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  1. #1
    magge is offline Bronze level (10+ posts)
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    Default Costco 2008 Sunray vs Sam's Club Trading Post

    Hello,

    We have almost 3 year old twins, and have been researching wooden swing sets. From these posts, I see that a lot of people like the Costco Sunray (which is made by Rainbow?) and the Sam's Club Trading Post or Look-Out (made by CedarWorks?). How have people decided between the two? Both are natural wood, correct? But my understanding is that the Sunray would need to be stained yearly for water resistance.

    I read through many previous posts, but I am wondering if anyone has the new Costco Sunray for 2008 and how they like it. It looks like the tower is mostly closed, which I'm not sure is good or bad thing. I like to be able to see the kids when they are in there (although at this age someone will be with them anyway). I also didn't know if it would take a long time to dry inside after a rain and whether it would become musty.

    Also, for those that have the CedarWorks models, is it really "no maintenance"? Also, if you have had it a few years, can you tell me what color it is? For me, personally, I like the darker woods better. I'm okay with the light Cedar, but in the catalogue it says that it become a grey color in a few years.

    Sorry for the long post and all of the questions. I'd appreciate anyone's advice.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Long Island, NY
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    3

    Default Sunray help

    Hi magge-

    My area of expertise, so hopefully this will help you. I am a professional swingset installer on Long Island, NY- and have installed over 230 Sunray Premium Playgrounds since 2004- when they first appeared in the Costco stores. I moderate a forum that deals specifically with the Sunray Premium Playground, and all things "swingset". Here is the link to the site: http://www.charette.com/phpbb/index.php

    Your twins are the perfect age for the Sunray- it is recommended for ages 3-11. I have found that younger children love this set, and I personally believe in this price range, there is not a better swingset on the market. I'll point out that I do not work for Sunray/Costco/Rainbow, so my opinion is unbiased. Sunray is actually owned by Rainbow, and the Sunrays are manufactured across the street from the main Rainbow factory in South Dakota. I have installed 2 sets this year already, and you are correct- the clubhouse is enclosed. The enclosed clubhouse is a new feature, as is the rope ladder on the rear of the set. On the forum, there are links to photos of the new 2008, so you can get a better idea of what it looks like in someone's yard.
    With regard to maintenance- EVERY wood swingset will require some degree of maintenance (and if a salesperson tells you otherwise, they are lying)- that is just the nature of wood. The Sunray set is made with redwood/red cedar and cypress, and does require yearly maintenance. If you can use a paint-brush, then you can easily brush on the sealant. Also- depending on what part of the country you are in; if the weather is mild, you may not have to reseal the set every year- you can probably reseal the set every 16 months. The other swingsets you mention that are also wood- they need regular maintenance also.
    Visit the site I mentioned, and you'll at first be overwhelmed- but you should be able to find more than enough information to help you make an good choice.

  3. #3
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    Default

    I'm trying to decide between these 2 as well. I haven't seen the Trading Post in person and the pictures I've found are only of the front. Has anyone seen it. . . are there handles on the sides of the 2 ladders? The Sunray has safety handles and I'm thinking that might help the littler ones when they are climbing up. I've got a 4.5 YO, a 2.5 YO and a newborn so I'll have small climbers for a few years yet.

    Also, the 2nd tower of the Trading Post seems rather small and hard to get down from for a little guy. Does anyone find that to be the case?

  4. #4
    WatchingThemGrow is offline Pink Diamond level (15,000+ posts)
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    Default

    We have the CedarWorks Lookout and treating it slipped our minds last fall when the new baby was on the way. It is showing some signs of graying, but we really like it.

    The PP asked about handles on the ladder, and ours - the smaller set- does not have them. That didn't stop 13 mo. old DD from learning how to climb it, though. We probably should let her practice coming down it, but she goes immediately for the slide and goes "wheeeeee" all the way down.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    Default

    If you decide to install the Sunray. I highly recommend using an impact gun. This will make the job much easier.

  6. #6
    bubbaray's Avatar
    bubbaray is offline Blue Diamond level (20,000+ posts)
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    Default

    We actually saw a Sunray set *at* a Rainbow center last weekend. The sales rep said that the one Rainbow sells is to compete with the Costco Sunray set and NOT to compete with the Rainbow sets, because the quality is not the same. And, when we looked at it, it clearly wasn't. He said it comes in a billion little pieces and safety things like the ladder aren't pre-assembled like they are on the Rainbow sets. The Rainbow installation crews are refusing to install the Sunray sets apparently b/c they are a PITA. Not sure if that is the case everywhere, but apparently this is the case with the WA state Rainbow guys.

