A slide can be a popular addition to any play structure, tree house or play house. Whether they're running up or sliding down, kids derive hours of enjoyment from this simple piece of playground equipment. Though you can buy plastic, pre-moulded slides online and at home improvement stores, building a simple slide from scratch is a weekend project that could save hundreds of dollars.
Choose the start and end positions for your slide. The slide should start someplace easy and safe to climb up to, preferably no more than four feet off the ground. It should end at a soft, clear patch of ground. The ground should be clear of landing hazards such as rocks and debris for five feet on either side of the slide path.
Measure the diagonal distance between the start and end positions of your slide. Double-check the approximate angle of your slides. Slides at more than 45 degrees can be too fast for safe play. Slides at less than 60 degrees can be too slow to slide down.
Cut all four beams to match the distance between the start and end positions.
Cut the plywood sheet and composite board into sections 30 inches wide. If your slide is too long for these sheets to cover with a single section of sheet, cut multiple 30-inch wide sections that add up to the length of your slide.
Sand all faces of your lumber. Apply one coat of outdoor paint or stain to all surfaces except the glossy face of the composite board. Allow to dry.
Lay one 2-inch by 4-inch beam and one 2-inch by 2-inch beam side by side with the ends aligned. Screw the 2-inch by 2-inch beam in place using one 3-inch wood screw per 12 inches of beam. Repeat to connect the other two beams.
Set the two sets of screwed together beams in place, parallel to each other and about 30 inches apart. They should both rest on the 2-inch faces of both beams, leaving the 4-inch wide beam protruding past the 2-inch wide beam. Set both beams with the 2-inch wide beam on the inside.
Lay the plywood down so that it rests on the lips formed by the 2-inch by 2-inch beams, forming the surface of the slide. Screw it in place with 1 1/4-inch wood screws, driven through the plywood and into the edge of the beam. Drive in one screw in each corner and one screw for every 24 inches of board.
Lay the composite board down on top of the plywood, forming a low-friction surface to slide on. Screw it through the plywood and into the beam with one 1 1/4-inch wood screw per corner and one screw every 16 inches. Drive these screws in so that the head is level with or slightly below the surface of the composite board. Protruding screws can catch and cut sliding bottoms.
Hoist up one end of the slide so that it rests on your starting point. Screw it in place with at least three 3-inch wood screws per side, driven through the protruding section of 2-inch by 4-inch beam and into the surface of your starting area.
Regularly check and maintain the slide. Seasonal warping will happen despite your using pressure treated wood and stain. Warping can push up screws or buckle seams, which can result in bruises, abrasions or even more serious injury.
This plan works best for slides less than eight feet long. For longer slides, a prefabricated model is usually superior, as they use special materials for safety and durability.