You have different possibilities to frame a Treehouse even without trees. And framing and building Treehouse is not a single day process. It takes a lot of effort and the right approach. Before construction, you must have an appropriate design of treehouse as well as frame. Well, that would not be too difficult if you are into an enthusiastic mode of learning. Without further ado, let’s get started on a full-fledge tutorial of framing of a Treehouse.
Steps To Framing and Building Treehouse
Step 1: Choose Your Trees
The very first decision in framing and building Treehouse is to pick up the right trees. No matter what amount of trees you are going to make a Treehouse on, just ensure the sturdiness of the tree or trees. At the same time, they must be healthy and growing. You need to cover several factors, such as diameter, height, and the overall ecosystem around the trees.
Around the circumference the tree find if there are any empty spots. You can even hit the tree with a hammer and examine the sound. A hard sounds suggest it’s a health tree but echoing sound like a drum means its hollow. It’s essential because you will rely heavily on tree for support.
Then, look for the surrounding environment of trees. It must be supportive and do not create any issues for tree growth. Like, there must not be any road cuts that may affect the growing tree roots. Trees like to be in the community. So, it’s a good indication that your treehouse is built on a tree surrounded by other healthy trees.
Step 2: Gear up all the Treehouse accessories
A Treehouse can’t be constructed with a single tool. Instead, you need a plethora of equipment to get the job done. What is that equipment btw? You need decking materials, washers, joist hangers, lumbers, and much more to say. Then, you need technical things such as electric lighting, elevator set up, and slides, etc. For more info, you can check our guide on Treehouse accessories. Generally, the materials and tools are two different things you need to have in the right manner. It consists of using hand tools as well as power tools.
Step 3: Designing and Installation of Beams
Now, you have to design and install the beams for support. You can use several books for design purposes, or you can create your one. It’s quite easy to design beams and go for further installation. You can either use lag screws or braces for installation. The top beams will become your floor height of Treehouse. Generally, the beams are like at the upper level and lower level. So, you have to install the lower beams before setting up the top perimeter beams.
Always ensure to drill the stable and straight pilot holes during installation. And the installation of beams, especially the upper ones, goes according to 3, 4, 5 rule. Then, you have to install floor joists. This is how framing and building treehouse beams are completed.
Step 4: Platform Leveling
By now, you have installed the beams with proper support on the ground also. It’s time to level this platform for the next step of deck installation. What you need to do is level the mount beneath the floor. Make sure the story is already smooth and leveled for these tasks. Go to four corners one by one and start installing 2×4 on the floor to support the beam. It’s better if the level is longer.
Step 5: Install Brackets & Knee Braces on Treehouse
You are required to have knee brace brackets to install the bolts in the sturdy tree. They are needed to construct and install the knee braces as well. At the very first, at this point, you need to make the knee braces with the help of brackets. They are designed to support the Treehouse permanently. The brackets basically attach to the bottom of 4×6 knee brace or any other ideal sized brace and are further connected to 1 or 1/4 –inch of a lag bolt ( learn more about it) ( learn more about it). It gives the tree a clean look and minimizes any kind of interference the tree will handle in the coming decades.
A knee brace must be connected from the bottom of the joist to tree at an angle of 45-degrees. If the edge is not accurate, then you need to install the bolts to parallel that angle. You may need to cut the top point of knee brace to fit under the Treehouse flooring. Depending upon the one or ¼ inch quarter bolt, you will need to drill a hole into the tree with suitable heavy-duty equipment. Afterward, you need to install the knee brace and let this step complete.
Step 6: Deck Installation
Deck installation above the flooring is another essential step you need to carry in the right manner. Beforehand, you must have those deck boards to begin the mounting. Cut the blocking on the platform if it’s present there to secure the decking with the bolt. You should try to use deck boards of ideal length. Otherwise, you have to figure out the installation of boards in a suitable manner, which could be time-consuming.
Also, have some deck screws because you are going to need them a lot in the process. Set them in place very well so that you can enjoy a beautiful stand over them. For a clean-cut, just lay them over the platform and use the circular saw at edges. Use carpenter’s pencil to do so if you are not comfortable directly cutting them out. Well, this is the place where you can build trap doors as a secret passageway. So, make sure to have that space if you are looking for one.
Step 7: Framing and Building Treehouse Walls
The rake wall will fit the purpose as they extend well with the ceiling or roof of Treehouse. And, wall framing needs to be done with the windows and doors itself. Before you get started, kindly take a look at the right dimensions to be applied. Have a rough opening size for the window also. At the same time, keep the door dimensions a little bit to avoid any fight to get inwards. Then, start the procedure by cutting a bottom plate and a top plate.
