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I Just Bought A Wooden Swing Set Over the Internet - Now What?

by Jay Samolowicz

I Just Bought A Wooden Swing Set Over the Internet - Now What?

I haven't heard one mom or dad tell me that purchasing a swing set was an easy decision - so let me first congratulate 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?

Short Answer - Most sets can be delivered in 7-20 business days. During the spring months, the lead times will most likely float towards the longer end of this.

Long Answer -  Due to the size of the sets (anywhere from 500 to 2000+ pounds) your swing set will usually ship in 5-10 business days after your purchase. During the busy season (March-July) the sets may not ship for 7-14 business days after your purchase. Once the swing set is out for delivery, it is generally 2-6 business days to your door, depending on how far you are located from Georgia or NJ (where the sets currently ship from)

If you are reading this between the months of March through July, then we suggest calling us to confirm how long before a set ships out. The spring is the busiest time of year, and often times a set can take 2-4 weeks before it ships. We try to update our lead times on our website, but this can be a difficult task as it varies by set and by day.

We often get calls from parents looking to get a set 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 a delivery date as freight delivery is out of our control once shipped.

WILL I GET A TRACKING NUMBER?

Yes! As soon as your set ships, your order will be updated with a tracking number. Since your set is shipping via LTL freight, please give it 24-48 hours to register into the system. Sometimes we are given a tracking number before you can actually start tracking your set.

HOW ARE THE SETS DELIVERED?

All swing sets are delivered via freight company, LTL freight (less than truckload). The freight company generally will call a day in advance to schedule a delivery window. Once the truck has arrived at your home, the swing set is unloaded at your curb.

DO I NEED TO BE PRESENT FOR THE DELIVERY?

Absolutely yes. The freight company is only responsible for curbside delivery. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you have two able bodied people to help with delivery. This will ensure you can move the set to a proper holding destination before it is installed.

In some cases, the freight company may assist in bringing the set to your garage or backyard if asked, however we cannot guarantee this. The freight company is not obligated to do so, either.

If you are storing the set and waiting for an installer to arrive, it is recommended that you place the swingset near the spot you wish to install the set OR in a covered location shielded from the elements. If the boxes are exposed to excess water, the may collapse when trying to transport them to the desired location.

Some installers may charge an extra fee if the boxes need to be moved a long distance to the area of installation.

HOW DO I MAKE SURE EVERYTHING HAS BEEN DELIVERED?

All boxes will be numbered. Please check to see that all boxes are present (ie: 1 of 5, 2 of 5, 3 of 5, 4 of 5 and 5 of 5)

DO I NEED TO OPEN THE BOXES AND TAKE INVENTORY OF ALL THE PIECES?

YES! It may seem ridiculous, but to save much time and headache when the installation takes place, you must open all boxes and make sure all pieces, parts and hardware are present. The manufacturer will send any missing or damaged pieces/parts/hardware for free within the first 30 days of your purchase. After 30 days, a shipping charge will be added if missing  pieces/parts/hardware are reported.

A common problem is that people do not take full inventory of the set when they first receive it. An installer will arrive to find missing/damaged  pieces/parts/hardware. In the hopes of saving time and money, your installer may make or purchase the missing pieces/parts/hardware in order to complete the installation and not charge to come back.

In cases like this, any extra pieces/parts/hardware purchased by the customer or installer will NOT be reimbursed.

WHAT IF SOMETHING IS MISSING FROM THE DELIVERY?

If something is missing from the delivery, immediately call us at 1-201-670-4000 so we can correct the issue and reschedule an install date (if one was made.) 

WHAT IF SOMETHING IS MISSING FROM THE DELIVERY, BUT I DO NOT NOTICE?

In the case of missing hardware, an installer may be able to replace during the install.

Otherwise, a tally of the missing pieces/parts/hardware must be sent to us OR the manufacturer. The manufacturer will send any missing pieces/parts/hardware. During the busy season, this may take several weeks.  No reimbursements will  be given for replacements of missing pieces/parts/hardware or additional labor fees due to missing pieces/parts/hardware.

If boxes are missing from the delivery and an installer finds this at your home, you will be charged a minimum of $50 for the installers time, since he must return to complete the install after the missing part(s) have been delivered.

WILL YOU REIMBURSE ME FOR MISSING HARDWARE, PARTS OR PIECES AFTER THE SWINGSET IS DELIVERED?

In many cases people find that pieces/parts/hardware are missing or damaged upon opening. Unfortunately the only thing we can do is contact the manufacturer to send those missing pieces. Sometimes this can take weeks during the busy season.

