How Much Does It Cost to Build a Sandbox?
Building a Sandbox at a Glance
- Wood and screws: $150
- Landscape fabric: $30
- Play sand: $5 per bag
Sandboxes are a great feature for any backyard playground. You can purchase a premade plastic sandbox and fill it with sand — though as your little ones grow, you may want to create a bigger space for them to play in. Luckily, a wooden sandbox is a pretty simple DIY project.
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Thinking about adding a sandbox to your yard? Here’s how much it might cost you.
Building a Sandbox: Cost Factors
According to This Old House, you can make a very basic sandbox for about $200. The final cost depends on the materials you choose, the size of the sandbox and how much sand you’ll need to fill it.
In order to figure out how much it might cost you to build a sandbox, start by making a materials list. To build an 8-foot by 8-foot sandbox, you will need:
- Wood screws
- Landscape fabric
- Construction glue
- Play sand
Keep in mind that you might have to purchase more than what's on this list, especially if you don't have the proper tools to complete the job. In terms of tools, you’ll need a circular saw, drill and driver bits, a dust mask and hearing protection.
In this cost guide, we'll break down what you might expect to pay for each major material listed above. To help you determine the cost, let’s assume we’re building an 8-foot by 8-foot sandbox.
Wood and Wood Screws
The type of wood you choose for the sandbox is important. It's typically best to choose a type rated for outdoor use. Otherwise, the wood won't last long when exposed to moisture and dirt. Insect resistance is also something you should consider.
Cedar is a great choice because of its pest-resistant properties, but it's on the pricier side. It also tends to be a softer wood, so corner bracing would be optimal for a cedar sandbox. Other good choices include white oak or black locust, although black locust is quite hard and would need to have predrilled holes. Whatever type of wood you choose, it may be a good idea to seal it yourself to shield it further from the elements. Construction adhesive and wood screws are also necessary for binding pieces of wood together.
To build our hypothetical 8-foot by 8-foot sandbox, we’re using:
- Eight 8-foot sections of 1-inch by 6-inch cedar boards at $13 each = $104
- Four 8-foot sections of 1-inch by 3-inch cedar boards at $10 each = $40
- 1 package of 3-inch exterior (deck) screws = $10
Based on these estimates, the wood and screws together come to a little over $150. You may pay more or less if you use a different type of wood.
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Installing landscape fabric at the bottom of your sandbox can help with drainage. It’ll also prevent weeds from growing up through the sand. Taking this extra step during sandbox construction is important for the longevity of your sandbox. It also makes the playing experience safer and more enjoyable for your children.
A 50-foot roll of landscape fabric that’s 6 feet wide costs $30. This is plenty of material to cover the inside of an 8-foot by 8-foot sandbox, although pieces will have to be cut to fit properly.
Play sand may be the most expensive part of this DIY project. This type of sand comes prepackaged. It's typically washed river sand, so it has a smooth texture. At most home improvement stores — such as Lowe's — one 50-pound bag of play sand costs around $5. Prices vary depending on the store you go to and where you live.
To figure out how much sand you need, you’ll have to calculate the volume of your sandbox. Multiply the length by the width by the height in feet. In this case, an 8-foot by 8-foot sandbox with a 1-foot depth equals 64 cubic feet.
According to Hunker, one 50-pound bag of play sand fills about half a cubic foot of space. You don’t necessarily need to fill the sandbox all the way to the top. To fill it halfway, you’ll need about 64 bags of sand. If you want to fill it completely, you’ll need 128 bags of sand.
So, if a 50-pound bag of sand costs about $5, the cost calculation would be as follows:
- 64 bags x $5 = $320
- 128 bags x $5 = $640
You can also purchase play sand in bulk, which might save you money — and a backache — depending on how many 50-pound bags of sand you would need.
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