When he set out to build a treehouse, this guy didn’t do the simple 2x4 project you may have remembered when you were a kid. His epic treehouse to beat all treehouses was a serious undertaking.
Here was the tree and the three branches chosen for the site.
“The property is situated on a hillside. There was an existing deck (barely visible on the right) 26 feet from the tree (the branches on the left), with a gravel access road in between. With the height of the tree house and the tree being on a hillside a rope ladder wasn't the best way to get in, and the access road needed to remain passable, so...”
“I had to build a bridge. I poured concrete post foundations 4 feet deep and 1 foot wide and set post anchors into the wet concrete. The supporting framework was built with pressure treated 4x6's and lots of brackets and lag screws.”
“You can really see the height difference compared to the other side. I had to pour a quite large concrete foundation for this side, which is visible in later pictures.”
Here the bridge is finally finished.
“I used disassembled wine barrels as balusters, being as we are in wine country.”
“Here you can see the concrete foundation I mentioned earlier. The base of the foundation is 5 feet long, 2 feet wide, and 4 foot under ground. The supporting pillars are reinforced with 5/8'' rebar, as well as the foundation.”
“I had to special order two 4'' x 10'' x 24' pressure treated beams to build the bridge on. I work alone and these beams are big and heavy, but a couple of ropes and pulleys helped me lift and position each beam. There bridge is tall enough for vehicles to pass under.”
“The main issue with the attachment of the tree house supports to the tree was that the tree sways with the wind. To avoid any structural damage caused by the movement of the tree, I made some sliding beam brackets. I ordered some special made 1'' x 12'' grade 8 screws to drill into the tree, imagine a half threaded screw but massive! The bracket looks like a wide horse shoe with square edges and a plate going across the top. The 1'' thick screw has a collar slipped over it that acts as a roller when the tree moves, and this is all inserted in to the bracket and screwed into the tree. I used a high strength anchoring adhesive to give a little extra hold and to keep water from entering the tree.”
“The beams are pressure treated 4x6's on sliding beam brackets. The hoist you can see in the top right quickly became my favorite piece of equipment during the construction process.”
“Decking boards attached. The deck was originally 12 feet wide by 16 feet long. I extended the end to make the final deck 12' x 18'.”
“Framing begins! The tree house itself is 8 feet wide by 12 feet long. The over-sized deck gives a two foot walkway around the tree house, although dodging some branches is required.”
“Framing finished and ready for sheathing.”
“Here the trim has been installed and the cedar siding is starting to go up. The tree branches could not be built into the tree house to prevent insects and the weather from getting in, so some evasive framing had to be done, as you can see the branch on the left.”
“I added an entry way overhang for aesthetics.”
The cedar siding is finished.
“I didn't take any pictures of the rough interior work. The floor, ceiling, and all walls are insulated and covered with osb. The finish material is pine shiplap planks. It is a lot like tongue and groove, only with opposing tongues and no grooves. Did I mention the tree house has electricity, water, phone, cable, internet, and in-wall speaker wiring? The wall with the electrical panel was framed to hang a flat screen television, with power and cable outlets up high (it is the same wall that has the branch growing through, which is why it juts in).”
Just look at that trim.
And the final tree house: