How to Build A Swing Set in 6 Hours


August, 2018

Here at J-Tech, we love seeing how our profession can change daily life for families. By improving windows, roofs, and much more, we’re able to take the work off the hands of homeowners so they have more time to do what they enjoy. However, that doesn’t mean as a homeowner you don’t want to get your hands a little dirty, too. We’ve walked you through how to build a fire pit and a backyard shed, and now, we’re here to help walk you through how to build something just for the kiddos. Grab some lunch then roll your sleeves up, as we predict you’ll need about half a day to build your kids the castle of their dreams.

a loving father cutting wood for a swing set he's building

Hour One

Spend the first hour gathering everything you’ll need. For the specific hardware, you can opt to either purchase a specific swing set kit to help make the process more efficient (which we recommend), or you can choose to simply use galvanized bolts, washers, and nuts (you can find a DIY example of this type of swing set here.) For this walkthrough, we’ll be showing you how to build a swing set with the purchase of the swing set kit (that will come with swings, a slide, swing-hangers, and every other tool or accessory you’ll need specifically.)

Here’s a list of materials you’ll need to pick up outside of the swing set materials:

  • 7 – 4 x 4 x 8 ft Pressure-treated lumber
  • 2 – 4 x 4 x 10 ft Pressure-treated lumber
  • 2 – 4 x 4 x 12 ft Pressure-treated lumber
  • 5 – 2 x 4 x 10 ft Pressure-treated lumber
  • 8 – 2 x 6 x 10 ft Pressure-treated lumber
  • 10 – 2 x 6 x 12 ft Pressure-treated lumber
  • 6 – 5/4 x 6 x 8 ft Pressure-treated lumber
  • 1 – 4 x 6 x 8 ft Pressure-treated lumber
  • 1 – 4 x 6 x 12 ft Pressure-treated lumber
  • 3 – 1 x 4 x 8 ft Pressure-treated lumber
  • 1 -inch decking screws

For a more efficient experience, order your materials online at your local home improvement store and pick them up when you’re ready. That will save you time and frustration in the long run.

Hour Two

Cut as many pieces of the swing set parts in your garage or driveway as possible right away. This will come in handy when it’s time to put all of the parts together. Drill holes for lag screws and bolts wherever possible, and test-fit subassemblies. Once this is done, carry them to the swing set location and begin to build the fort.

a dad working on the structure of a swing set

Hour Three

Building an elevated fort won’t take too much time, but might require a few extra hands. Take four of your 4x4 posts, two 2x4 tarp boards, and two 2x6 sandbox boards and fasten them together into subassemblies (each of these will consist of a sandbox board, a pair of posts, and a tarp board.) Once secured, stand the subassemblies up and brace them in position. Between each pair of posts, lay a horizontal 4x4 deck support. With the holes that you drilled earlier, level the deck support and clamp in position.

Using the bolt holes in the support, mark the position of the holes in the posts. This will allow you to remove support, drill the holes through the posts, and bolt the deck supports in place.

Hour Four

Take a small break, and celebrate that you’re more than halfway done with your swing set already!

Stand the canopy posts up. Drill your bolt holes through the deck supports as well as the posts. Install the bolts but just loosely for now. Between the canopy posts, span a 2x4 brace across the tops and lag-screw it to the post ends. Stand the canopy posts up and make sure their level and flush. Finally, tighten the nuts on the bolts. With your near-finished fort, lay the deck boards to the deck supports and fasten tightly.

Hour Five

Using your specific plans instructions, build the ladder. This shouldn’t take more than ten minutes if the wood has already been measured and cut from earlier. Install and bolt the ladder to the finished fort.

After you fasten together the six swing hangers to the swing beam, join together the two legs using the leg bracket. Once you have the swing beam, mount the support on the fort, and screw the swing beam bracket in tightly. With the legs upright and in position, fasten the swing beam to the leg bracket and to the support bracket.

Hour Six

Spend this hour making finishing touches. Adding sand underneath the fort is a popular choice, but many parents opt to keep grass or add rock. Now, time to play!

While you’re finishing this DIY project, let us help with your exterior needs. Together, we can help complete your projects right now so you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your home tomorrow.

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