Swing sets have been a favorite feature of outdoor play environments for generations. In fact, it’s not an overstatement to say that it’s practically impossible to visualize a proper playground facility that doesn’t have a swing set. What’s so great about swinging? It’s really a beautiful combination of leg exercise, gravity, and physics, and it’s just plain fun for children of all ages (not to mention adults!). And if play swings and swing sets are a part of your commercial playground facility, then it’s also important to provide regular ongoing maintenance for your swings – for the sake of safety, as well as for the longevity of your equipment.
Which types of swing sets do you have on your playground? When it comes to commercial swing set designs, there are really quite a few options:
Much like they sound, this type of swing set configuration features large tubular arches on either end of the structure. The arch is one of the strongest construction designs for strength and stability, so this swing set support structure is well-engineered to stay in place.
These commercial swing sets are much sturdier than anything you’ll find in a backyard swing set. They typically feature a thick (3.5” or 5”), powder-coated, galvanized steel rail. They also include an extra support leg for better stability and durability.
There are many traditional swing products available, which also take advantage of more modern design and swing materials. These swings feature a sturdy tripod design, slash-proof belt seats, and galvanized steel upright posts in the range of 2-3/8” in diameter.
This is a more streamlined (and economical) option of swing set, which is typically built on a frame of just one post and two support legs. These are a good choice if there’s a premium of available space in your playground.
Swing-along swings go by a number of names and brand labels, but they work exactly the way they sound. They allow parents or adult caregivers to get in on the swinging action with their children through a specially-designed, two-seat tandem swing design. The adult helps to control the motion, while the child has the opportunity to simply enjoy the ride.
Tire swings promote cooperation, encourage socialization, and are just a lot of fun. They can be pushed or pulled in essentially any direction, and will accommodate up to three children per tire for more interactive play. Tire swings are typically fortified by a heavy-duty galvanized chain.
Disc swings are suitable for kids 5 and up, and offer collaborative fun for up to four riders. The disc itself is made of UV-stabilized rotomolded plastic, and usually comes with a soft rubber safety bumper on the side. This freestanding swing is expandable, and can be mixed & matched with other swing options.
Toddler T-swings are specially designed for younger children, also including some added necessary safety features. Having some T-swings on site will give your littlest ones the opportunity to experience the joy that only comes from swinging!
Apart from knowing the particulars of which types of swing set designs you have in place at your playground facility, you also need to have a clear understanding of which swing set hardware components you should check on a regular basis. Here are some of the most common hardware components used with swing sets:
In most cases, some sort of chain design is used to link each individual swing seat to the swing set structure. These chains are usually either comprised of galvanized or zinc-coated steel, and can also include a protective plastic/rubber coating. These need to be inspected on a regular basis, and any individual links will need to be replaced if they show any obvious link-to-link wear.
Hangers are the hardware which attaches the swing chains to the top rail of the swing set. These may be welded, or they can also be designed as detachable components. These should periodically be checked for component soundness and integrity.
S-hooks are often used to link the chain to the top hangers, as well as to the swing seats themselves. Check to see that each S-hook is fully closed, with no obvious gaps. Sometimes shackles are used instead of S-hooks for the swing seat connections, as these make for easier seat attachment. Since both S-hooks and shackles are moving parts, they should be examined for any signs of excessive wear, and replaced as needed.
Whenever it’s time to inspect and maintain your swing set – along with the rest of your playground environment – it’s important to understand what you should really be looking for. Here’s a handy checklist of items to which you should always pay particular attention:
Visible swing seat damage is one of the easiest things to spot, and a broken swing seat always requires prompt replacement. Any rips or tears in a fabric or rubber swing seat means its integrity is compromised; the same is true for any plastic or wooden swing seat that’s cracked or broken. Remove any damaged or broken swing seats immediately, and leave those spaces open until you have a replacement seat ready for installation.
If you have wooden swing seats, cracks aren’t the only thing to look for. It’s also important to check the finish of the wood, and make sure no splinters have developed. While you’re at it, check any other wooden features you may have on your playground. Sand and refinish any areas which are displaying any splinters. Check any metal features for rust, too. If you find any surface rust, those areas will also need to be sanded and refinished.
Sharp edges or other protruding points are other issues you’ll want to identify on your swing sets and other playground features. Sharp edges and protrusions are hazardous in any play environment, and these are issues that need to be corrected immediately.
We already mentioned swing chains, hangers, S-hooks, and shackles above. In addition to checking the condition of these items, you’ll also want to ensure that any bolts or welding are snug and secure. If you notice any hardware to be missing or damaged, you’ll want to replace those items at once. Also, make sure that each swing set (and every other play feature) is still properly anchored to the ground, without any amount of wiggle or give.
It’s also important to ensure that each swing is installed according to the manufacturer’s specifications. Seats shouldn’t be facing the wrong way, and no other changes or modifications should be made. Also, make sure that no swing chains are wrapped around the rails; each swing is meant to hang freely, and that’s how they’re designed to operate.
Whenever doing any inspection or maintenance of your swing set, it’s also a good idea to do a quick survey of the area around your swing set. If you notice any trash or fallen debris lying around, take the time to pick it up and dispose of it properly. Not only does this serve to improve the appearance of your playground for visitors, but it also serves the safety function of removing possible trip hazards for children.
No playground inspection is complete without also checking the condition and depth of your safety surfacing. How deep your safety surfacing needs to be will depend upon the type of material you have in place (e.g. PIP, bonded rubber, shredded rubber, rubber tile, synthetic turf, loose-fill engineered wood fiber). Any loose-fill surfacing should be raked and fluffed on a regular basis, in order to help reduce compaction and attrition.
Thanks to our partnerships with preferred U.S. manufacturers of commercial playground equipment, Carolina Recreation & Design can provide you with your perfect commercial swing set solution for any specific age or ability level. We also install everything we sell, and we also provide site design, site preparation, safety surfacing, fabric shades, seating areas, other outdoor structures, and any needed site amenities or furnishings.
At Carolina Recreation & Design, we don’t just sell play products; we provide complete outdoor site solutions. We’re happy to partner with schools, preschools, daycares, churches & faith centers, hospitals, parks, community centers, HOAs, municipalities, and more.
Got some questions? Ready to get started? You can reach out to us by filling out this simple form, or you can also just give us a call at (704) 664-1833! Carolina Recreation & Design has all your commercial swing set and playground needs covered!
Carolina Recreation & Design is a full-service general contracting company offering turnkey installation of recreational products for parks, schools, churches, clubs, daycares and amusement parks. We offer premium-quality commercial products that are safe, fun, and built to last.