How Far Can a 4×6 Beam Span for a Swing Set

  • By: Kevin
  • Date: October 7, 2021
  • Time to read: 5 min.
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A 4×6 beam span for swing sets is 8-10 feet, to be on the safe side. Most 4×6 beams are about 16 ft long, but you can get the length that meets your needs. The height of the beam will depend on the number of swings you intend to mount on it. 

Using a long 4×6 beam on a swing set will require you to add support beams at the middle part of the swing, the weakest. Stick to the beam span provided on your swing set plan to make the best swings for your kids. 

Overall, you should avoid having longer beams because it reduces the efficiency of it. An 8ft long 4×6 beam is the most common size that parents purchase for wooden swing sets.

We will discuss the weight limit and other factors to consider when using a 4×6 beam for swing sets.

Best 4×6 Beam Span for Swing Sets

The length of a swing set beam spans depends on the supports in place to ensure that it can handle the load on the swings. Weak supports can cause the beam to bow in the middle due to the pressure and eventually break. 

Therefore, getting the right span for your 4×6 beam can determine the durability of your swing set. 

Overall, you do a distance of 8-10 feet, depending on the type of frame you have on the side. You can do 8 feet for two swings because there should be a distance between the two swings and a distance from the edge. 

You will need a strong frame if you want to install three swings because the middle one will cause significant pressure on the wood. 

Most parents use 4×6 beams for swing sets because they are stable and can handle the weight load of swings moving in sync. Most swings are 10 feet long to accommodate three swings and 8 feet for two swings. 

You can opt for a 4×4 beam if you think the 4×6 beam is too bulky for your backyard. 

How Much Weight Can a 4×6 Beam Support?

A 4×6 beam on a swing set can support 400 LBS when the swings are in motion. Therefore, two kids can swing comfortably without the beam cracking or breaking. 

Most parents build swings for 3-12 years old kids, and they don’t weigh much. You can use a 4×6 beam if you have children who are bigger than their age. 

Overall, a 12 feet 4×6 beam span for swing sets is overkill when you use it to make a swing for toddlers and preteens. The advantage is that the kids can use the swing until they are teenagers or even adults if they have small frames.

Which is the Best Wood for a Swing Set?

Swing sets tend to use redwood, cedar, or pine because they are available and durable. Cedar and redwood are the best options because they are durable and sturdy. 

Cedar is perfect for outdoor use because it is weather and pest-resistant. Therefore, you will spend less time trying to keep your swing set in the best condition. 

You can find wood at your local hardware store, the nearest Home Depot store, or opt to buy your swing set wood from Amazon. Amazon has an assortment of lumber beams that you can choose your ideal size. 

You will be spoilt for choice when choosing the height of 4×6 lumber blocks. Also, you can choose treated and finished wood. Some of them can even be predrilled holes for easy frame assembly.

Which is the Best Frame for a Swing Set?

An A-frame is the best kind of frame for swing sets. An A-frame can withstand the swinging motion without coming loose. 

You can use concrete to anchor the frame to the ground if you don’t like using stakes. Most A-frames come with stakes that you install in the ground to keep the frame in place. 

They are perfect for people with artificial turf in their backyards as stakes don’t disturb the ground much. 

You need 4×4 poles for the A-frame, which are 8-10 feet if you wish to have a 4×6 beam at the top of the swing set. Remember that you’re a-frame is the support for the beam, and it should be sturdy to offer the best support. 

Don’t use shortcuts during the installation of your frames to guarantee the safety of your kids. Make sure to prepare the ground for the swing sets.

How Should You Space Swings?

An 8ft beam allows you to space two swings comfortably and ensure that the swing doesn’t collide with anything when in motion. Leave a space of 2 feet from the edges and keep a minimum distance of 2 feet between swings. 

A collision of a swing with another one or the frame can cause severe injuries to a child. Don’t compromise on the spacing on the beam when installing swings for your kids.

Accessories for Installing a Swing Set Beam

Parents can use metal brackets to ensure that the A-frame and top beam are well secured in place. Metal brackets increase the sturdiness of a 4×6 beam, increasing the maximum weight load of the beam. 

Also, brackets reduce the odds of your frame coming apart because kids are swinging vigorously. 

You can find metal brackets that accommodate different wood sizes, depending on the size of your frame. Also, you will get the angle of your A-frame right without having to measure it. 

Finally, brackets simplify creating a swing set frame because everything is marked where it should go. You can assemble a swing set frame within an hour without hassle.

Taking Care of a Swing Set

Despite using a 4×6 beam for a swing set, you need to conduct regular inspections to ensure everything is in order. Also, keep an eye on the beam to ensure that it doesn’t bend in the middle over time. 

Bowing affects the swinging motions, and it can lead to swing colluding if it is not corrected. 

Overall, you need to inspect the wood after winter and every few months. Don’t forget to do annual maintenance, preferably after winter, to counteract the cold weather and water effects.

The other option is a metal swing set that doesn’t require as much maintenance. Here is a metal swing set vs wood swing set breakdown.

Conclusion

A 4×6 beam should span 8-10 feet long when you use it on a swing set. You can use a longer or shorter beam, depending on your needs. 

However, you need to add more supports to the beam if you choose a beam longer than 12 feet. You can find a swing set plan if you are unsure of the length you need for 2-3 swings. 

Follow swing set plans to the latter because all measurements account for the height of the swings, maximum weight limit, and the number of swings you install. 

Overall, understanding the ideal 4×6 beam span for swing sets ensures you use the best measurements to build a lasting swing set. Once everything is put together your children will love it, swinging is so calming and relaxing.


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