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How to Build a Treehouse
How to Build a Treehouse
Make no mistake - building a treehouse can be a massive undertaking if you're aiming for the best possible results, but the entire process can teach you and your kids a lot about construction. According to TreehouseGuide.com, there are a few basic skills you'll need to go forward with the project, but as long as you can cut wood to specific measurements, work on top of a ladder, safely operate power tools and know how to transport heavy wood, you should be able to complete your house without too much trouble.
To start, the source recommends ensuring that you aren't violating any local building regulations and to check with your neighbors before starting the project. If everything looks up to snuff, you can start the design process.
If you're working with one tree, your best bet may be to support the "foundation" with vertical slats of wood that are attached to the ground. You can bolster this by adding "anchors" that extend out from the tree trunk and are bolted to the foundation - however, the ground supports should be doing the majority of the heavy lifting. When in doubt, keep things simple. If you don't have too much experience with architectural design, you may want to stick with a simple one-room tree house for now.
Your next step is to design the house itself. Drawing up simple plans on a piece of paper can be useful, but if you're looking for something that allows you to indicate specific measurements and really get an idea for what will go into the house's construction, consider using Google Sketchup - it's a free tool that allows you to create simple three-dimensional drawings. Look at pictures online to get an idea of the components of a treehouse - the support system may be the most important part, so pay particular attention to how it's actually kept up there!
According to an Instructables.com tutorial, your first bit of construction should be mounting the main supports. These are two pieces of wood attached to the trunk that provide horizontal support underneath the house floor. Drill a hole about two to four inches long in the center of the wood (the extra space allows the tree to move without breaking the house) and mount each of the four ends to a vertical piece of wood. Essentially, your mount should sandwich the tree trunk.
Next, place a series of planks on top of those mounts - these will serve as the platform on which the floor rests. Secure the platform to the mount and nail a horizontal piece of wood to either end, so that it's "closed off."
Place the floor on top of this platform, ensuring that there's about a half-inch of space in between each plank to allow water to drain out.
At this point, you can build the walls simply by attaching them vertically to the floor and securing them to the tree overhead as a sort of roof. Leave a small gap near the bottom of one of the walls so that you can attach a rope ladder - your kids will love climbing in and out! Furnish it with small chairs and tables and you're done! Your children now have a haven where they can let their imaginations run wild.