Treated lumber for wood swing set??? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 04-06-2008, 11:14 AM - Thread Starter
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We want to put up a wooden play structure in our backyard this year. We are looking at the Playstar systems sold at Lowe's or Menards.

I read that pressure treated lumber is no longer allowed to contain arsenic. Does anyone know if this is the only issue with the pressure treated lumber. I know alternatives exist such as cedar/redwood that do not need to be treated, but I have read that they don't last as long. The pressure treated lumber is much cheaper ($1129 vs. $1759), but I certainly wouldn't want to compromise heath and safety.

Any one with thoughts or experience???

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#2 of 8 Old 04-06-2008, 07:48 PM
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My DH said copper. He said there probably are other things but he cannot remember them at the moment. We have cedar for our playset.
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#3 of 8 Old 04-07-2008, 01:13 AM
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We used pressure treated but asked what it was treated with, and the levels applied. My dh and I are both foresters, so we did our homework. I think in general they ARE safe, esp. if you are going to put something (like a good paint) over them. Most of the big chain stores can get the info for you, if you ask nicely. We did it before we bought, and since it's a fair chunk of change, they were pretty cool about getting the info to us. I had to make one follow up phone call, and we had all the info w/in 3 days. hth!

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#4 of 8 Old 04-07-2008, 02:13 AM
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There is another thread on the subject here. Basically, I believe that treated lumber is toxic, but it just is a matter of degree and exposure.

However, that said, I have a playscape made of treated lumber in our backyard. We just got it, stained it and now are in the process of sealing it.

Cedarworks makes those glamourous, gorgeous, stunning playscapes that cost many thousands of dollars. You can see their stuff at

There are inexpensive nontoxic playscapes manufactured by Cedarworks called Playarounds that are sold by Sam's Club for prices ranging from one thousand dollars to two thousand dollars. They have three models.

How old are your children? There is one very interesting thread on slickdeals that is discussing wooden swingsets. I learned a lot from it because a dealer and an installer are discussing many swingsets. I was surprised by some of their advice. To find that thread, you would have to search for playnation.

In general, the childrens' ages are a big consideration. The Sunray sold at Costco (for 1399 in the store, which is much cheaper than buying it online) is highly recommended and is manufactured by Rainbow. We bought a Sunray and had it in boxes in our garage when we saw a great deal on a Playnation on Craigslist and bought that instead. Sunrays will work great for kids and ours looked great. But our kids are tall for their ages and we wanted something bigger.

Do check Craigslist. Often, obesessively, and for cities within a certain radius. You might luck out the way we did.

I looked at the Playstar website and the playsets do look fun. But I personally think you might be able to get a better playscape for your money by going with a Sunray or by finding a set on Craigslist. Remember, you can try to wheel and deal with playscape dealers.

BTW, another great thing about Craigslist is that it can give you an idea of how well playscapes hold up over time, just by looking at the pix.

You and your kids are going to have so much fun with this! -- another thread with some of the same topics that came up recently.
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#5 of 8 Old 04-07-2008, 12:51 PM
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We got pressure-treated wood for DD's swingset and are planning on giving it a couple good coats of good paint. I hope that cuts down on the toxicity because it really looks to me like other kinds of wood don't last as long.
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#6 of 8 Old 04-07-2008, 10:37 PM
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We had a pressure-treated Playstar play area for our kids from Menards. DH was able to put it together pretty easily with the help of my dad. We had it for 5 years before we moved away and left the swingset, and it held up very well. If we had the money to spend, we'd probably get another one.

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#7 of 8 Old 04-08-2008, 10:18 AM - Thread Starter
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We made a decision...We went ahead and ordered the Sunray from Costco! It will be soooo much fun. I decided it was worth a little more money not to have to worry about the treated wood issues from regular lumber. The Sunray is Red Cedar.

My kids are 6, 4, and 2 so I know we will get some great play hours out of it over the next few years!

Thanks to everyone for all the insight and advice! I appreciate it!

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#8 of 8 Old 04-08-2008, 10:50 AM
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I would think you're alright as long as you don't burn the wood or anything like that. I asked my dad if we could burn some old deck wood that someone left by the garage and he said no because it has cyanide in it. If you're really worried, try to find something that hasn't been treated and just put a coat of waterproofing on it every year to keep it nice.
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