To fix a swing set swaying sideways, you must first identify what could be causing it.
Check for a loose connection, a bent post, or swaying poles. Once you have identified the problem area, tighten it with an adjustable wrench or cut the post with a hacksaw.
If you have a swing set and find that the swings are swaying sideways, this article is for you. We will give solutions to help keep your swing set from moving sidewards.
Why is My Swing Set Swaying Sideways?
There are various reasons why your swing set may be swaying sideways. They include:
Below we go over each of these probable causes to help you fix your swing set.
Swing Set Issue: Loose Joints
Check for any loose connections by taking off the bolts where they attach to the posts and tightening with an adjustable wrench or cutting them with a hacksaw. If this doesn’t work, check that all other joints are tight as well before looking elsewhere.
These could be at poles, on crossbars connecting legs of swings, etc., even in hinges on the seats themselves if there are one per seat instead of two sets back to back holding it up like most people have these days. Lastly, try adjusting nuts and bolts until everything is tight.
If none of these solutions seem to work, then you may need new hardware because some metal pieces just can’t handle wear and tear anymore.
Swing Set Issue: Bent Posts
Inspect poles and see if there’s any bend to them. To do this, just look down the length of each pole while you’re holding it vertically (you’ll need a friend for this one).
If they are bent, cut them with a hacksaw or use an adjustable wrench to remove the kinks.
If your post is not quite as long but still has some give in it when you pull on one end up towards the top, then consider adding another shorter piece by connecting two pieces at opposite ends, creating an L shape that can be used instead of cutting off too much from your old post.
This will add strength because bolts now hold both pieces together while giving more height than just one piece.
Lastly, if you find that there is no give in the post and it’s completely straight, consider buying a new pole as this would be something of an emergency fix because your swings will not work at all if you don’t get rid of that bend in the wood.
It may seem like overkill, but I promise that it’ll save your swing set from damage later on down the road when someone leans too far back or grabs onto both posts while jumping off to create a force against them instead of just pushing themselves away with their feet.
This can cause these beams to splinter apart despite what they look like on the outside.
Swing Set Issue: Poor Support From the Ground
If your kids are really heavy, such as an older child who has outgrown their swing set, then it’s not a bad idea to upgrade your support from below. One common way is by adding more stakes on each corner with long pieces of rebar and concrete poured into metal forms you find in hardware stores.
Another option for added leveling, mainly when the ground doesn’t have a leveler already as may be found in front lawns or other hilly areas, is to put down plywood sheets before pouring cement over them, so they’re flat rather than slanted like most surfaces without help would be.
This can also work if trees or plants make up some of the areas around where you’d want to install swings because this will take away any unevenness caused by roots, plants, or just the natural landscape.
Find more information about preparing the ground for playsets here.
Swing Set Issue: Uneven Base
Uneven base or ground is another likely reason for this problem. To fix it, just level it out by adding a few extra posts where the legs of the swings are on one side and then pouring concrete after removing any excess dirt from the ground/grass.
Another option is if there’s no room around the entire base, in which case instead check that supports at each corner are all even before getting rid of unevenness between two ends, though again, this takes some patience as well since you may need tools like adjustable.
A third option is to drill holes in the ground where the legs of swings will go and then place a post inside with bolts coming out so you can secure them before pouring concrete, but this may not be as sturdy as other solutions if your area has lots of rocks, roots or unevenness that might cause posts to warp over time.
Swing Set Issue: Frame is too Short and Can’t Handle the Weight
Your kids may be getting heavier, and the frame is too short. To fix this, you can either put a few more beams in the frame to make it taller or cut off some of the top and bottom pieces from your current beam so posts will be shorter.
Don’t go below what is required for them to support swings which would be about two-thirds height measurement according to most standards.
Swing Set Issue: Missing Bolts or Nuts on the Swing Set
Missing bolts or nuts is another likely reason for this problem. Check your swing set to make sure all bolts and nuts are in place.
If you notice missing ones, you can either replace them with new ones or at the very least tighten them.
Swing Set Issue: Poor Balance Between Posts
To find the balance point between posts, measure their height off the ground and then take a pencil and mark it with an “X” at the point where they’re level.
Measure from here to the ground, then make another X at this spot, so you know which one is higher. The next step is cutting bent posts by measuring down from where that post meets its neighbor and marking it with a line.
