Tree House Construction Methods

Written by erik devaney
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Tree House Construction Methods
Rope ladders are popular entrance options for tree houses. (House on the tree image by Valery Shanin from Fotolia.com)

Building a tree house for the child or children in your family can be an enjoyable and creative gift, as it will provide a space where children can play and interact with nature. Tree houses come in many shapes and sizes, and often their designs are contingent upon the location and sizes of the trees available. Regardless of what type of tree set-up you have in your construction space, there will likely be one or more construction methods you can use to safely build a tree house.

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Using Fasteners

If you want to construct a purist-style tree house, meaning all of its components are completely off the ground, the safest option is to use tree house fasteners. According to Tree Top Builders, these fasteners, which are also known as tree anchor bolts and attached limb systems, will provide support and elevation for the tree house's frame, keeping it perched above tree branches and trunks. This type of construction helps keep the weight of the tree house spread over a greater area of tree space, making the trees less prone to stress and damage. In addition, using fasteners allows space for the trunks and branches of the trees to grow and expand naturally. If you were to nail or screw the frame of your tree house directly into tree fibre, growth could cause crucial support beams to crack and warp.

Using Ground Supports

As Escape From America Magazine notes, if your construction space does not have an ample supply of sturdy trees, safety may dictate that you abandon a "purist" construction method and add in ground supports. Ground supports, such as 2-by-4 and 4-by-4 beams with concrete footings at their bottoms, will take stress off the trees available and allow you to create a larger surface for children to play on.

Using Cables

As an alternative to supporting the tree house from the bottom up, support it from the top down. According to Escape From America Magazine, in several situations utilising cables to suspend the frame of a tree house is a feasible and safe option. These situations include when your support trees are incredibly large and sturdy, like redwoods; when the trees are leaning to different sides, and when you want the tree house to have a bit of a swaying quality or "swing" to it. However, as the magazine mentions, using cables in tree house construction is controversial. This is because the tops of trees, where the cables attach to, are structurally weaker than the bottoms; and the further you go up the trees, the less weight they are able to support.

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