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How to Build Your Own Dream Treehouse

by CustomHomes on Friday, September 29, 2017

build dream treehouseAs children, many of us dreamed of having treehouses. They were a place of privacy, where we could get away from adults and the rest of the world. A place all to yourself, in the outdoors, up in the air – what more could you ask for?

That fantasy doesn’t have to die just because you’ve grown up. In fact, you can make it even better now! Here are some suggestions for building your own dream treehouse:

Research and Approvals

Before you jump in, do your research first. If you live close to neighbors, you’ll need to get them on board with your plans to avoid conflicts later down the road.

Contact the Local Building Department

You will need to determine what you’re allowed to build on your property. Contact your local building department to find out if treehouses are permitted in your area, and what permits, if any, you will need. You’ll walk away with all the specifics you need to ensure you’re adhering to all local laws.

Check with Your HOA

If you’re part of a Homeowners Association (HOA), you will need to check in with it before building. You may need to submit detailed drawings of your treehouse for approval. This will make sure you adhere to any specific rules for your neighborhood.

Verify Homeowner’s Insurance

Call your homeowner’s insurance provider before you start building. You want to make sure your current insurance will cover your treehouse. If it doesn’t, you may need to work with your insurance provider to expand your coverage. Keep in mind, depending on placement, your family, and other factors, there may be additional stipulations in order to maintain insurance coverage on a treehouse.

Picking Your Tree

The first step will, of course, be to find a suitable tree. Size is just one factor in a good tree. It must be healthy as well. Look for signs of rot or brittleness. If you see any, then you know not to use that tree. Make sure your tree will be able to support your treehouse.

Try to find hardwood trees such as oak, walnut, beech, or maple. Choosing a hardy tree will prolong the life of your treehouse. But, be prepared to check with the USDA before building. If a tree species is on a protected list, you may not be able to build on it.

Consider a location that will have the least environmental impact. The foot traffic of people coming to and from your treehouse will compact the soil around it. Compacted soil potentially harms the roots. Choose a tree near pathways made of mulch, or create your own.

Designing Your Treehouse

Once you have found a suitable tree, the first step is to take plenty of pictures from different angles. Next, take measurements so your estimates will be precise. When you are designing, have the foundation spread across multiple branches to ensure weight will be evenly distributed.

Use your measurements to draw up your perfect treehouse. Do not forget to include a way up and windows. Fortunately, as long as your design allows for a safe and strong foundation, the only limit is your imagination!

Constructing Your Treehouse

After designing your treehouse, create a list of all your materials. Be sure to double-check that you have everything for a strong house.

You will need to begin with building a strong and secure foundation over the tree trunk. For optimum support, it should spread over several branches.

The rest is a much more straightforward procedure. The floor is added on top of the foundation by attaching exterior plywood sheets or tongue and groove floorboards. From there, you build as you would with any other house. Raise your walls and roof, then make sure to include doors and windows along with a safe way to reach your new tree house.

After ensuring your finished product is secure and strong, the final step is to enjoy!

There are a lot of steps to building a safe, sturdy treehouse. If your custom home just doesn’t seem complete without one, contact us and our team will be happy to help you build a treehouse into your plans.

+Ken Uhrich is lead Estimator and Purchaser at Custom Home Group, a Design/Build company, located in Lancaster County, PA. You can follow Ken on Twitter: @kuhrich Or visit his company website: www.customhomegroup.com