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How to Build a Treehouse with the Kids

How to Build a Treehouse with the Kids

Building a treehouse is a memorable adventure for the whole family, so get the kids outside and enjoy some bonding time.

Here is how to build a treehouse correctly.

Check local bylaws

Before you start, remember to check building codes and bylaws for your area to make sure you are allowed to build a treehouse and to find out any restrictions that could apply.

Choosing a tree for a treehouse

You might decide to build your treehouse around one tree or attach it to several trees. Make sure trees are healthy and able to support your treehouse. Hardwood trees like oak, hickory, and maple are great for treehouses. Stay between 6 (1.8 metres) and 10 feet (3 metres) off the ground for the safety of the builders and kids.

The branches should be strong enough to support the weight of the treehouse. Call an arborist to make sure the tree you have chosen will work.

Decide how you want your kids to participate and what responsibilities they will have building your treehouse. Make sure to ensure their safety.

Make a blueprint

Make a detailed plan for your treehouse to make building easier and so that you have all the materials you will need. Measure how large and how high off the ground the platform will be. Include plans for railings and walls.

Create the foundation

Put 4x4 posts on concrete deck blocks and connect them with 2x8 bands. Make sure they are level and attach them with 3-inch framing nails.

Plan the platform

Lay out the floor and make sure floor joists will be perpendicular to the decking.

Secure floor joists to the tree

Fastening a treehouse to a tree can be done with Treehouse Attachment Bolts (TABs), which are fasteners designed for treehouses and can support thousands of pounds of weight. TABs should be combined with floating brackets to allow for tree growth.

Or you can pre-drill the tree and 2x8s you will use for floor joists and use lag bolts that are at least 6” and tightened with an impact wrench. Do not use too many fasteners and do not put them close together to avoid damaging the tree. Add remaining floor joists 16 inches from the center.

Add joist hangers

Attach joist hangers with 1-inch galvanized nails.

Make angle braces

Cut angle braces at 45-degree angles with a miter saw. They should be about 2 feet long. Attach them to the foundation posts and platform with 3-inch deck nails.

Secure deck boards

Use 2-inch wood nails to attach deck boards to the floor platform. You will have to account for the tree and posts, so measure carefully.

Make the frame

Build the treehouse frame with 2x4 studs. Attach it to the platform with the framing nailer and 3-inch nails. Add vertical studs every 16 inches. Frame the doors and windows.

Build a roof

Make the ridge beam using 2x6 lumber and attach 2x4 rafters every 2 feet.

Build the walls

Frame the gable end walls from the rafters to the floor with 2x4s.

Add siding

Measure and cut siding and attach it with 2 3/8-inch framing nails. Nail siding to the gable end walls and use a reciprocating saw to remove excess wood.

Cut out windows and doors

Use the reciprocating saw to cut out windows and doors.

Build the roof

Attach plywood to rafters with 2 3/8-inch nails. Leave a 6-inch overhang.

Add trim

Install trim around windows and doors for a more finished look. You can make it with 1x4 and 1x6 lumber and attach it with the nailer.

Install a railing

Install a section of prebuilt handrail around the deck, leaving space for the entrance and ladder. Use rail connector brackets to connect the railing to the posts.

Build a ladder

Build a ladder using 2x4xs. Make rungs 7-10 inches apart and secure the ladder with 3-inch deck screws. Alternatively, you can create a rope ladder or even use a climbing wall! You can add bridges, slides, zip lines, or fire poles for extra fun!