Building a kids treehouse can be a fun and rewarding project to take on. A well-built tree house provides a space for children to play and let their imaginations run wild. When constructing a tree house, safety should always be the top priority. Follow these tips to create a sturdy structure that will stand the test of time and weather while keeping your little ones protected.
Selecting the Right Tree
Choosing an appropriate tree is the first step to building a safe tree house for kids. Look for a healthy hardwood tree with sturdy branches that can support the weight of the structure. Oak, maple, and ash trees are often good options. The tree should have branches spreading in a way that allows for a deck or platform to be built. Make sure to get permission from the tree’s owner before building.
Consider the placement of the child’s treehouse as well. Choose a tree that is a safe distance from power lines, other trees, and structures like sheds or fences. Learn more about tree house design ideas here.
Building a Strong Foundation
The foundation is key to keeping tree houses for kids secure. Many tree house builders use a brace system attached to the trunk for support. Measure the tree trunk circumference and cut pieces of wood to create braces that tightly fit around the trunk. Use sturdy wood screws or bolts to anchor the braces into the trunk, placing one brace near the base and others higher up.
Attach beams horizontally between the brace pieces to create a secure platform frame. Use thick exterior-grade plywood, at least 3/4 inch thick, to build the flooring on top of the beams. Make sure the floor is large enough for kids to move around but not so large that it overloads the tree.
Safety Railings and Features
Fall protection is a vital children’s tree house safety element. Enclose the entire platform with railings at least 3 feet high. The railings should have vertical posts no more than 5 inches apart. Consider adding angled railing tops that lean inward to prevent kids from climbing.
Build stairs with handrails rather than a ladder for easier access. Place the stairs against the trunk for stability. Also, build a short barrier or gate across the stairs opening. Other safety features like trap doors, ropes, and rock-climbing walls add an adventurous feel while keeping kids secure.
Consider how you will protect the tree house from weather and other outdoor elements. Use weather-resistant woods like cedar and pine to prevent rotting. Paint or stain the woods as an extra shield.
For the roof, use overlapping shingles or sheets of tin roofing materials. Include roof overhangs that extend past the tree house walls to protect from rain and sun. You can also add clear plastic roof panels or windows to allow in light. Just be sure to securely screw windows and roof panels into the framing.
With smart planning and construction, a DIY tree house can provide kids with hours of safe, weather-protected fun. Be sure to inspect it regularly for wear and tear over the years. And most importantly, have a blast building special memories together!