How To Build A Floating Swim Platform

Featured videoWANT TO BUILD A Swim Platform? This is the place to get your free plans and tutorials. You might think that I designed and built this raft for my kids at first, but that’s not entirely true. We live within walking distance of a small lake on (not around) our island house where the raft is moored. When it’s hot enough for the cicadas to sing, plunging down next to this swimming platform brings back childhood memories and a cool refreshing feeling.CLICK TO DOWNLOAD FREE Swim Plans & INSTRUCTION PACKAGESI’ve jumped from a handful of traditional swimming pools over the years and all have had the same problem: slippery, slip-prone wooden decks. That’s why I built this foundation using composite decking material for the top surface. Besides being maintenance-free, it offers a great grip, even when barefoot wet. In fact, this stuff feels great underfoot. I chose Trex for this project because it’s one of the few composites that stand the test of time. Unlike hollow extrusions, solid composites can be routed, fastened, and detailed just like real wood. In my case, the composite deck rests on a pressure-treated, build-grade 2x12s frame that surrounds floating foam billets specially made for use underneath floating docks.Get ready to build this project by collecting the floating foam you need. That is the beginning. Three standard billets support a raft measuring about 6′ x 8′ – large enough for three or four people to use, but small enough to paddle easily back and forth to shore each fall and spring. Lay your foam board down on a flat surface, measure the exact lengths of the workpieces, then cut the frame edges 2×12 and the frame dividers 1” longer. Clamp the panels between the foam sheet, with the frame edges along the outside edges, then measure the overall width of the foam sheet. This number indicates how long it will take you to make the frames finish, the ones that close the rafters and hold all the other 2x12s together. Cut the frame ends to fit (not necessarily planned for this length), then ready to assemble.building swimming platformMy oldest son, Robert, has been creating puzzle pieces to make a raft. Getting kids involved in the construction is a big part of helping them really enjoy the project. Read more: how to convert zoom recording to mp4 on macThe plans show how I (and my kids) carve a 2×4 bottom strip into the bottom edges of the frame dividers. While this is more difficult than just tying a leash to the bottom of the frame, it does make for a sturdier raft that’s easier to pull ashore in the fall. Before you cut notches, compare the width of the frame edges and the thickness of your foam workpiece. Some brands of billets are so thick that you will need to use 1×4 bottom straps instead of 2×4. Ideally, you want the top surface of the foam board to be level with the top edges of the wood frame, but no higher than that. Fasten the frame components together with stainless steel or hot-dip galvanized deck screws. Fit the foam in place making sure each workpiece goes down far enough to clean the top edges of the frame. I had to dig holes in the bottom of the foam where the lanyard pieces ran out to make this for my raft. The foam I have is a bit high compared to 2x12s.Even with the bottom strap secured, you’ll need to tie the swim line together for it to last. Frequent slamming by waves and winds is difficult for any floating structure, but it is especially difficult when mooring chains are involved. You can’t just tie a piece of leash to the side of the raft and expect it to stay tight. I found that several 1/2” plated steel threaded rods combined together proved to be ideal for securing the raft frame and providing a place to catch the anchor chain. Drill and fit the tie rod into the center of the raft along the bottom edge, just below the foam board. The video tutorial shows what I mean.raft below jacobMy youngest son, Jacob, is ready to enjoy the raft as we build it. Notice how the threaded rod goes the correct width of the rafters. The screws in the corners alone won’t be enough to hold the raft together under the pulsating waves.There are two main downsides to solid wood composite decking. It is more expensive than solid wood and a lot heavier. To get around the weight issue, I pre-cut the composite panel and routed the ends, but didn’t mount it until I transported the raft to the water’s edge, due to the weight. Once the board is in place, the raft will be very difficult to lift, even with four solid backs in the work. The raft will likely find a permanent home wherever you install composite decking. Read more: how to change the merge scene | Top Q&AThe first year our swimming platform floated, it didn’t have a ladder because I wanted to keep the design simple. But complaints from the swimming platform’s older patrons eventually resulted in a salvaged stainless steel pool ladder being added to the side. As I have discovered, installing a sturdy ladder is not as simple as you might imagine: you need to securely support both the top and bottom ends. Finally, I locked the top ends of the ladder into the holes drilled into a piece of Trex, then used U-bolts to secure the bottom end of the ladder to another piece of Trex. These top and bottom pieces are bolted to the side and deck of the raft, creating a rock-solid construction. The entire ladder with its Trex pieces will pop open when it’s time to pull the raft in during the winter. I could have left the wood frame bare, but I chose a proven outdoor finish. After sanding the outer sides of the frame with an 80 grit abrasive, I applied two coats of Sikkens Cetol 1 dark oak. It looks great and fits Trex perfectly.

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Words about Anchor for Swimming Platform

anchor raft captainWe call this happy guy Mr. Anchor. It was a 5-gallon bucket filled with concrete and fitted with large eye bolts to the concrete. Threaded shafts with nuts and washers extend down from the metal circles you’ve seen, holding firmly in the concrete.Any swimming platform needs a lot of weight to keep it from drifting, but a 20-liter bucket filled with grout will suit calm pools. Place a washer with nuts and washers in the mortar when soft, then let it sit for a few days before putting the anchor into use.In addition to a giant anchor, you need a leash. Less than 24 hours after I set this raft afloat for the first time, the 5/8” nylon mooring line was removed from the mortar-filled bucket on the bottom of the lake, placing the raft on top. Now I know that a chain is essential, not for strength reasons, but because the threaded links hold it securely to the rafters and anchors won’t break. Rope! When purchasing a necklace, get enough to accommodate maximum water depth plus maximum bulge height plus six feet. Chain with 3/16” thick links makes sense .WSee the list of materials for this swimming raft project? Click here to download the full plan and instruction pack. Learn more about how to build this project in the video tour above. Read more: how to structure mesh clothes in the second life

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