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Building a treehouse for your children - here is what you need to know

Do your children constantly complain they get bored in the house? They may’ve seen treehouses on TV and they like the idea of having their own place where to spend time and play. A treehouse allows children to make life-long memories filled with fun. If you have some adult trees in the back of the house, then a treehouse shouldn’t be only a dream. You should build one to allow your kids to escape when they get bored in your conventional home. 

Your children should decide if they prefer a simple or ornated house. While some kids want a quiet retreat where to read books and explore their interests, others want to transform a treehouse into a special play area. They should pick the design and functionality of the house

But before building the treehouse, there are some things you may want to know. 

Get in touch with your neighbours

You probably don’t live in a remote location, so you have neighbours and you need to reach them before building a treehouse. Tell them where you want to build it, and check if it affects their views or security. Share your ideas with them and ensure you communicate during the entire process to prevent incidents. The last thing you want is your neighbour contacting the municipality to inform them that your treehouse facilitates criminal activity to their property. 

Check local building codes

The treehouse isn’t a real house, but check if you’re allowed to build on your property, and what regulations the municipality has for this. Check with the local building department if treehouses are allowed in your region. The size of the building and the distance from the ground can affect the plans. Your local building department probably has guidelines to help you understand what the proximity to the property line should be, if it can include electricity or utilities, and other similar specifics. 

Some municipalities ask homeowners to get a permit, and an engineered plan. The process is similar to building any other house or dependency, so expect the local inspectors to pay visits during the process. Don’t construct it before getting all the paperwork because you risk high fines, a lawsuit, and even a demolition. 

Identify what species your trees are

When picking the tree, you need to consider both its size and variety. Ensure it’s not on the protected list because the regulations prohibit from using them as structures for treehouses. Trees are listed as endangered and threated on national, local, and county level. If you cannot find a list, contact the local horticulture extension agent because they can help you. 

Once you ensure the tree isn’t on the endangered or threatened list, you should check if it’s prone to heavy branches and what its life expectancy is. 

Check your insurance policy

Don’t build the treehouse before contacting your home insurance provider to ask them if you need any approving coverage. Some insurance policies require specific safety precautions when you want to add other buildings to your propriety. Sometimes, insurance policies stipulate that kids shouldn’t access treehouse ladders and stairs without adult supervision. 

Decide the treehouse design

Don’t cut any branch of the tree before deciding the design of the house. Discuss with your children and ask them what features they would like their treehouse to have. Determine if you construct only a playhouse for the children or if you want to use it for other purposes. Some treehouses are big enough to work as guesthouses when friends stay overnight. The purpose of the house influences its design and amenities. 

Consider the size of the interiors and the strength of the tree. You may want a big house, you can repurpose in a guesthouse, but your tree may not be sturdy enough to handle the weight. 

Ask for help

You’ll need help during the construction process, so it’s advisable to involve professionals from the very beginning. For most of the time you’ll work at height, so it’s wise to hire spider lift specialists to provide you with the needed equipment to keep you safe when constructing the treehouse. 

You should also consult a professional constructor to map the branches and determine if they can support the weight of the house. They’ll also make recommendations on the ground base, you need to built to carry the construction. 

Make a plan for the treehouse and decide how much space you need in the treehouse because fitting the floor is a challenging part. An expert can tell you what tools and materials you need to create the structure. 

Pick the sturdiest tree and an ideal sight

When building a treehouse, the sight is essential because it determines its location. Your children want to forget about the ground when they spend time in their private crib, so you should pick the highest tree, sturdy enough to carry the weight of the dwelling and its visitors. The soil also plays an important role because it works as the foundation for the treehouse. Ensure you don’t install the treehouse in a tree surrounded by uneven or moist soil because it damages the foundation of the building. 

Observe the trees for a time before picking one, to check if they sway during windy days and if they stay firm during bad weather conditions. 

A treehouse is additional weight to the tree, and during construction the tools you use can damage the roots of the tree, so you must consider these factors ahead. Check the trees’ roots before building the dwelling to ensure they’re not compromised and they’ll stand even a hurricane or other high winds. 

Constructing a treehouse implies drilling holes, cutting notches and removing branches, so you cause further damage. Ask a certified arborist to determine the level of stress your trees can bear and if they can withstand this construction. Most of the trees have no issues in supporting a treehouse, but you must ensure you build a solid dwelling that poses no danger for your children. 

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