🏡 Katie’s Treehouse
As we cover how to build a treehouse we will share our successes and mistakes from our own treehouse project. As you will see from the pics the project is mostly a grand success.
Two years ago my brothers Sean and Kevin and I got together to build a treehouse for Sean’s daughter Katie.
It was a great experience. We really had a great time doing it and the place turned out fantastic.
If we had been thinking a little more clearly we would have made the room slightly larger and built the structure in such a way that the tree would not have been smack dab in the middle of the room.
It could have been such a great Airbnb
Still, we did learn a lot about how to build a treehouse and Katie got a fantastic place to call her own.
A place where she writes the rules. Place to hang out with a good book. A place to get away from the big people. A place to share some brownies. Place to share secrets with friends. A place to imagine. Katie’s place.
It looks like something straight out of Cape Cod with the cedar shake shingles.
The interior paint colors are Katie’s pick. Mom helped a little with that too.
Air conditioner is the tell-tale give away that this treehouse is in a tree located in Central Phoenix Arizona.
The a/c and the cedar shakes were not in the original plan, but they had to be included once the suggestions got tossed onto the table.
Something for Mom & Dad
While big people are rarely allowed inside (hey, Katie writes the rules) there is a long-term benefit to the property owners. By building something great instead of something quick and easy the inherent value gets a boost for sure.
Remember, this little place has an air conditioner, lighting, insulation and low e windows. It’s built solid and it’s really beautiful. Everyone loves to look at it.
Anyone with a kid would consider this to be a nice plus for the property. So when the day comes to sell the family home, there will likely be competition for the right to buy the home with the cool treehouse. And competition brings the best price along with very few days on market.
🔨 Steps for How to Build a Treehouse
Tree houses are fun; bonding activities you can do with your friends or family, and can provide a unique and ideal hangout spot surrounded by Mother Nature.
One of the biggest differences in my opinion, between tree houses and other on-ground add-ons you can build on your property, is the fact that a house up in the trees sways – to varying degrees depending on the height and size of the tree and branches – and thus can add a unique and soothing feel.
Building a tree house for the kids is a great way to spend some quality time together and may even teach (heaven forbid) the kids some simple woodworking skills.
It is very exciting when your kids have some skin in the game while participating and learning how to build a tree house.
This article describes how to build a treehouse and some sturdy handrails. Using tools found in most homeowners shops this can be done in a few weekends.
Good Sturdy Tree
First, select the tree where you intend to place the tree house. It need not be a huge tree but should provide some height and good shade.
If you are lucky enough to have a tree with a good three-way crotch to support a platform you are a little ahead but it is not mandatory.
A kid’s playhouse platform or a tree house should be approximately six feet off the ground or so.
You don’t need to get a contractor to do the job for you when you know how to build a treehouse for your kids.
Tree House Materials
Next, using pressure treated lumber you need to form a square platform base around the tree trunk(s).
You do not want to fasten the platform to the tree as drilling, bolting and such can harm the tree itself. The platform will float using the tree limbs for support.
Most often additional leg supports must be added to adequately support the weight of the platform and the kids.
A well-sized lumber to use is two inch by six-inch boards for floor joists or supports. Most contractors who know how to build a treehouse will strongly recommend the use of galvanized wood screws to assemble the floor as screws will take the tree movement and stress much better than nails.
Framing the floor is usually not as simple as the sixteen inches on center typical framing, as the tree trunks will dictate where floor joists can be placed.
By using good framing techniques in the use of headers, hanger clips and so on a sturdy safe floor can be constructed. Once the floor is in place the ladder is next.
Access Ladder or Steps
A pre-made ladder is the simplest but a ladder can be constructed of two by fours, someone by threes, and some screws.
Turning the two by fours on edge, screw someone by three pieces on ten-inch centers to the edges of the two by fours.
These are the steps or rungs. Once done make sure the ladder extends three feet higher past the platform floor for safety.
Now install some short pieces vertically on the flat between the horizontal steps. This will help support the steps or rungs.
The ladder must be securely tied to the platform to prevent tipping. Do not screw the ladder to the platform as the platform is constantly moving with the trees.
Handrails should be strong enough that a 150-pound side load pushed against them will not break the railings. Four by four-inch lumber makes the best support posts. Install them no more than four feet on center and they must be screw lagged or through bolted to the floor framing.
Make the finished railing at least 34 inches high. Depending upon the age of the kids using the tree house, the actual enclosure may be no more than one more two by four as a mid-rail or a full latticework if there are really small ones playing there. Anybody who knows how to build a treehouse knows that a six foot by ten-foot platform can easily accommodate a small house as well. Instead of cutting the four by fours at 34 inches, let them extend up to 48 inches above the platform and they can become two of the corner supports for the house.
Frame | Walls | Roof
Some very simple framing and plywood walls anchored by the two corners four by fours can provide a fort, a house or other great place to hide and play.
If you are inclined and the budget allows. A waterproof roof, some paint, a small door or window or even a bench or two will provide the kids with their own tree house space to play and don’t forget to check out how to maintain a roof.
Katie’s treehouse has a corrugated metal roof. The tree grows through the middle of the structure. It comes up through the floor and passes through the ceiling and roof. That space where the tree exits the roof requires annual maintenance so that water does not leak inside.
The Surrounding Area
A must idea today is to place some plastic wood chips at least six inches deep around the tree house and especially at the bottom of the ladder in case of a slip or fall.
The steps above will guide you on how to build a treehouse for your kids.
Want to Come See Katie’s Treehouse?
Seeing is believing, and sometimes seeing something in person can clear up a lot of questions.
Seriously, if you want to know more about how to build a treehouse there3’s nothing like taking a look at the completed project in the flesh.
I’m more than happy to make the arrangements and talk with you about the process in person.
Building one of these in your yard will not only impact home value, but it will get you major brownie points with your kid.
You can use those points later when they get out of line.
Imagine, being able to remind your kid that you built them a treehouse.
The weight of the guilt is enough to make your parenting job that much easier for light-years to come.
Just Text or Call for your Treehouse Tour
You can get in touch by call or text at 1-480-442-3501.
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