Building a Treehouse

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Intro: Building a Treehouse

Step 1: Installing the Beams

Lag two sets of beams to the tree using a 3/4 diameter x 10" lag screw. The top set of beams will be the floor height of your treehouse. Try to to drill the pilot holes as straight and level as possible. Next install the perimeter beams to the top set o beams and square them up using the 3,4,5 rule. Once the frame is square install your floor joist.

Step 2: Level the Platform

Level your platform by getting the floor somewhat level then mount a long 2x4 on one corner and go to the next corner and level that beam and install another 2x4. The longer the level the better. Now one of the four perimeter beams is level and continue to work your way around all the sides, temporarily installing the 2x4's.

Step 3: Install the Knee Braces

Once the platform is level you are ready to install the permanent braces that will support the treehouse. I used two 2x6's screwed together and cut at 45 degree angles. You can pick up some "hold down" brackets to mount to the tree with another 3/4" lag.

Step 4: Install the Decking

This is the best part of the project because you will be able to stand on the platform when this step is complete. To install the deck boards start at one end and let the boards hang over the edge long ways so you can make a clean cut with a circular saw at the end. Use a carpenters pencil for spacing your boards. When you get to the tree, use a compass with a pencil spaced about two inches out so to give room for the tree to grow and move in the wind.

Step 5: Frame and Install the Walls

Frame your walls on the ground. Account for the thickness of your siding when taking measurements for the walls. Install your siding on the ground at this time as well. Make sure two of your wall siding will overlap the ends of the walls they will be touching. When you are ready to put your walls up, rig a pully high in the tree to pull the walls up to the platform. Get some friends over to help you at this point. The walls will be heavy.

Step 6: Frame the Roof

To get the roof started determine how much of a slope you want on your roof. I used a 4:12 for the rise and run and this was a good slope to stand on while doing the shingles. Blocklayer.com is a great web site for figuring roof rafters and gable overhangs. Once you get the height of the rafters you can put up the center roof beam by making a temporary support to hold it in place until you get the rafters on. When your rafters are all on lay down the plywood for the roof an leave a good 2 and 1/2" space around the tree so it can sway in the wind without hitting the roof. I used shingles cut in half to seal around the tree and shingled the rest of the roof like normal.

Step 7: Add Access Ladder and Doors

I made the door out of t&g pine. For the ladder I used treated wood since it is in contact with the soil. The steps are spaced 10" apart to make it easier for little legs to climb it.

Step 8: Install Railing and Enjoy

The railing is 36" high and the balusters are 4" apart. I made a jig out of a scrap piece of wood cut to 4" to speed up the installing process and to make sure they are all spaced evenly. Start in the middle and just screw in all the tops of the balusters using your jig for proper spacing. Then go back and level out the middle piece and screw it in then you can use the jig off of that for all the bottoms.

4 People Made This Project!

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35 Discussions

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Papastree

Question 7 weeks ago on Step 1

Can you tell me the outside dimensions of this tree house?

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lincolnjbrown

3 months ago

Great treehouse!

But how much did this cost? I'm thinking about building this but I am worried about the cost.

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Taylor3000

Question 4 months ago on Step 3

This is a big help. One question though: Do you only use one holdown bracket for the knee braces and then tie the two 2x6s together?

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KeithD2bloomie972

Reply 5 months ago

I am in the middle of building my tree house in a similar manner as yours. How is yours doing after 5 years? Did you leave any space between the floor joists that are lagged and the tree? I made some steel hangers to keep my joists and knee braces 3 inches from the tree to allow room for the tree to grow. I am curious how much actual growth I can expect (the internet indicates about .1 inches of diameter per year for a Hickory) and would be interested in seeing what your attachment points look like 5 years later.

Framing.jpg
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HaroldH15136ZFG

Reply 1 year ago

It appears you used a single 2x6 and not a double mentioned in the plans. How has this worked out for you?

Is that a standard hanger or something stronger?

Are all your supports 45 degrees?

I need to know how to cut the top side where the brace connects to the floor joists. Did you make a compound cut? How do you do that?

Harold Hawken

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Wanttobuilt

1 year ago

I just found this website a few months ago and I loved the tree house. It inspired me to built one for my kids.
Thanks a bunch!!!!

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beano8

2 years ago

This is fantastic. Would you be able to describe how you attached the knee braces to the corners of the inside corners of the platform? That would be a huge help.

Thanks!

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136ZFGbeano8

Reply 2 years ago

I'm in the middle of building a treehouse with this as the base for my blueprint. Here is the key piece for the brace. I put one 2x6 on the slot with two more on either side for added structural support. I'm not a doctor but so far so good.

https://www.menards.com/main/tools-hardware/fasteners-fastener-accessories/structural-connectors-reinforcements/structural-hold-downs/hold-downs/usp-structural-connectors-2-1-2-x-9-3-8-holdown/p-1444445531014-c-8852.htm?tid=-6496288680977047586

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chiltonj.beano8

Reply 2 years ago

I have exactly the same question in addition to where do I find the knee brace hold down brackets? The kind that will bolt to the tree and will hold two 2x8's together. Thanks.

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Gooli5

2 years ago

This is Great!

One question: what are the sizes of the wood used for the railing? (both vertical posts and horizontal long beams)?

Thanks!

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focalpointmedia

3 years ago

First off... Fantastic work!

I'm curious what the dimensions (thickness/width/length) are of the lumber you used, specifically for the beams and the platform. We'd like to build an exact replica of your treehouse as it seems to be an ideal size.

Thank you for sharing!

I absolutely love tree houses! Whether it is real solid wood in real life, or virtual wood in a game. If I ever get a tree big/strong enough to build a tree house such as this, I would! Thanks for the tutorial!

http://www.markslandscape.com.au/

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vincent7520

5 years ago on Introduction

Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice !!!…

You make me want to live on a tree !…

Thanks for posting.

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stevedawg

5 years ago

I've been wanting a treehouse for a long time really cool thanks for sharing

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bloomie972

5 years ago

@ratmax @stefwill
You could always use an old utility pole. It would be easier to work on for one thing. :-)