For two reasons - its much safer for your children and, in the long run, less expensive. You see, most parents go shopping for a swingset/fort when their children are 3 and 4 years of age. As a result, they tend to buy sets that are fine for children of that age bracket, forgetting that someday their children will be 8, 9 and 10 years old, many pounds heavier, and will still want to swing on the swings and play in the forts. Most forts don't have enough headroom for older children and most swing sections are much too lightweight to handle several 10 year olds swinging at once.
Over the years Rainbow has replaced hundreds of sets for families that initially spent $300 - $1200 on a set when the children were young, only to find these sets have become inadequate and, in some cases, even dangerous when the children are older and heavier.
If you want to avoid having to buy another set in 3 or 4 years you must shop as if your children are 9 & 10 years old now. All of the sets we build have no age or weight limitations - yet cost about the same as sets weighing half as much.
1) Assume your children are already 8-10 years old.
Small 3 year olds grow into large 9 year olds. If you want to avoid having to buy another set in 3 or 4 years you must shop as if your children are 9 & 10 years old now. All of the sets we build have no age or weight limitations - yet cost about the same as sets weighing half as much.
2) Make sure you buy the heaviest swing beam possible.
The few dollars extra spent on a heavy swing beam is money well spent, as this is the most critical part of the swing set. We recommend a minimum of a 4x6 size beam - this size beam has no age or weight restrictions allowing both older children and adults the freedom to swing without the fear of overstressing the swing section. Every model Rainbow builds has a minimum of a 4x6 swing beam.
3) Always choose angled climbing ladders over ladders that go straight up & down.
Young children often have a problem climbing ladders that go straight up. Angled climbing ladders allow an easy transition from the ladder to the deck, making a much safer climb for 2-4 year olds. Rainbow refuses to build any structure that has straight up and down ladders as most accidents involving young children are the result of this design flaw.
4) Is the warranty on the wood pro-rated or a full-replacement warranty?
A pro-rated warranty only covers you for a fraction of the replacement cost -- depending on how long you have had the set. Example, if you needed to replace a part in the 8th year of a 10 year warranty the manufacturer would only cover you for 30% of the replacement cost. A full-replacement warranty covers you for 100% of the cost of the part for the length of the warranty period. Every set Rainbow builds comes with a 10 year(common) or 15 year(redwood) full-replacement warranty on any structual failure.
5) Does the manufacturer require you to waterseal your set yearly to keep the warranty in force?
When buying a wooden swingset always check the manufacturer's warranty. Most companies that pre-seal a set at the factory require that you waterseal your set annually or you void your warranty. This is because some manufacturers use a lesser grade of redwood called sapwood, which, if not sealed annually, will not be naturally rot and decay resistant as is the heart redwood Rainbow uses in all of their redwood sets.
6) Make sure the Fort Section of your set has as much headroom as possible.
All of Rainbow's sets have enough headroom to handle children 9-10 years old. At that age every inch counts. Rainbow's sets in general have 6-12 inches more headroom than the competition.