We hope you enjoy this tutorial on how to make your Play Set last for decades. This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #RoofedItMyself #CollectiveBias
When buying a playset for your backyard, it’s honestly a pretty significant investment. I know that in our family, we really value outdoor, active, imaginative play, but honestly? Play sets can be a little bit spendy. That said, we’ve found some great ways to help make ours last over the years. A playset that was once my little brother’s playset is now my son’s because we’ve taken time each year to prepare it for the spring and summer season of play and make sure that it has what it needs to truly last. Little investments over time in maintaining your playset can make it a great destination for play for years to come, making your yard the prime spot for the neighborhood kids to gather.
Each year, you want to take a little time to take stock of what needs to be done on the playset. Assessing wear-and-tear, dirt and grime from the winter months, and any areas that could be a bit in need of TLC are good places to start. This year, we noticed the rope on the rope swing was becoming increasingly frayed, so replacing the rope was a top priority for us– things like ropes and chains wear out reasonably quickly, but replacing them as needed can be a good way to make your overall playset last.
We also take time to powerwash the playset each year– after all, the grime may be on the underside of the slide, but it definitely isn’t pretty to see out the window! A good wash will also help you see those spots of wear.
In the past, we’ve also had beams become weaker, so we’ve reinforced them with wooden beams that are strong enough to support the weight of those using the playset. Anywhere you see wear and tear, it’s important to take quick action so no one gets hurt playing, and an annual review of how everything looks is the best way to identify those issues.
It’s also a good idea to re-stain and re-seal the equipment every year, either in the spring or in the fall. We opt to stain ours in the mid-fall to make sure our set is protected in the snowy winter months. Staining and re-sealing can help prevent splinters, get rid of snaggy bits, and seal the wood to keep it from getting warped or even moldy– yikes!
Finally, it’s important to replace any parts that really won’t hold up to the test of time. When we got this playset, it came with a tarp… and to be honest, tarps work, but they don’t hold up for long and will start to show some wear. Not only that, but a tarp can kind of seem like an eyesore in the yard. My favorite way to make a playset look like part of the overall yard (and match the house!) while making sure it weathers the storm better is to actually add a shingle roof instead of a tarp! The best part? You can totally DIY it and make it look great.
If you plan to add a shingle roof to your playset, begin by taking the measurements of the roof so you know exactly how much to buy before you head to the store. The last thing you want to do is get halfway through and realize you didn’t buy quite enough of the supplies you need, so measuring first is the best way to tackle it!
How to Shop for Your Supplies
When I improve my home, my first stop is pretty much always Lowe’s, because I know I can rely on them for great quality supplies at really good pricing. That’s why I make sure to head there for the stuff I need to keep my playset in great shape, like stain or ropes for the rope swing.
But, Lowe’s is also the perfect place to shop for GAF Roofing Supplies for your playset! They have everything from FeltBuster® High Traction Synthetic Roofing Felt to Timberline® Natural Shadow® shingles that will match your house really well.
You can actually even get some test shingles to make sure you’re making the right match– just ask the great employees at the Pro Services desk for a little help!
GAF Timberline® shingles are really easy to shop for, and there are plenty of examples of the shingles in the store so you know just what you’ll be getting. There are also different levels of quality in the GAF Timberline® shingles, so you’ll be able to find exactly what you need for the project at hand, whether you’re putting shingles on a playset or building a dog house!
We made sure to snag everything we needed while at Lowe’s. In addition to picking up plywood to act as a great flat surface for our shingles, we also made sure to get FeltBuster® underlayment to help the shingles last and last (to protect the wood underneath!)
We decided to match the shingles closely to our roof, and got the exact quality we needed for our project. Don’t forget to pick up the essentials like roofing nails! Timberline® shingles don’t require a ton of fancy tools like a nail gun for installation– if you have a hammer on hand, you can install them that way for small projects like this one! You may want to pick up a roofing knife to help you cut through the shingles and underlayment quickly and easily, too.
There are a lot of in-store examples of what the shingles look like, too, which makes shopping really quick and easy.
