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Climbing Frame Buyers Guide

If you're considering purchasing a climbing frame for your children then you should read our guide about climbing frame materials, the most popular features, how to prepare your garden, and type of safety surfacing available. Plus we have included essential tips on installation, climbing frame maintenance & safety requirements.

Types of Climbing Frames

There are three main materials used for making climbing frames, these include wood, metal, and plastic.
Wooden Climbing Frames

Wooden Climbing Frames

Selwood specialise in manufacturing children’s wooden climbing frames. Designed as outdoor climbing frames, they will provide many years enjoyment, for both younger and older. They also come with a 10 year wood warranty so you can be assured it will last as long as needed. Timber climbing frames are stronger than either metal or plastic climbing frames, meaning the whole family can play without breaking or bending it.

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Metal Climbing Frames

Metal Climbing Frames

Metal climbing frames should be manufactured from galvanised steel tubes, which should prevent rust and ensure the tubes remain smooth. They are normally modular climbing frames, with additions like swings and cargo nets, but features are limited and they can look like scaffolding in your garden.

Plastic Climbing Frames

Plastic Climbing Frames

Plastic climbing frames are normally designed for younger children, and make ideal toddler climbing frames. They are generally light and easy to assemble, but they tend to be very small and are quickly outgrown. Plastic climbing frames are generally weatherproof and will be able to remain in the garden year round. However, they will not sustain use from older children.

Climbing Frame Features

Climbing frame features are what makes them interesting for your children. On our wooden climbing frames, you’ll find accessories such as swings, slides, monkey bars, rock walls and more.

Locating Your Climbing Frame

Where you position your climbing frame is almost as important as which climbing frame you purchase. The location of your climbing frame may also have a deciding influence on which playset you can purchase too, especially if you have limited space, you’ll need to look for climbing frames for small gardens, rather than luxury play systems.

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tree base

Obstacles

You’ll need to ensure that you pick a location which is free from obstructions or may cause danger for children running and playing once the climbing frame is built. Ensure that you’re clear of walls, fences or thorny bushes, and try to ensure that you leave a safety area around your playset to ensure it’s safe to walk or run around when the kids are playing. The European guidelines are to leave a 1.8m (6ft) safety perimeter.

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Accessibility

Accessibility

When you’re considering where to locate your climbing frame, ensure you think about where the children will like to play. Whilst some people may wish to play the climbing frame at the bottom of the garden, will the children be happy playing down there, and will you be able to keep an eye on them and supervise them whilst they play? Positioning your playset a reasonable distance from the house, possibly in the sunshine, so children will enjoy running, climbing and swinging with friends and siblings and a safe, but adventurous environment.

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Garden Levels

Level Surface

Regardless of the location, you’ll need to ensure your area is fairly level, especially if you have a swing. Whilst you can ‘cut-in’ and level the fort, the swing will need to be level too, to ensure that the swings are safe.

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Climbing Frame Safety Surfacing

Whilst planning the location for your garden climbing frame, you may also wish to consider whether you will be using a safety surface or not. The majority of people place their climbing frame directly onto their lawn, whilst some may use one of a number of options available.
grass

Natural Grass

Most people build their climbing frames directly onto their lawn. This is the quickest and most cost effective solution.

play bark

Play Bark

Play Bark is an attractive, alternative safety surface for natural play areas, blending well into garden environments.

rubber-mulch

Rubber Bark

An impact absorbent surfacing made from shredded recycled rubber, rubber bark is highly absorbent but will need regular raking and topping up due to displacement.

grass surface

Safety Mats

Available in a selection of sizes and thickness's, rubber mats are slip resistant and easy to install and fix.

synthetic grass

Synthetic Grass

Synthetic grass is an all-weather surface, available with or without a pile and is an ideal solution for surfacing play area to reduce visible wear.

sand pit

Sand

Play Sand is a popular 'natural' impact-absorbing surfacing material to go under playground equipment. Whilst it is undoubtedly an attractive surfacing, it should be noted that it does require a high level of maintenance.

pea gravel

Gravel

Pea gravel consists of small, smoothed and rounded stones of various colours. There are no sharp or jagged edges to these stones, they are safe for children to play on.

wet pour

Soft-Bond

Wet Pour surfacing for playgrounds is highly absorbent, slip-resistant and non-abrasive to young limbs. It should also be porous, so puddles should not form.

Installing Climbing Frames

Our climbing frames are designed to ensure home-build is as easy as possible. We include an illustrated instruction manual which will guide you through the build step-by-step. We supply all the required wood and hardware (screws, nuts & bolts) to build your climbing frame, and obviously all accessories (swings, slides etc) you see in the picture are also included in your kit. All you’ll need are basic DIY tools, such as an electric screwdriver, hammer and spirit level. Remember, with our wooden climbing frames there is no need to concrete them in. If you don’t have the time, tools or inclination to build then you could always use an installer or local handy man to build your play set for you.

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Climbing Frame Maintenance

As with any item of play equipment, you’ll need to maintain your wooden climbing frame. You’ll need to routinely check the hardware, surface (if installed) and the swings, and slide to ensure there is no abnormal wear and tear. Occasionally we recommend you re-stain your climbing frame using an EN71 certified water based stain. This will ensure your play equipment is protected, and that your children will not be harmed by chemicals which may be present in oil-based, or non-EN71 stains.

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Climbing Frame Safety Standards

There are numerous safety standards required for children’s climbing frames. Ours are tested to EN71 and ASTM. That means are our play sets are tested to be safe for private and domestic use for children aged 3-12 years old. If you wish to use a climbing frame for commercial purposes (nursery, school, pub) then you will need play equipment which is tested to EN1176 safety standards.

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Climbing Frame Warranty

We offer a 10-year wood warranty with our wooden climbing frames. This warranty will protect you against structural failure due to rot or insect damage. All other parts such as swings, slides, hardware and accessories carry a one-year warranty. A full copy of our warranty is available in the front pages of the individual product manuals. The warranty is not valid for use in commercial environments, as our play equipment is designed for residential use only. Our play equipment should not be used in public settings such as schools, nurseries, playgrounds, pubs or hotels.

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