An outdoor slide means hours of enjoyment for children. When you build a DIY slide, the kids and their friends can entertain themselves. It's a simple project that can be completed in just a few days for less than $500.
How You'll Make Your DIY Slide
Outdoor slides take a beating from rain, sun, snow, and of course, from all of that play. Most do-it-yourselfers who build outdoor slides generally find it easiest and safest for the kids to purchase a plastic slide, then build a structure to support it.
Plastic slides alone cost about $175 to $250. The DIY slide structure is 16 square feet, measuring 4-foot by 4-foot. Plastic slides mount at 5 feet high, so the deck of the slide structure too will be 5 feet high. This is high enough that you'll need to build balusters and hand railings to keep everyone safe.
Making an Indoor Slide on Stairs
For added fun, you may want an indoor slide, as well. If you have a staircase, you have an indoor slide waiting to be created. All it takes is a sheet of 3/4-inch melamine-faced MDF board, foam pipe insulation, and optional mending plates
How to Make an Indoor DIY Slide
- With a table saw or circular saw, cut the MDF lengthwise to 18 inches wide.
- For a slide longer than 8-foot, cut additional 18-inch sheets.
- Attach the sheets end-to-end with mending plates. Screw the mending plates in place from below.
- Use waste material from the MDF sheet to cut fillers for the small triangle sections created by the stair treads and risers and the slide.
- Attach the stair fillers to the slide from the inside with L-shaped metal corner braces.
- Separate the pipe insulation on the perforation. Fit it over the edge of the slide. Screw it into place from the side.
Equipment / Tools
- Circular saw
- Miter saw
- Cordless drill
- Speed Square
- Bubble level
- Post hole digger
- Flat shovel
- Garden hose
- 4 four-by-fours, each 8-foot
- 6 two-by-sixes
- 20 two-by-fours
- Deck screws
Plan Your DIY Slide
The DIY slide should be located near the house. Maintain a buffer zone of at least 12 feet around the slide structure, since the plastic slide will horizontally extend 80 to 90 inches.
Check for Utilities
Contact your local utility location service. They will visit your yard and mark off vital services with water-soluble paint. This service is usually free.
If the slide is to be located on grass, remove the turf with the flat shovel. Once the turf is gone, use a two-by-four with the bubble level to check for level. Scrape away high areas and add extra dirt to low areas.
Mark Post Locations
Mark the locations of the posts with four stakes located 4 feet away from each other. Check for square by measuring one diagonal against the other.
Use the post hole digger or a power auger to dig four post holes. The holes should be below your area's frost line, typically between 36 and 42 inches. Dig another 4 inches down to accommodate the gravel.
Check with your local building department or permitting office for information about frost line requirements in your area.
Each post hole receives about 4 inches of gravel to promote drainage.
To further prolong the life of the posts, you can use post anchors or brackets set in the concrete, which will raise the posts above the soil to help prevent rot.
Set the 8-foot four-by-fours in the post holes. Add concrete, filling the holes to about 3 inches below ground level. Stabilize each post by staking it to the ground. Use the bubble level to plumb each post.
To stake a post, use two scrap two-by-fours, each about 7 to 8 feet long. Screw one to the side of the four-by-four, about 4 to 5 feet high. Screw in another two-by-four on the adjacent side of the four-by-four. Stake the loose ends of the braces into the ground with improvised stakes. Cut 1-foot scraps of wood into stakes.
Attach Floor Bracing
Cut two of the two-by-sixes in half. Use these four pieces to create a square-shaped brace around the four-by-fours. Make sure that the top of this brace is at the 5-foot level and that it is level all around. There will be excess four-by-four wood above the brace, but you can cut this off after the concrete has hardened.
Add Water to Concrete
Use the garden hose to fill each hole with water. The water will drain through the dry concrete. When each hole is full of water, stop adding water. Wait a day or two for the concrete to harden.
Cut four of the two-by-sixes in half. Install the resulting eight pieces of two-by-sixes flat across the top of the platform. Firmly screw each side into place with three deck screws.
For a smoother surface for bare feet, install a second layer of composite wood flooring across the floor, positioning the composite wood perpendicular to the lower boards.
Attach the slide to the upper bracing, so that the top of the slide matches the level of the flooring.
Make a ladder from two 5-foot two-by-fours as the vertical rails and four 2-foot two-by-fours as rungs. Use screws to construct the ladder. Attach the ladder to the side of the slide structure.
Mount the handrail at least 36 inches high, with vertical balusters running between the floor and bottom of the handrail. Balusters should be no more than 4 inches apart from each other. Leave a cut-out area for the slide and for the ladder. Build the handrail and balusters from two-by-fours.