Often people would find used playsets on Craigslist, etc. and assume they were a good deal. The truth of the matter is that most of these playsets are often well over 10 years old. The hardware is virtually always rusted with many screws and bolts needing to be replaced. This is more labor and material cost.
Often times much of the wood that has had any contact with the ground is rotted. This means a trip to the lumber store for the raw materials needed to make the replacement pieces. This is more material and labor cost.
All this including the price that you may have paid for the used playset, the labor to dismantle it, to transport it, to repair it, to reassemble it, to refinish it, all of a sudden may have you wishing that you simply purchased a new playset.
When does it make sense to acquire a used playset? When it is free when you do the work to dismantle it, to move it, to repair it, to reassemble it, and to refinish it yourself. You’ll find that that time and expense along was more enough for most used playsets and the only reason that is can become a good deal.
If you get a free one and virtually do all of the work yourself it is somewhat rewarding and can be a great deal given that it can give great satisfaction that you did it all yourself saving a lot of cash and provided a nice thing for your children or grandchildren in my case.
The playset in the inset is a used Cedarworks brand playset that is indeed a high quality, American made playset, that is made with Northeastern White Cedar. These sets are quite expensive new and can be a great deal used for the right price including all the added costs to get it play-ready in your yard.
The ad for this particular playset stated that if cost over $8,500.00 new. They were asking for $2,500.00 OBO. This is probably not a good deal even if you were able to provide all the labor yourself. You are looking at a lot of work to dismantle this set, not to mention trips, whatever distance you need to travel and then reassembly.
You can see in this picture to the right, that the cross members that connect the base of the ladder to the angled stabilizers are below ground level. You can bet that these are now rotted. This will be the case everywhere this playsets wooden components are buried below ground level.
They stated that cedar cannot rot in their ad. I assume that this is simply ignorance n their part and not dishonesty. While cedar does very goof above ground, all wood rots over time, especially below ground level, which includes cedar, redwood and even pressure treated wood.
If you were to acquire this set for perhaps $500.00 and had a truck or trailer to transport it, had a friend to help, did not have to travel too far, did all the work yourself, including replacing any bad rotted hardware or cedar, and reassembly. The perhaps either power washed it or stained it, or both, you could have a great sense of satisfaction and a good deal.
However if you paid the asking price of $2.500.00, paid for someone to disassemble it, transport it and everything else, adding the cost of all the parts that needed to be replaced, then refinishing to look nice, you would have been better off buying the set new in my opinion.
Incidentally, here’s a CedarWorks playset that we repaired and reassembled last year, and then stained. It came out looking pretty nice. However we did not disassemble or transport it, and we also assembled it with no instructions. You can also see that it is missing the canopy on the larger tower. These are usually the first things to go due to weathering.