A treehouse can be used as a fort, a castle, a place to sleep under the stars and play an indispensable role in many fun children’s games. Here are some helpful tips to remember when building:
Where will you build your treehouse?
Before you start to build, select a tree that isn’t too close to your home in case there are any circumstances where the tree could crash into your house. Your space should allow room for trees to grow; especially the higher off the ground it’s built. With windy conditions, trees will move back and forth, and there needs to be room for that to happen. If you are building a treehouse which will connect to one or more trees, make sure the treehouse is secured to the largest tree. It’s also wise to check if the trees are in good condition. Look for a durable trunk and branches with deep roots. Maple, Oak, Fir and Beech trees are usually a good choice.
Prior to building, be sure to consult your local bi-laws, and check to see if you need a building permit. If you have endangered trees on your property, there can be restrictions. It’s also important to be a good neighbour, and make sure everyone approves of the treehouse and its location before you start.
Step 1: It’s all about the base
Now that you’ve settled on a location, the building can begin! The first thing which needs to be built is a base. Start by laying out the foundation for the framework on the ground. Some treehouses may require diagonal bracing for extra strength. Next, make sure the base is as secure as possible to the trunk of the tree. Be careful not to damage the tree, as having too many holes can cause the tree to get infected with pathogens or funguses.
Step 2: Flat on the floor
It’s more productive to build the rest of the treehouse if the floor is level and can help support the entire weight of the structure. Plus, you’ll be able to stand comfortably on the floor when it’s finished. The Family Handyman suggests these tips:
- Lay beams across the branches and shim until level.
- Run the beams between trunks of different trees.
- Cantilever the beams out from a single trunk and support them from above or below.
Step 3: Wall to wall
Frame the walls on the ground and install the siding prior. Siding is crucial as it will help hold the framework together. Make sure all the measurements are correct. It’s a good idea to have some extra sets of arms as the walls can be quite heavy and need to be put in accurately.
Step 4: Raise the roof
A roof is the next step for your treehouse. You can either use a simple tarp to cover the treehouse or construct your own roof. If you are planning to build the roof, you should determine how much of a slope you want your roof to have. The Treehouse Guide recommends aiming for a slope of 45° or more. This is important for winter to avoid a build-up of snow which could be disastrous for a treehouse of limited support.
Step 5: Imagine
Now that you’ve finished building the structure, you can get really creative. Do you want the treehouse to have a window? A reading nook? A climbing wall? A fireman’s pole? Or maybe, a zip line! Adding in last minute touches may require another trip to the local mall, but it will be worth it to see the smile on your child’s face.
Building a backyard treehouse is a great weekend project, which will provide you and your family with many wonderful memories. With kids growing up in the digital age, it’s important they enjoy the great outdoors as we did in our childhood and have a break from video games and Netflix. Be sure to talk to one of our licensed insurance advisors to see if a treehouse is covered under your homeowners policy. Contact us today!
These tips are provided for information and prevention purposes only. They are general in nature, and Desjardins Insurance cannot be held liable for them. We recommend using caution and consulting an expert for comprehensive, tailored advice.
In Quebec, Desjardins Insurance refers to Desjardins General Insurance Inc. In Ontario and Alberta, Desjardins Insurance refers to Certas Direct Insurance Company, underwriter of automobile and property insurance.