tree house slide ideas?

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Forum topic by shelly_b posted 08-04-2013 07:41 PM 13536 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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850 posts in 2146 days

08-04-2013 07:41 PM

Hi guys. My daughter is turning 4 on the 7th. I am going to build her a tree/play house for her birthday. I am amazed at how expensive all the accesories are. The cheapest swing is $20, slides are $200, etc…well, me being cheap am trying to figure out how I can make all this stuff myself. Everything seems pretty easy except the slide. Has anyone ever made a slide before? If I sanded really good and put alot of finish could I just do it out of wood? I would think the more it got slid down the smoother it would get. It will be in a hollow behind our house, so it will never be in direct sunlight since it is surrounded by trees. I plan to make the swings, tire swing, rope ladder, rock(wood chunk) wall, etc too, but like I said, those are pretty straight forward. Thanks:)

16 replies so far

View Christophret's profile


150 posts in 2030 days

#1 posted 08-04-2013 08:11 PM

I would imagine, Wood for a slide will weather and create splinters no matter how well you treat it.
If I were to make an economical slide from wood. I would used galvinized sheet metal over a wood frame. Then buff and perhaps even wax the metal.

I never made a slide this way but I do recall seeing one.
I just bought a turbo-tube slide to add to my grandaughters playhouse( My projects ), it was expensive. But the smiles were worth every penny.

-- I cut it twice and it's still too short!

View hotbyte's profile


991 posts in 3004 days

#2 posted 08-04-2013 08:28 PM

Maybe you could find a used one someone is “parting out” as kids got older – even if from an older regular medal swing set the slide and other hardware might be in good shape.

View JoeinGa's profile


7736 posts in 2036 days

#3 posted 08-04-2013 08:45 PM

I concur with hotbyte. A used one from Craigslist perhaps? Or do a search for “freecycle” in your area. It’s all about folks that are passing along things that are still usable that they dont need any more. I found quite a few good items when we were back in 10aSEE

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

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Monte Pittman

29406 posts in 2367 days

#4 posted 08-04-2013 08:51 PM

You can get rolls of aluminum flashing at most home stores fairly cheap. Menards has some 16 inches wide. You can use it to cover the boards.

Nothing wrong with being cheap. I come from one of the all time cheapskates.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2704 days

#5 posted 08-04-2013 09:19 PM

I know the sun will not be on this slide very much but the new “plastic” slides are made in a way they never get hot. When you get on a hot slide it is a long way to the bottom. I haven’t bought a slide in about 12 years but I paid $75 for one at Southerland’s building center around labor day I think. The season to play in the yard was about to end as I recall. I have since acquired 3 more at no charge so my grandchildren are fixed up for slides. Look a little more before you build. about any roll metal or plastic would probably work for a slide. We had one in the park when I was a child but they will get to where they leave splinters in your hands. One trip to the ER and the slide is paid for. That doesn’t count healing time. You are a nurse as I recall so you know this.

View Christophret's profile


150 posts in 2030 days

#6 posted 08-04-2013 10:30 PM

Aluminum flashing is twice the price of galvinized and would be a very poor and unsafe surface for a childrens slide.

-- I cut it twice and it's still too short!

View bondogaposis's profile


4770 posts in 2380 days

#7 posted 08-04-2013 11:00 PM

I’d go with galv steel flashing.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Knothead62's profile


2584 posts in 2990 days

#8 posted 08-04-2013 11:04 PM

Make sure that there are no zoning rules or ordinances prohibiting the tree house. I saw where a couple had built a rather expensive tree house for their kids and were in a lawsuit over subdivision restrictions against them.

View ddockstader's profile


156 posts in 3290 days

#9 posted 08-04-2013 11:56 PM

Made one (about 35 years ago, now) using 3/4” plywood and 2×4 sides. Cover the plywood with aluminum flashing, bending it over the plywood and back around underneath. I believe I used 20” flashing. Cover the 2×4 sides similarly (I didn’t and after about 3 years, splinters started appearing). Then screw the plywood to the 2×4 sides (with lots of stainless deck screws from underneath). Make sure you add a landing spot at the bottom (don’t just stop the plywood – you have to add another piece at a shallower angle – the flashing will bend around and smooth out into a curve). Wax the aluminum with Johnson’s floor wax. Works slick (pun intended).

View Roger's profile


20929 posts in 2833 days

#10 posted 08-05-2013 12:20 AM

149.00 can buy you one at Home Depot.. I’d visit Craigs list

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View TravisH's profile


583 posts in 1964 days

#11 posted 08-05-2013 01:04 AM

The yellow wave slide is usually under a 100 bucks and ours has lasted 12 years (3 kids) and still is going strong. Also figured when they are done a good scrubbing and I have an easy 40 dollars to boot.

We have one of those raised, canopied play things with the slide and a swing. We have 1 girl and 2 boys and I can say that the slide got used a lot the swing rarely. A rope swing on a good branch has beaten it handily with my kids no contest. Simple single rope with a seat made from a piece of scrap wood with rounded edges. We ended up just putting one of the infant bee swings on it for the last child. I built a playhouse also for the kids one of those with the little covered front porch, three windows, and a door. It has gotten more use than the other raised wooden structure easily also.

View Tom Godfrey's profile

Tom Godfrey

488 posts in 2205 days

#12 posted 08-05-2013 01:49 AM

Wish I could give you some advice but its been so long since any children has been in my life I wouldn’t know where to start. One thing i do agree with is look on Craigslist or Freecycle and most likely you will find something free or close to free.
Good luck in finding what you want.

-- Tom Godfrey Landrum South Carolina (

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2719 days

#13 posted 08-05-2013 02:19 AM

Shelly, I’d check out the galvanized flashing at the Big Box Stores. The aluminum will work fine but will leave black rubbings on her clothes.

A sheet metal/ductwork guy can also cut galvanized to any width and “hem” the edges so there are no sharp edges (cheaply).

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View firefighterontheside's profile


18354 posts in 1885 days

#14 posted 08-05-2013 02:52 AM

I got 3 different free slides. One was better than the rest and became the slide out of the bottom floor of the treehouse i built for my kids. I thought about the idea of building one, but eventually decided that i could not build a safe one.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View shelly_b's profile


850 posts in 2146 days

#15 posted 08-06-2013 05:33 PM

Thanks everyone. I have been checking CL. I found a few but they have either been sold or are 2hrs away. The Plywood covered in metal is a good idea. There will never be sun hitting it so it should not get hot. And as for the no zoning rules and ordinances, we live in the country on a dead end road with 2 other houses on the road. It is a small town, we didn’t even get any permits or anything when we built the pole barn…just built it, eventually got a letter saying we needed to pay taxes, but it’s not done yet…still needs 1 piece of soffit. Thanks everyone:)

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