This will help keep all of them even as time goes on because if they’ve been uneven since construction, then there’s no way of getting rid of those bends without taking apart everything first.
Swing Set Issue: Material Weakness
Over time, wood becomes weaker, and kids’ weight on swings will gradually cause it to bend. If you notice some bending in your posts or beams, then try installing new ones as soon as possible before they go too far out of shape and can’t be fixed.
This is also true for metal pieces that may start showing cracks after a few years. This needs attention right away because if left alone over time, those tiny fractures could eventually become large enough to hurt someone (kids) swinging high up.
Swing Set Issue: How to Identify Material Weakness
This is a purely visual test that anyone can do. Just look at the top of each post and beam for any cracks or warping, which could be a sign they’re not holding up well to all the weight on them.
You’ll also want to check if there’s any wobble when you shake your posts from side to side. These are signs that part of it is about ready to break.
When inspecting your swing set, one of the first things you’ll want to do is look for any signs of pest infestation. Termites and flying ants can be particularly damaging because they leave behind tunnels within a wood frame that will wreak all sorts of structural havoc if left unchecked. No pests?
The next thing to check would be if it has weather damage or cracks in the wood material itself.
A few signs that your material may need attention are cracks or chips in the wood and rotting pieces of lumber around your home’s exterior (check for rot at the ends). Rotting areas should be dealt with as soon as possible.
Do you have a metal swing set?
If so, it’s important to know if your swings are made of aluminum or steel.
If they are steel, the inevitable rust will make them dangerous for children and adults alike, while an aluminum swing is less likely to be rusty in the first place due to its resistance against corrosion.
It can also withstand environmental factors like rain better than galvanized metals because there isn’t any iron content which makes them more resilient.
Make sure that either way, all parts on your sets check out by looking at cracks and damage caused by weathering over time.
How to Deal with Rust on Your Swing Set Poles
You will need POR15 (a rust remover available on Amazon) and a wire brush to stop rust on your swing set. Start by cleaning off as much rust as possible with the wire brush.
You may need compressed air for this. Next, apply the POR15. It will turn black and protect your metal poles from further rusting.
In case you have painted poles, you can identify rust by looking for areas with slight bubbles. Give them a tap with, say, a screwdriver.
If they are solid, the pole is not rusted. If they chip off, then it’s likely the pole is rusted.
For more in-depth information, check out how to fix a rusty swing set.
How to Make Your Swing Set Stronger
Add a Support Beam to the Top of the Swing Set
A support beam can help to add more durability by catching and holding up the swing set’s weight. This simple fix doesn’t require any tools or expertise, just some time and your hands.
You will need two long pieces of wood for this project:
One piece should be longer than the other (about an inch) but not so much as it creates too steep of an angle with the ground; you want a slope that gradually increases until it meets at about 20 inches in length from where they start on either end.
The second piece can be shorter than the first one if necessary (just like when making steps). The only thing left then is to nail them together while slightly angling everything upwards towards their higher point, which would correspond directly to the top of your swing set.
We suggest using a galvanized nail for this task, as it will be more resistant to rusting.
Add Washers and Nuts to Lock Things Down.
This is another easy fix that doesn’t require any tools or expertise. You’ll just need a washer and nut to go on either end of your bolts, which are holding up the swing set’s weight.
The goal is to prevent them from moving sideways while you’re swinging, so it would be best if they could move in only one direction (either side-to-side or back and forth). This helps keep things secure during both changing weather conditions as well as when kids play around too much with these pieces.
To lock down something like this, all you have to do is tighten the nuts onto those poles by using an adjustable wrench, so they won’t shake loose over time even without being secured completely into place yet. Make sure everything else feels sturdy before giving the swing set a test run.
Add Braces on Each Side for Stability
You want to find the outside corners of your swing set and then use a long, sturdy piece of wood to connect them. This will help keep things from swaying side-to-side when someone is swinging on it or if winds are strong enough that day.
You can even build braces in more than one area at a time for added stability by using the lumber you have lying around (like some scrap pieces left over).
Use Pressure-treated Lumber for all Wood Framing and Supports
Pressure-treated lumber is a type of wood that has been treated to withstand various environmental factors like rain, snow, and ice. They are also more resistant to rotting because they contain chemicals that make the water inside them clot together instead of seeping into the wood’s fibers.