How to Roof Your Structure
To make sure you’ve got the right start and a nice, smooth surface to work with, install a flat surface, like plywood. We initially had 2x4s lining the roof of our structure, but we noticed it didn’t take long for them to show wear without shingles on top, and they made for a rough work surface, too. Plywood was the perfect option for a good, flat surface that would hold the roof nicely. Make sure you’re attaching it to the frame securely, and be safe! If you have any local codes you have to follow for this project, get that taken care of before you get started on your project. In our area, it wasn’t a requirement to get a building permit for a small structure like this one where we would be using a ladder, rather than standing on the roof, so we were able to just get started.
Once you’ve got your plywood on, you can start with the underlayment. FeltBuster® comes in a roll of easily separated squares and is great for making sure the roof lasts for a very long time. If you don’t think you’ll use the whole roll, go in with a friend, or save some for a future project! You never know when you might need it.
Re-measure your structure’s surface area (it’s always good to measure an extra time or two!) and then cut the FeltBuster® to the proper size for your needs. It cuts really easily with a utility knife.
Hammer the FeltBuster® into the plywood, making sure it is flat and free of creases. Water can seep through creases, so it’s a good idea to get it totally flat and secure.
While a playset is often small enough for one person to work on, it helps to have a second person there to help hold the underlayment taut while it’s being secured, so consider inviting someone over to help out with the playset!
Once you’ve got that finished, you can move onto the actual shingles. If you have a larger project, Pro-Start™ Eave/Rake Starter Strip Shingles are perfect for getting you started, but for a smaller project, you can jump right into shingles if you desire.
For a playset like this, you don’t have to worry about drip edges or ventilation ducts, making the process pretty straightforward from here on out.
Start by placing shingles on a row, then cut the next row to make sure that the shingles have a little bit of overlap instead of laying right next to each other the whole way up. It helps make sure the shingles stay secure and it prevents leaks.
Be sure you’re staying extra safe with gloves, protective goggles, and a secure ladder! Continue applying the shingles in a way that makes sure they aren’t directly lined up row to row. I really love this instructional video from GAF; it totally gave us an idea of exactly how to make it happen!
There’s a reason that Timberline® shingles are the best-selling shingle in North America. They really are in it for the long haul, and the proprietary, granular technology will look amazing on your playset, moving it from the appearance of a temporary piece of fun in your yard to an actual part of your landscaping design. Better yet? It holds up really well and lasts a long time, and the durability is just amazing.
Continue until you’ve reached the top of the roof, using roofing nails to secure shingles very well.
Trim any excess you might have on shingles or FeltBuster®.
At the top, you’ll use TimberTex® Premium Ridge Cap Shingles, which make the finishing touches super easy. It is pre-perforated, so all you do is fold, cut, and place. You align them a little like this, but on the roof, and fold them over slightly to give that finished look.
‘From there, it’s as simple as finishing the ridge cap, making any additional trimming cuts, and re-attaching anything that you may have taken down (like the slide) to make room for the ladder. Once you’ve got everything all re-attached, you’re ready for a summer of playtime, and you don’t have to worry about your playset wearing out anytime soon.
Those little checks before and after the play season can help you stay on top of the needs your playset may have, and it means you can make it last far longer than you expected. A little investment each year in your playset for new ropes and stain goes a long way to protect the overall investment of buying a playset like this one.
But don’t think you have to reinvest as much every single year when it comes to major additions, like a roof. GAF has an amazing warranty that will make sure your roof lasts as long as your playset does. You can find a little more information on their warranty here.
Have you ever done your own roofing project?
Let me know about it in the comments below! I’d love to hear how it went for you. Now that we’ve worked to keep our playset in great shape, I’m already thinking of a million other great roofing projects I’d like to do! Maybe we’ll tackle a dog house next! Tell me more bout your projects in the comments below, and stay tuned because I have a fun slide repaint tutorial coming very soon. Learn more about GAF and Roofing It Yourself by visiting the GAF website, or checking them out on Facebook! You can also click here to see more roofing projects to get you started from other great GAF bloggers.