set, the other installer finishes a half set. We must then push two of our Tuesday installs to Wednesday, Wednesday to Thursday and so on. You get the idea. To get around this, we try to leave 1 day a week open for fixes, repairs and rain checks, however we still run into scheduling issues. One common scheduling issue is a customer is available Tuesday, but not Wednesday.
    • Installer illness or personal issue - It happens, and its the same story as above. We have to rearrange the entire schedule on the fly.
    • An install Monday is an hour away and has missing or broken pieces -Most times our installers have equipment to make replacement parts or pieces. In some cases, however, the installer must pick up the missing pieces back at the warehouse and return to resume the install. When this happens we may get behind a half day to a full day. If this happens with multiple installs, it makes scheduling more difficult.

    These are just a few of the myriad of problems we experience. We do our absolute best to accommodate you. Our intention is to serve you with best intentions in the best possible way. However, as much as we try to avoid them, and as much as we try to make things go smoothly, we do run into issues. Please be patient with us, we are doing our best!

    Common Warranty Questions

    Some of the pieces of wood are cracked. What do we do?

    As your swing set acclimates to its new environment within the first 30-60 days after installation, natural characteristics of the wood can show in the form of checks, or “cracks” in the lumber. Once acclimated, these checks usually don't continue to increase in size. This is how the lumber breathes. In almost all cases this is normal and it will not affect the structural integrity of your play set and is not covered under warranty. 

    A general rule of thumb is that a quarter will fit halfway through a structural crack. If this is the case, please send a picture to us so we can determine whether or not this is a crack or a surface check.

    Keep an eye on any checks and report them if they appear to get worse.

    Some of the stain is faded on certain pieces of the wood. What do we do?

    Light fading of stain on a few of your swingset pieces is normal. Please send pictures of the pieces in question. In certain cases we may be able to send a sample of stain to help.  Such imperfections that do not result in structural failure are not covered under warranty.

    Some of the pieces of wood are peeling. What do we do?

    Peeling is a natural characteristic of weathering and nature and is not covered under warranty. We suggest sanding and staining pieces of wood that are peeling.  Such imperfections that do not result in structural failure are not covered under warranty.

    Some of the wood pieces have knots. What do we do?

    Knotholes and knots and other similar imperfections are a natural characteristic of lumber. Such imperfections that do not result in structural failure are not covered under warranty.

    What else do I need to know about my warranty?

    Your warranty includes all wooden components against structural failure due to corrosion, wood rot or insect damage.

    It must be stated again that peeling, splintering, seasonal checks, surface cracks, knotholes and knots caused by weather or nature are natural characteristic of wooden play equipment. Such imperfections that do not result in structural failure are not covered under this warranty.

    The manufacturer reserves the right to examine photographs and/or physical evidence of merchandise claimed to be defective.

    No warranty is offered on equipment subjected to abuse, negligence, improper installation, vandalism, acts of god, unauthorized alteration or attachment to equipment other original, or improper use, service or repair by customer or any third party. 

    Shipping must be paid by customer on all warranty replacement items if NOT going through us us for the replacement piece.

    If determined you have a defective part during the lifetime of your warranty, your part will be replaced and installed for free by us. If the replacement piece is ordered though the manufacturer, however, the customer must pay shipping on that piece. 

    Your Warranty ONLY COVERS RESIDENTIAL USAGE of your wooden swingset.

    Unless the product you are purchasing is specifically built for commercial use, your warranty will be void if used in a non-residential setting such as schools, churches, apartment complexes or use as a community swing set.

    Always refer to your installation manual for the latest maintenance and warranty information for your particular swing set.

    Common Swingset Maintenance Questions

    How do I maintain my wooden swing set?

    Within 60 days:

    Check and tighten hex bolts/t-nuts, carriage bolts/lock -nuts, and lag bolts/screws. Do this twice annually from that point, once before each season and once during the season.

    Within 90 days:

    Apply a clear, water based sealant within the first 90 days of owning the swing set. If applicable state laws allow, an oil based product will penetrate and protect the lumber better than a water-based product. Because climate conditions can vary drastically from region to region, we suggest asking the product covering specialists at any number of specialty paint stores or home improvement centers for a product that would work best for your local environment. Do this each year after.

    Seasonal Reminders:

    If your area experiences regular snowfall, remove your fabric tarp/canopy to avoid stretching, sagging or tearing of the material. Store it inside, folded up, and it will be as good as new when winter is over. If your area experiences extremely cold temperatures, remove swing belts and other pliable features to prolong the lifespan of these play activities.

    Each Year:

    Apply a clear, water based sealant. If applicable state laws allow, an oil based product will penetrate and protect the lumber better than a water-based product. Because climate conditions can vary drastically from region to region, we suggest asking the product covering specialists at any number of specialty paint stores or home improvement centers for a product that would work best for your local environment.

    Every 2-5 years

    Since the factory stain will fade with time, weather and usage, we recommend using a stain/sealant combo on your playset every 2-5 years depending on your climate. This will keep your set looking like new. Keep in mind some light sanding and/or power washing may be necessary before doing so.

    Because climate conditions can vary drastically from region to region, we suggest asking the product covering specialists at any number of specialty paint stores or home improvement centers for a product that would work best for your local environment.

    ** TIP – while the set is new, take a small board from your swing set to the store with you so they can color match the tint of the stain or sealant. Be sure to replace the board when you get home.

    Other Maintenance Tips

    Spray swing hangers with Pam, Mazola or olive oil to stop squeaking; do not use petroleum based products such as WD-40 or motor oil.

    To repel yellow jackets and wasps, use a cotton ball and dab interior wooden corners underneath the play set deck with a liquid dish soap. Avoid using insecticides.

    To speed up the slide wipe the center of slide with wax paper every 2 - 3 weeks.

    For additional safety and maintenance guidelines, please visit your manufacturer's website. Always refer to your installation manual for the latest maintenance and warranty information for your particular swing set.

    Jay Samolowicz
    Jay Samolowicz

    Jay is the owner of NJ Swingsets.


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