Monday, March 19, 2012

Basement Slide

What? A basement slide? I've come up with all sorts of silly ideas and projects. Typically once I describe the ideas to Christina she's pretty straightforward about giving it a green light or a red light. When I mentioned I wanted to cut a hole in a wall to use as an entrance to a slide into our basement I didn't get the immediate "no" I expected. In fact, she said it sounded cool and asked I show her what I was thinking. Recently one of my old college roommates was in town and we bounced a few ideas around on how to make it work.

Fast forward four days and the above basement wall had a 23 x 18" hole cut (just to the right of the stairs, level with the landing) and I put blocking in place to support mounting a 10' slide.

The landing is off the kitchen and connects to the basement stairs and to an exterior door on the side of the house. Although it took a bit to clear it all out, I was never worried about doing any structural damage.

I researched different slides for about a week. Sheet metal slides are typically custom made and more expensive. They also require more upkeep and framing. Plastic appeared the best bet. The range in pricing and quality was pretty big though. Menards, Do It Best Hardware, Toys R Us all carry three generic slides. A tube, wave, and straight slide in two pieces. At one point I thought about buying a used playground set on craigslist and just using the slide in the basement, then setting up the rest at my father-in-law's or donating it. Then I found the top quality Rainbow Play Systems brand (showroom above) had a 40% off sale ending in a couple days. I took an afternoon off work to drive out and buy the slide.

Pretty tight fit in the Honda. The sales rep was pretty funny about everything one he realized he couldn't upsell me on other stuff. As I left he said, "You're a good dad."

Here is the entrance to the slide. We attached soft batting underneath that black "pleather" so that it would be like a cushion in case kids bumped their heads out of the shoot. We're also thinking about painting a sign on the wall to the left of the entrance.
Christina painted a super fun mural on the basement wall. Above is the mural in progress. She used all the leftover paint samples from when we couldn't decide on walls colors for upstairs.

Lots of trim work, cutting, sanding, painting, and caulking later, I attached the slide and we were ready to go for one excited little rider.

An adult can fit through the hole and the slide can hold up to 350 lbs, but this is really just for kids. Right now Harriet needs us to hold her as it is pretty fast moving. I'm sure it won't be long before she'll stop going down the stairs all together. At least until she's 8 or I install the fireman's pole (just kidding).


Becca said...

Wow. Once again, you two raise the bar WAY up top of the slide level! This is so great - brilliant idea. The slide in the Honda is awesome.

Louise said...


Kelyn said...

Love this idea!! Am looking at making it work for my basement. Can you tell me, did you have a stud in the middle of your opening? If so, can you tell me what you did to take care of this problem. For instance, did you put in a header of some kind to support the top part of the stud?

What did you put at the top of the slide to cover the opening between your two walls? Looks like maybe it was some type of baseboard or floor trim? Thanks for the fun idea!!