Sandbox bottom?


I am wondering what to use as the floor of my new sandbox that is under the kids play system. It is 5' x 5'. Do I want to use landscape fabric, or make a wood floor? Thanks for the advice. Also, anyone have any opinions on where to buy sand for the box? How much sand will be needed to fill a 25 sqft box? What depth should I fill to?
Thanks! Rob
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You might think about some kind of cover for it. Or the neighborhood cats may decide to use it for a litter box.
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rob wrote:

When my father was planning on some cement work around the house he had a dump truck load of coarse masonry type sand dumped on my sandbox. That pile must have been six feet high and the sandbox was probably five by ten feet. It was great!
By the time all the cement work was done that had dwindled to about a foot deep. But it was still _much_ better sand than the stuff commonly sold for sandboxes. It 'stacked' better when moist. I used to quarry under the dried sand to get the stuff that was still moist ot use for walls and bridges and such, stuff you couldn't make with the sanbox sand.
OTOH, the sand sold for sandboxes is supposed to be sterile, I'm quite sure the stuff dumped on mine was not. Yes, the cats used it. It was easy to spot where they had buried their poop to excavate it and toss it out in the yard. Again, not very sanitary but those were more naive times.
--

FF


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Back when people had real immune systems.

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"Ah! The Good Ol' Days..."
My Grandmother, born in the late 1800's used to hear that and say "You know, they weren't that good."
She was a Nurse in WWI and had seen too many 1918 Spanish Flu cases.
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When I built my daughter's sandbox (she's 17 now), I had purchased a hardware kit from home depot. It included bracket/fasteners and a colorful roof/awning for shade, etc., and then the builder buys the lumber separately from the included materials list. I don't recall it having any kind of floor, though. I do remember that I took some time carefully placing the empty sandbox before filling it, so that the sides were all in contact with the ground all the way around (scooping away dirt and/or building up and/or shimming as necessary) so that it was stable. Landscape fabric would seem like a good idea though. Home Depot actually sells 50 lb. bags of "playground sand." It is very fine sand, and of course, nothing was too good for my little girl! Can't remember how many bags it took but there are ways of calculating this. It was not expensive.
BTW, I agree with the poster who advised you to construct a cover for it. Otherwise the sand gets pretty "yucky" pretty quickly. Enjoy the project and when you're done don't forget to take the time to play in the sandbox with your kids.
Brad
rob wrote:

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Odd timing - I'm just starting that project too. Tired of the kids using the Garden as the "DMZ" or Thomas-the-Tank-Engine-Desert-of-Doom...
Norm's got an approach outlined in one of his books, but I plan on doing a wood planked floor, then landscape fabric so the water has a place to drain.
There *are* concerns now of the types of sand you put into the box. Whether you buy the arguments or not - it should make sense to a woodworker that any sand that has "dust potential to irritate a little one's lungs" should probably be avoided. I found this link http://www.safesand.com/information.htm , but no endorsement of the content from me.
We're going to use pea gravel. But there are sands out there targeted for sandboxes. Low silica content sands.
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[...]

Dry sand is rather boring, as it does not allow to build anything, and moist sand does not give off any dust.
[...]

I'd like to see you (and hear) build a pea gravel castle...
When I was a little child I had no posh sandbox but an area of easy to work muddy earth below a large hazel bush; shady, moist, and fun.
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:)
Point taken - if they wish a sand stronghold, there's the neighborhood park across the path with a hectare of sand!

That's precisely my point... I do reject your (guised) assertion that I'm deriving my children of some sort of tactile, infantile right of passage! :)
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I don't know what depth you or your kids might want, but here are a couple of numbers from "Handyman In Your Pocket". Dry sand weighs 100 pounds per cubic foot. So your 5x5 box at a convenient one foot deep would take 2500 pounds of dry sand (pretty close to one cubic yard [27 cubic feet and 2700 pounds]). Wet sand weighs 120 lbs/ft3, loose sand weighs 90.
Regards, PDX David
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Personally, I would use landscape fabric, as it would keep the weeds/etc from growing up into the sandbox, as well as allowing good drainage
John

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The problem with landscape fabric is that it's not very durable. As soon as your kid gets the idea that he can dig to China, he'll tear right through the fabric and end up with a muddy mess in the sand box. (Don't ask me how I know this!!!) I'd build a bottom out of heavy plastic or treated plywood with plenty of drainage holes. You might consider using that plastic lattice they sell in 4x8 sheets. That would probably keep junior from penetrating into the mud below, but would allow for plenty of drainage.
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I used black plastic. 2x8 frame, formed the plastic over the edges, pouring the sand in to fit it to the bottom of the frame, then screwed 1x2 to the top to hold it.
Ours was about the same square footage, and I filled it to the top of the 2x8 with dry sand. The kids will get the hose into it and the sand will compact. In hindsight, I'd use heavy landscape fabric to allow the water to drain better. I had to punch holes through the plastic the first time the kids turned it into "the beach".
Consider a top of some kind to keep the cat poop out. I bought a cheap tarp and built a multi-piece frame from 1x2 and angle brackets, hinged it together so it was a foldable unit that fit over the top. Easy to get on and off, kept the rain out somewhat, and definitely kept the cats from using it as a litter box.
I bought bags of play sand at the local lumber yard, but I don't have a pick-me-up truck. 25 square feet is just under three square yards so if you fill to 8 inches call it half a cubic yard to be safe. The guys at the lumber yard will help you calculate and you can buy a couple of extra bags. There's always a use for sand.
The advantage of the playbox sand is that it's clean and I used the two bags I had left over to weigh down the lathe stand I built shortly after the sandbox. <g>
Hope that helps...
djb
djb
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On Tue, 02 Aug 2005 21:48:44 -0600, Dave Balderstone

With the desert environment, haven't had to use anything to keep stuff from growing in the sandbox.
... snip

That's what the dog is for :-) Well, that and burying things like her dog dish in the sand.
+--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+ If you're gonna be dumb, you better be tough +--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
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Mark & Juanita wrote:

I never had that problem in NE Ohio either. If the sandbox gets much use, the kids will keep the weeds pulled. I like the idea of a lattice to keep them from digging into the dirt. I always stopped at the dirt, but some might not.

Some have suggested a top that raises to provide a sunshade. One supposes it would be prudent to design it so it cannot fall hard on the kids by accident, like if (someone else's of course) kid decides to climb on top and jump up and down.
--

FF


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On 3 Aug 2005 07:44:11 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@spamcop.net wrote:

I did the plastic bottom also. I figured out that yeah, you had to poke a goodly number of holes in the bottom for drainage. I have never had anything grow out of the sand (it is kept covered when not used), but have had an enourmous number of roots grow up through the holes and into the sand. I guess it is a lot easier to get water etc. in the sand than in the rather hard clayish soil under it. My comments would be to ensure good drainage away from the sandbox with maybe a below grade level layer of pea gravel or other means to ensure the water drains away from the sand. Then I would use the landscape fabric in the bottom of the box before filling with sand.
Dave Hall

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I had a similar thought. "That's what the BB gun is for."
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Well, thanks for all the advice. I went with the heavy duty landscape fabric for the bottom and I think it will do nicely. Now to get a nice cover for it. The kids were playing as I was finishing building so I think it will be a hit. I dropped 15 bags of the play sand in and will add another 10-15 I think .
Thanks folks! Rob
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