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How to Build a Tree House

Ashwini Kulkarni Sule
If you have a free weekend ahead and you cannot think of anything better to do with it, then building a tree house with your kids is a fantastic option. Here's your guide on how to build a tree house.
A tree house can serve both as an adult recreational area as well as kids' playhouse. Kids are absolutely crazy about tree houses as they offer them a secret lair of their own. On the other hand, even adults find tree house a cozy place to spend evenings. Hence, if you have large trees in your yard, you should probably think about building your own tree house. Building a tree house is a job which you can finish within a day, with a little help from your kids, which they would be so willing to lend.

Selecting a Tree

Safety and stability are the foremost factors to be considered while selecting a tree. Select a mature tree that has a tendency to grow horizontally. The tree should be sturdy enough to support the load of the tree house in addition to that of its occupants. Trees such as oak, fir, beech and maple are great choices for building tree houses.
Check if the tree can support the whole of the tree house on its own, or you need to provide extra support with the help of posts. The tree can serve as one of the posts or you can have four posts as tree house legs with the tree supporting the center of the house.

Design of the Tree House

Make an accurate design plan of the tree house, just the way you would make for an actual house. Take proper measurements and plot them on a graph paper. This avoids further miscalculations. The three main components of a tree house are the foundation, posts and the rest of the structure.
The basic functionality of the foundation and posts is to provide safety and strength to the tree house. Hence, always settle for the toughest material for building these two, without worrying about the look of the tree house. The side railings and the roof structure is where you can unleash your creativity to make the tree house picturesque.
Also, do not forget to check your building bylaws and local codes for building a tree house.

You can take a look at the images given below to get ideas regarding the design of the tree house.

Building a Tree House

Once you have finalized upon the design, it's time to collect the tools and material for your tree house. The tree house is pretty inexpensive to build on your own, and the tools and material are also easily available.
  • Hammer
  • Saw
  • Measuring tape
  • Ladder
  • Framing wood
  • Plywood
  • Bolts
  • Metal corner brackets

Steps for Building a Tree House

After you are ready with tools and material, follow the steps given below
  • Start by building the platform and erecting the posts. Mount the beams on the platform with the help of bolts. Set the bolts at least 12 inches from each other. 
Secure the platform near the trunk of the tree with diagonal bracing, such as galvanized or stainless steel fasteners. Check if the platform is equally balanced on the tree so as to prevent it from swaying.
  • Fix the exterior plywood sheets on the platform. Make sure there are no visible gaps between the sheets of the plywood as well as between the floor and the platform.
  • Build the side railings and the structure of the walls. Try using the prefabricated structures of the frames and walls wherever possible, and then hoist them up to their position.
  • Provide appropriate access. You can use a rope ladder or a wooden ladder.
  • Adorn your tree house with paint coat, carpet and light fixtures.
Building a tree house can be great fun for your kids, and even more fun for them to play inside it. Just make sure your tree house is sturdy and safe for your kids to play in, so that they can merrily spend their time playing in it without you having to worry about them.