These days it is not uncommon to see play equipment adorning the gardens of families up and down the country. Climbing frames, swing sets and other apparatus once reserved for the local park has now become accessible to the everyday household. With the pressures of modern life, this is a great thing for parents who might not always have the time to take their children to the park but appreciate the necessity of outdoor play for their child’s development.
Wood is a popular choice for play equipment due to its durability and aesthetic appeal.
Hardwood, categorised by Diffen as the wood that comes from angiosperm (or flowering plants), is generally thought to be a good choice for outdoor play equipment such as wooden climbing frames but it can be beyond the budget of many families. Softwood, from trees such as a cedar, pine and yew, tend to be more affordable. But which is the best choice for your home play area?
Cedar generally tends to appear at the premium end of the softwood market but you’ll benefit from its many properties. Packed with natural oils that can prevent insect damage and encourage preservation, the average lifespan of cedar products that are well maintained is at least 25 years. Cedar is strong and resilient but also gentle. It will hold its shape throughout the years and has good insulation properties. It also won’t crack or split and will remain cool even on hot days, which is good when small children will be using it.
Pine is similar to cedar in many ways but the fact that it is more cost effective will understandably mean that there will be a few discrepancies with its quality. Although still a strong and hard wearing wood, pine is more prone to cracking and splitting than cedar. Providing that care is taken to remove any sharp edges that this can create, pine is still a safe option for wooden play equipment (http://www.niclimbingframes.com/climbing-frames), and is usually widely available.
One thing consumers should be aware of before purchasing pine play equipment is that is must be treated in order to ensure longevity. If it isn’t treated, pine can warp and is unlikely to remain in good condition for any longer than 3 – 4 years.