Moving a swing set or playset doesn’t have to be stressful. By doing it yourself, you can save time and money. Plus, you can usually do the disassembly within a day.
Here, we’ll show you how to plan, disassemble, and move your playset. From tools to packaging, we’ll help you transport it with confidence and security.
Plan It Out
Before you start disassembling your playset, you must plan it out. Planning will help you remember what parts go where, what needs repair, and what materials to buy. Here are some key things to consider before you do the handy work.
Sealing & Staining
First, you want to inspect your swing or playset to make sure there are no damaged parts. You can try sealing or staining it to make the parts more sturdy for the move, too. When you seal wooden playsets, they get protection from water or moisture that could weaken them. But in the beginning, this stage is optional.
What isn’t optional is cleaning your playset. We recommend gentle dish soap to get out loose dirt and grime before you take it apart. Also, make sure you use a soft-bristled brush instead of a wire brush. Many use wire brushes to distress wood, but that makes it too rough for simple cleaning.
Mark Your Joints
Next, you want to take a pencil to mark different parts and joints. When you’re going to disassemble the pieces, it can be easy to forget what goes where. Having a number or alphabet system can help you avoid that confusion. If not a pencil, use tags or labels instead.
As a second layer of security, take pictures of the playset before you start disassembling. That’s not only important for you to remember how it goes, but also for repairs. For example, your swing set may have a warranty to replace broken pieces. But to take advantage of the warranty, the manufacturer might ask you for pictures.
You can keep the pictures in a place to jot down notes. A notebook can help you track faults like wood rot, rusted bolts, or other faulty pieces. It’s just another step that makes it easier to track and buy parts.
Intact vs. Disassembled
You might feel tempted to cut corners and leave certain parts intact. Especially if the playset is large with many accessories, we can understand the rush. However, keep the size of the moving truck in mind. You don’t want to leave large parts together that could get damaged on the ride.
You might need materials to loosen nuts and bolts. Degreasers like WD-40 can help save you time and prevent injuries. You apply it and let it sit for 60 minutes. Then, it should be easier to take stubborn screws and nails out.
Winter has a way of making ground, wood, and metal tougher. So, if you’re planning to move in cold weather, try to plan your disassembly ahead of time. You want the ground to be warmer, so it’s easier to take out anchors from the dirt and remove bolts from wood.
Disassembly and Packing
Now that you’ve marked your joints and cleaned the set, you can do the handy work. What you need may vary on your set. For example, you’ll need thick gloves if you’re working with wooden bases. However, these disassembly and packing tips will give you a basic starting point for any type of playground.
Gather Your Tools
Here’s a short list of things you should have to disassemble your set:
- Spray solvent for tough bolts
- Adjustable wrench
- Socket wrenches
- Thick gloves
Maybe your playset has heavy pieces and slides that will ache to move alone. If that’s the case, and you’ll be disassembling it solo, you might want to get a dolly or hand truck to help you out.
We may love to see our kids enjoying their giant playsets. But to move those big structures, you need to keep yourself safe from injury.
So, you can ask a friend to help you do the heavy lifting on top of the tools above. It’ll also help you by speeding up the process.
While you’re working, watch out for splintered wood, mold, and large nails. Both of you will benefit from having thick gloves or goggles to protect you from these elements.
Start With Small Pieces
You don’t want to take apart the big pieces and send little chains, bolts, or frames swinging. So, start by removing small joints. These joints can look like the bolts for slides, swings, or decorative pieces that stick out.
Later, you can move on to remove the playset’s anchor. You may need a sledgehammer to detach it if it’s in concrete. But it may be safer to separate when you’ve already removed extra roofs, slides, and pieces first.
Pack Them Up
Finally, it’s time to pack up the playset! To pack, you’ll need both large boxes and plastic bags to fit different pieces.
Make sure you keep nuts, bolts, and screws in the appropriately marked bags. Then, keep the swing pieces separate, so the chords don’t get tangled. Other components like monkey bars, stair wood, and rope ladder can be easy to put in their own boxes.
Still, make sure you measure how the pieces would fit with the moving truck. Measuring can help you figure out which parts you need to disassemble, and which can go in one piece.
On average, though, you’ll either need a large truck or trailer to get all the pieces in transit.
If you’ve taken all the right precautions, this step will be the easiest! The trickiest part you might face is new zoning and land laws. Otherwise, read on for some final steps to reassemble your kid’s playground.
Inspect the Pieces
Unfortunately, sometimes the pieces that were good in disassembly get damaged in transit. So before you put the parts back together, make sure each piece is good to go.
If there are any damaged parts, check out your set’s warranty. Some of them will give you replacement parts or even send a technician to help you rebuild them.
Let’s say they send you pieces but can’t send you a technician. But even with your pictures and notes, you’re scratching your head with a few missing steps. It’s normal for us to miss a few details.
In those cases, we recommend you look up the owner’s manual to rebuild your set. You can look up the ‘Name Of Your Playset + manual’ on Google, and chances are you’ll find the complete guide.
Stain or Seal It
If you didn’t stain or seal your set before moving, now it is not too late. Now that it’s in your new place, you can even choose the right colors to make it fit in like home.
Like we said, staining and sealing will protect the playground from moisture, mold, and mildew. Then, you can consider using paint or sanding to add to its fresh new look.
Adjust It To Its New Space
You’re in your new, lovely home. Still, maybe the ground isn’t as even as it was in your old place. Or, perhaps you have less space in the backyard than you did before. If this sounds like you, we suggest taking a few steps to optimize the playset for your kids to enjoy it. If you’re on an uneven space, read our guide on how to level your yard for a playset.
Look into installing a surface under your swing set or playset for an even field. You can use sand, mulch, pea gravel, or other options depending on your new neighborhood’s climate.
Also, check how far your playground should be from the neighbor’s according to your local regulations. And for swings, make sure there’s at least 6 ft of space in front of the end. That space will let your kids hop out safely without knocking your neighbor’s fence. For more on safety, read our full guide on playset safety.
Can Professional Movers Do It For Me?
It depends. Each company has its restrictions, but many will disassemble the set for you. Some might also do the reassembly, while others leave that step to you.
Of course, the aid comes with a cost. It can cost around $100 to move a simple 2-swing structure. If you have a larger set with bars, ropes, swings, or canopies, it may add $500+ to the moving bill.
Are you wondering if you should pay the movers to do it? A good rule of thumb is to look at your set’s current value. If the cost of moving exceeds the playset’s worth, you may prefer to do it yourself.
The specific directions for how to disassemble a playset depends a lot on your unique model. However, these basic guides will help you no matter how many slides, swings, and goofy pieces yours has.
- Plan by marking joints and taking pictures
- Start small with disassembly and use safety gear
- Pack with organized boxes and plastic bags
- Adjust reassembly according to local laws
- Reseal, repaint, and re-secure your set
If you realize it’s better to buy a new set during disassembly, you can donate your old set to a local park or school. Or, you can sell it on Facebook or Craigslist.
Otherwise, you can feel happy knowing that your kids will take a piece of home with them. No matter how tricky the process gets, that makes it worth the effort.