This means you don’t need as much maintenance in terms of sealing or painting over time, and all pieces will last longer than if they were made with other types of lumber.
We suggest using pressure-treated lumber for all wood framing and supports because it will last longer than if they were made with other types of lumber. We recommend Cedarwood when possible.
Install 2x4s as Cross Beams in Between Swings and at Ground Level
Installing cross beams will help prevent the swing set from moving from side to side. All you have to do is cut a piece of wood that’s about two by four feet long and put it in place at ground level, then repeat for other areas where there are swings.
The idea behind this fix is to create an extra layer of protection when someone leans back on their seat while swinging or if another kid pushes them around too much; they won’t fall as easily with these crossbeams down below them.
Another option would be a 4×6 beam.
How to Protect Your Swing Set from Heavy Winds
Heavy winds can also make your swing set start swaying side to side. Here are some tips to keep your set from moving sideways in the wind:
Put sandbags around the base of your swing set to stabilize it in strong winds.
Sandbags are a great way to protect your swing set from winds. Just put them around the base of it, and they’ll help stabilize things easily without you having to do much work at all.
You can also use bricks, cinder blocks, or even large stones if that’s what you have on hand – anything heavy enough can make an impact here in terms of stabilizing this piece against strong winds.
Use a bungee cord on each side of the swing set to secure it against strong winds.
A bungee code is one of the quickest fixes for windy days. You’ll just need to attach a bungee cord on each side of your swing set (one at the top and one at ground level).
This will help keep it from moving sideways when winds are strong enough that day.
You can also use rope, chains, or even some I-beams if you have them around from other construction projects. Anything heavy-duty is what’s needed here, so they won’t lose their strength over time with all this extra pressure put onto them.
Create stakes with heavy-duty rope or metal stakes.
These can be hammered into the ground and tied to posts on either side of the swing set. They’ll help keep everything in place and won’t move when there’s a lot of wind on that day.
You can also hammer the stakes in place before you install your swing set and then attach them to posts during installation. This will save time if there’s a storm coming soon because these won’t work well when it rains heavily or snows – they’ll be too waterlogged by that point for any of this to matter.
Place large logs or rocks under the swing set legs for support.
If there is no space available for stakes, you can place large logs or rocks under the legs of your swing set to give it stability. However, you want to be careful not to make these too high as they could get in the way of other swing set features or children playing on them.
Lower the height of your swing set if it is too tall and could be susceptible to wind damage.
The higher your swing set is, the more susceptible it will be to wind damage. If you have a tall one and want to get this fixed as soon as possible, you can lower its height to a safer level.
If you’re using an older set, this is especially important because these sets won’t be able to withstand as much wind and will start swaying side-to-side quickly if they are too high up off of the ground in general. It’s always better to err on the side of caution with things like this for safety reasons instead.
Add a roof overhang or canopy to provide shelter from wind gusts.
For the best protection against strong winds, you’ll want to add a roof overhang or canopy to your swing set. This will help keep it from swaying side-to-side as much when there are gusts of wind.
If you have more than one kid playing with the swingset at once, then this is also important since their combined weight can make things difficult without something overhead that’s capable of protecting them all together.
How to Anchor a Wooden Swing Set Without Using Concrete
Twist-in ground anchors work best when you have a wooden swing set. These are easy to install and can be hammered in place without damaging the wood at all.
You’ll find these anchored into the ground before your installation begins – they’re pretty lightweight, so this won’t take much effort on your part.
You can also anchor your swing set on artificial grass as well.
How Deep Should a Swing Set Post Be?
The holes for your swing set posts should be at least three feet deep. Otherwise, the weight of your swing set will be too much for these posts to handle, and they won’t stay in place while children are playing on them.
You can always opt to go deeper with this if you want a stronger foundation that’s less likely to shift over time. It just depends on what type of ground you have where the swingset is going to be installed.
What is the Standard Height of a Swing Set?
The standard height of a swing set is 5-7 feet. Anything higher than this will be susceptible to wind damage and can’t handle the weight of several children playing on it at once without something overhead for protection.
Swing set swaying sidewards is a common problem that can often be solved in a matter of minutes. The tips we have provided in this piece should help you solve this issue.
The most important part is identifying the cause of your swing set swaying sideways and then finding the solution that will work best for your particular situation.
We’re always happy to help. Read more about creating new DIY Swing Sets here.
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