For accurate dimensions, you can use the Pythagoras theorem according to your project. Or, you can simply go for using a scientific calculator for quick tasks. When your bottom plate and top plate are ready, remember to lay out the base first because it would be easy to do that. Always start with the opening such as doors and windows and then install studs. Make alignments properly so that the stud would be at the center to the bottom plate.
After you have laid out the bottom plates, use some of these dimensions to layout the top plates. What you need to do is to find a run on each stud as you go down. Furthermore, repeat the same process for each stud. Work from the short point and shortest stud first. Suppose, you have 5’6” rake wall, subtract the plates. So, it would be like subtracting ½” for the top plate and 1/16″ for the bottom plate. Basically, you have to clear out the dimensions for trimmers, cripples, sills, and headers along with the plates.
Note the following dimensions to get a perfect hint.
- Door Height + 3” = Rough Opening
- 6’8” + 3” = 6’11”
- Rough Opening – Bottom Plate = Door Trimmer
- 6’11” – 11/2” = 6’91/2” (Door Trimmer)
Window Trimmer = Rough Opening Height = 271/4”
Cripples below Window
- Top of window – Trimmer length – Sill – Bottom Plate = Cripple Length
- 59” – 271/4” – 11/2” – 11/2” = 283/4” (Cripple Length)
- Door Width + 2” = Rough Opening
- Rough Opening + 11/2” + 11/2” = Door Header
- 2’8” + 2” = 2’10”
- 2’10” + 3” = 3’1” (Door Header)
- Rough Opening Width + Trimmers Rough Opening + 11/2” + 11/2” = Window Header
- 211/2” + 11/2” + 11/2” = 241/2”
- Wall framing on 24” center
Determine the length an imaginary king stud would be in that location
If above window…
Subtract trimmer, header thickness, cripple, and sill thickness.
If overhead door…
Subtract trimmer and header thickness
At last, you would need to frame this rake window as per the built structure. Usually, the walls without windows and walls are almost the same. Make sure to mount them on the ground and take into account the required thickness. Install sidings at this time on the ground. Check whether two of the wall sidings overlap with the wall ends they are touching. You can either use a pulley system or ropes to pull up the platform’s walls by taking the help of some of your friends.
Step 8: Framing Treehouse roofs
Roof building needs to figure out the slope you need for the purpose. That would also be an excellent slope to stand on. The Treehouse roof could be of various types, including flashings and insulation materials. So, it depends upon the preference of what kind of roof you want to build. You can also use 4:12 for run and rise as an ideal slope measurement while doing the shingles.
Find out the height of gable overhangs and roof rafter from blocklayer.com easily. After you figure out the rafter’s height, put the roof beam at the center with temporary support to hold them in place. Lay the plywood down when your rafters are all up. Leave a space of around 21/2” around to sway the wind inwards without even hitting the roof. Half-cut the shingles and seal them around the tree with the rest of the roof shingled like usual.
Step 9: Add access ladders
Inwards, you can build log and rope ladders. Before you begin installing the ladders, make sure you have a trimmed strip across the decking so that no one would get injured while accessing the ladders. You can make a ladder from just two logs with 6-7 steps for indoors. Cut the end of logs at around 20-degrees, which is said to be the standard measurement for these ladders. Meanwhile, you need to make V-Block and secure the log ends for accurate construction. After assembly, you can re-cut the angles of the ladder to match them correctly with the floor.
Another ladder could be a 2×4 ladder that is generally designed for a trap door. You may require to use a table saw for the construction purposes here. Even after installing this ladder beneath the trap door, don’t forget to test it. You may also need to run it back on the data blade.
The third type of ladder for indoors could be a cargo net ladder. Their bases are those logs itself. After cutting the end of the woods and having added flair up, screw them together with lags and screws. Even for the standard ladders to be built for outdoors, you need to have high-quality wooden logs. The steps can be made 10” apart for easy to climb on.
Step 10: Install railings
The process of framing and building treehouse is almost completed. The last step could be installing railings at 36″ high and balusters at 4″ apart. You can even make a jig from a scraped piece of wood cut at 4″ to speed up the process. Also, make sure to space them evenly. Begin from the middle and screw all the baluster tops using the jig for ideal spacing. Then, you need to go back and level the central piece to screw in all the bottoms.
We know everyone has different requirements and hence processes exactly the same for everyone. But if you follow steps of framing and building Treehouse keeping your requirements in mind, you will be able to build a treehouse for yourself.