A full inventory must be taken within 30 days of your purchase. Any found missing  pieces/parts/hardware will be replaced by the manufacturer. Any parts found after 30 days will be replaced for free, but shipping charges will apply.

Any replacement pieces/parts/hardware purchased by the customer or installer to complete an installation before the missing pieces/parts/hardware replacements are delivered  will not  be reimbursed by us or the manufacturer.

WHAT IF MY DELIVERY IS DELAYED?

If your delivery is delayed and you HAVE set an install date with NJ Swingsets, please call 1-201-670-4000 immediately to inform us and reschedule a delivery date. If your delivery is delayed and you HAVE NOT set an install date with NJ Swingsets, then, unfortunately, all you can do is wait.

Installation

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

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 your installer 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 your installer.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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 levelled. 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 - good to doublecheck this before  purchasing.

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

    HOW DO I COORDINATE INSTALLATION WITH NJ SWINGSETS?

    If you are purchasing an install through NJ Swingsets and are NOT located in NY/NJ, please contact NJ Swingsets before placing your order. 

    Once a delivery time is confirmed with the freight company, please call NJ Swingsets at 1-201-670-4000 to set up an install date.

    HOW LONG AFTER DELIVERY CAN YOU INSTALL MY SWING SET?

    In most cases, an install can be arranged between 1-5 business days of your delivery.

    Please keep in mind that the months of December, March, April, May, June and July are the busiest times of the year for playset installations. Installs may or may not be accommodated in 1-5 business days during these months. Please check with NJ Swingsets before coordinating an install.

    HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO INSTALL A SWING SET?

    Please view your respective swing set product page to see general install times.

    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.

    Generally, if you are working with inexperienced installers, or you are working alone, then double the install time listed on your product page.

    WHERE SHOULD THE PLAYSET BE IF I HAVE HIRED AN INSTALLER?

    If you are hiring an installer, to avoid further installation fees, it is recommended that you have the set in or near the installation area before the installer arrives at your home. 

    Common Problems

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

    We've found the biggest issues are these:

    1. The set is taking longer than expected to arrive. Oh no! We know you are in a rush. However, unfortunately freight shipment don't work like Amazon Prime just yet. Freight, or LTL (less than truckload) shipments, generally take 2-7 business days to arrive once shipped. Many times in remote areas it will be longer. Also, during the busy season, manufacturer and dealers get bogged down due to so many swing set shipments. There are only so many sets that can be shipped each day due to truck storing and LTL schedules. If your set has shipped and it has been more than 7 business days, please give us a call so we can track down your shipment.

    2. The driver doesn't arrive within the window specified within your phone call. This happens sometimes. Keep your carriers phone number handy in case of any issues.

    3. The driver has a hard time unloading the set. With large, heavy swingsets, many of these are difficult to get off the loading dock. Less experienced drivers will have a hard time and may ask for your help. You certainly are not required to help with this. The driver is responsible for safely getting your swingset to your curb - and to your curb ONLY. The rest is up to you.

    4. The boxes are crushed/shipment is damaged. Please inspect all boxes. It possible that boxes may be somewhat crushed without damage to the swing set. If boxes are very damaged, accept the delivery but have the driver make notes. Call NJ Swingsets (or manufacturer) immediately to see about replacement parts.

    5. My installer can't come for a month.It gets crazy busy during the swing set season! Any installer or local swing set dealer worth his salt will be backed up 2-4 weeks (or more) during spring months. It is best to plan ahead as best as you can!

    6. I can't find an installer! Check out our preferred list of installers here:  http://njswingsets.com/pages/nationwide-swingset-installation

    If you are unable to find an installer on our website, check here:  http://www.gorillaplaysets.com/Articles.asp?ID=268

    Common Warranty Questions

    We are installing our swingset and realize that we have missing or damaged parts. What do we do?

    It is highly recommended that you take inventory of each piece of your swingset BEFORE your installer arrives. Neither NJ Swingsets nor the manufacturer of your swingset is responsible for installation costs or travel due to missing or broken pieces.

    In the case of missing pieces or parts, please send an EXACT list of parts and part numbers to your swing set manufacturer. They will log your request and ship out your missing or damaged pieces as soon as possible. During the busy season, please expect 2-4 weeks for this.

    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.

    Other than missing or damaged pieces received upon shipment of your playset, this means that, if determined you have a defective part during the lifetime of your warranty, your part will be replaced for free. However, customer must pay shipping on said piece. Any additional installation costs are not covered under warranty either.

    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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