    We purchased (and DH is installing himself) the Rainbow Fiesta set. Its really nice. Basic and small, but that's all we have room for anyway. DD#1 is over the moon.

    ETA: We paid less for the Fiesta Gym than we would have for the Sunray that the Rainbow place was selling. So the guy wasn't making money off of selling us a less expensive product.
    Last edited by bubbaray; 05-15-2008 at 12:36 AM.
    Melissa

    DD#1: April 2004
    DD#2: January 2007

    "My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world." Jack Layton 1950 - 2011

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Long Island, NY
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    Default

    Hi Melissa-

    The Rainbow people are telling you this for one very specific reason- they do not make nearly as much money on the Sunray, after they have to pay 2 guys to install it, as they do other Rainbow sets.
    Keep in mind- the reason there are a "billion little pieces" (not really, but there are a lot of parts) is because the Sunray is a boxed kit. When you purchase a larger, more expensive Rainbow set, the reason the parts are preassembled as you mentioned is that the installers are picking up these preassembled pieces from a warehouse- it has nothing to do with safety.
    I have installed a more than a few of the 2008 Sunray Premium Playgrounds, and can honestly tell you- from someone that does not work for, or have any affiliation with Costco, Sunray or Rainbow- the Sunray is a fantastic set for the money, and a very sturdy one at that.
    Oh- the real reason the "installers" downplay the Sunray at Rainbow? It's not easy to install, and takes attention to detail. For them, this means the average Rainbow swingset they install that takes 4-5 hours will be a lot longer with the Sunray.
    By the way- before the Rainbow sets you/I/they mentioned are assembled at the warehouses, those sets are also in a "billion little pieces" at birth.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Long Island, NY
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    Exclamation

    As an experienced installer, I do not recommend using an electric impact gun for the Sunray assembly.
    Using a good quality, cordless drill is much easier for the average homeowner that undertakes this job.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    Default

    Impact guns are very easy to use. My 11 year old nephew helped me and my brother last weekend with a project. He had never used an impact gun before and had no problems with it. Impact guns make the job a lot easier.

  10. #10
    bubbaray's Avatar
    bubbaray is offline Blue Diamond level (20,000+ posts)
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by scottlwill
    Hi Melissa-

    The Rainbow people are telling you this for one very specific reason- they do not make nearly as much money on the Sunray, after they have to pay 2 guys to install it, as they do other Rainbow sets.
    Keep in mind- the reason there are a "billion little pieces" (not really, but there are a lot of parts) is because the Sunray is a boxed kit. When you purchase a larger, more expensive Rainbow set, the reason the parts are preassembled as you mentioned is that the installers are picking up these preassembled pieces from a warehouse- it has nothing to do with safety.
    I have installed a more than a few of the 2008 Sunray Premium Playgrounds, and can honestly tell you- from someone that does not work for, or have any affiliation with Costco, Sunray or Rainbow- the Sunray is a fantastic set for the money, and a very sturdy one at that.
    Oh- the real reason the "installers" downplay the Sunray at Rainbow? It's not easy to install, and takes attention to detail. For them, this means the average Rainbow swingset they install that takes 4-5 hours will be a lot longer with the Sunray.
    By the way- before the Rainbow sets you/I/they mentioned are assembled at the warehouses, those sets are also in a "billion little pieces" at birth.

    We purchased the Rainbow Fiesta (their smallest model) and installed it ourselves, so either way they weren't going to make or lose money on the install. My DH is very handy -- he's reno'd and built houses -- and he said he was happy we went with the Rainbow if the Sunray is more finicky to install. I don't doubt that there was a sales reason to downplay the Sunray that Rainbow was selling, but to my untrained eye (and DH's civil & structural engineer eye), the Rainbow set looked to be much better quality than the Sunray. I could be wrong, but we did compare them side by side on the same lot. And, the Rainbow toddler swing is nicer than the Sunray one, which DD#2 almost fell out of at the lot. The Rainbow one is solid plastic, like the commercial ones. The Sunray one is half plastic, with a buckle waist strap but no crotch strap. Seemed very unsafe.
    Melissa

    DD#1: April 2004
    DD#2: January 2007

    "My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world." Jack Layton 1950 - 2011

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