Tree House Material: Landscape Design  -- Landscape Discussion Forum and Review Tree House Material: Landscape Design -- Landscape Discussion Forum

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 04-25-2004, 16:34 Post: 84229
greenhornet



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 Tree House Material

I have committed myself to building a treehouse with and for my 5 yr old grandson who is staying with us for a week. I plan on cutting four trees that are strategicly located at about the 10 ft level and building a platform using the trunks as posts. Notching the top of each to accept a 2" x 10" to use as a rim joist and using joist hangers for joist placement. I'm looking a platform about 7'or 8' by 12'.

My question is what would be the best material to use for the rim joists? I am thinking of either CCA or its current successor or using oak from a neighoring sawmill. Which would be the better of these two materials? Is there a better material to consider? I'm open to suggestions. I'm going to have a platform at the minimum by Friday.






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 04-25-2004, 16:53 Post: 84230
blizzard



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 Tree House Material

Oak is durable, stronger, heavier and (maybe) less expensive than treated lumber, but both are acceptible. You might look into lashing ( remember Boy Scouts ? ) the stringers to the trees using a wedge-shaped spacer to get the stringer reasonably plumb. There would be more flex in the structure without the nails pulling, and you wouldn't have to cut the trees, so when he outgrows the treehouse you still have your shade.
bliz






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 04-26-2004, 05:42 Post: 84316
TomG

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 Tree House Material

I imagine that for the length of interest in a tree house among typical kids construction grade lumber with sealer applied would out last even durable interests.

I can't quite get an image of the idea. I wonder if it might be good to sketch the finished idea, sort of like an architect's rendering to see if the finished structure meets expectations. For myself, my notion of being in a tree house is looking out through branches. The grandson might have some ideas about the type of thing he would like.






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 04-26-2004, 09:26 Post: 84336
Murf



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 Tree House Material

Green, instead of trying to notch each tree-top for a peice of dimensional lumber there is an easier way.

Almost any home center will have galvanized brackets which are for anchoring a deck to concrete pillars. They are available with a flat steel plate for a base pre-drilled for the anchor bolts. Put one of these on top of each tree-top and screw them down in with lag bolts instead. Some of them are even available with a nifty threaded screw mechanism for adjusting the height to obtain a level deck.

If you can get rough cut oak it will certainly work, if a little bit of over-kill. IMHO, if you use regular construction grade material as Tom mentioned it will outlast your grandson's interest level by many years if sealed and /or protected from the elements.

Best of luck.






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 04-26-2004, 11:30 Post: 84355
greenhornet



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 Tree House Material

I'll respond to several posts at once. I have lots of shade, several trees are slated to be cut just to open up the area so I can get the tractor in to pull a trailer or mower. So the trees that I might top for a tree house will mean fewer others that will get cut.

I agree Tom that a treehouse for me also means looking our through the branches, but I don't have any good branching white oaks, etc. to build a tree house in. So I am looking at a compromise at best. There will still be enough trees left to provide a dense shade for the treehouse. Another possibility is to notch the trees for the rim joists and trim branches where the house will be and leave the tops of the trees on. My concern with this is that they are different kinds of trees and one is about 8" dia. while the other four are 15" to 18" dia. I am afraid that the wind will create stress that may be fatal to the house.

I think that I will check with the sawmill, but probably end up using const grade lumber.






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 04-26-2004, 11:34 Post: 84356
greenhornet



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I had not thought of using galvanized brackets. That would work nicely if I end up cutting the tops off the trees. I guess I'm not as far along in the planning stage as I thought I was.






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 04-26-2004, 11:50 Post: 84359
Murf



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 Tree House Material

If you are interested in making a fairly sturdy, durable structure but want to spare the uncertainty of questionable trees there is one more option, especially since you are only talking about 10' up.

If you check with your local sawmill they will likely have, or have access to, some smaller logs which would make nice 6"x6" beams. Four of those about 16' long (or longer) and stuck 4' or 5' down in the ground in some concrete and cross-braced diagonally would support a pretty fancy tree house. It could also be constructed wherever you wanted that way, in amongst the trees, or not.

Best of luck.






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 04-26-2004, 11:59 Post: 84361
yooperpete



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 Tree House Material

Kids interest in a tree house is short-lived unless you have lots of children at varying ages that can take over as others lose interest. I would suggest one of those storage sheds on ground level with a window and put some landscaping shrubs around it. When they lose interest, you have a place to put you lawn tools, etc.






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 04-27-2004, 05:44 Post: 84450
TomG

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Sounds a bit like our wash shed. Had to put the 10' x 10' shed on 6x6 rails up on six 3' posts to get a drainage angle to a raised gray water pit. We used PT 6x6 with 3'+ in the ground. The underpinnings are substantial since it does have walls and is meant to support some weight.

Now that I think of it, a platform with railings and steps in the trees sounds pretty good for older kids like me either. Around here the buildings code people and insurance inspectors likely would get involved and the 'approved' structure probably wouldn't end up as 'fun.'

One advantage of posts is that the corners could be stacked and the posts plumbed. Unless that's done nothing's going to be square and most parts even for a platform of this size would have be custom measured and fit. Sort of pleasant work though if there's time for it. I'm not sure how well metal hangers take to odd angles.






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