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Build Your Own Tree House – Pros and Cons, Fasteners and Hardware
Tree houses are fun, bonding activities you can do with your friends or family, and provide a unique and ideal hangout spot surrounded by Mother nature. One of the biggest differences in my opinion, between tree houses and other on-ground add-ons that you can build on your property, is the fact that a tree house is rocking. – in different degrees depending on the height and size of the tree and branches – and thus add a unique and comforting feeling.
There are many requirements which must be met before this particular project can be considered feasible for you. The first is also the most obvious:
- Do you have a suitable tree within your property where you can build your tree house? This question may be unclear to some, because what kind of wood is considered appropriate? Well, it depends mostly on the size of the structure in question, as well as the expected load – number of people, tools, etc.
- How are you at heights? Now is not a good time to kid yourself or anyone else if you happen to be afraid of heights! We are all afraid of heights to varying degrees, but if you lack the courage or ability to comfortably work at the required heights, this project may not be for you. True, it can be built relatively low to the ground as well and still be called a “tree house” – in which case, it cannot be used.
Now that we have that out of the way, we can get into the other aspects of the build. Compared to an earth structure, a tree house seems like a simple project due to the fact that some of us grew up “throwing” small wooden houses here and there. However, it’s important to remember that any half-decent structure, whether on the ground or up in a tree, requires careful planning and enforcement of standard safety codes.
Here are some questions you should ask yourself before starting the planning phase:
- What should I use in the tree house? Depending on your answer, you may want a roof and walls, or you may not need them. In either case, a rail and/or walls at least one meter high are recommended for safety.
- How long do I want it to last? You may think the answer to this question is obvious, but you must understand that the life span of your wooden house depends on the materials you use and the quality and quantity of layers of your protective stain. Tree houses, by their very definition, stand within and under the canopy of the tree in which they are built. Because of this, they are more susceptible to early decay due to the prolonged shade and humid nature of their environment. Fallen leaves and twigs strewn on the deck also serve as catalysts for decay unless they are regularly swept away.
Foundation and Floor-form
One of the unique beauties of a tree house is the fact that you can build around different branches. leaving them exposed inside your tree house, enhancing the “natural” atmosphere. As with an on-ground structure, you must begin by building your base and floor. You may face complications with the shape of your floor due to the limitations of suitable branches to base on.
Because of this, there is a possibility that you will have to settle for a non-square shape. Maybe this is what you want, or it may be a problem for you. In any case, you should understand that there are some limitations placed on you by the particular wood you are working with. All branches used for a foundation should be able to carry a few hundred pounds with one hand, and more if you expect higher traffic.
Wood Density and Fastener Quality
Large tree houses that weigh more than the collective weight of their occupants must be carefully designed., because different factors such as the hardness of the wood and the quality of the fastener and design are more involved. The wood will compress where the fasteners connect the wood to different degrees based on the hardness of the wood in question, causing the tree house to sink.
Professional grade Tree house Fasteners – Are They Necessary?
There are a variety of tree house fasteners on the market today that are manufactured specifically for their unique needs. However, the question often arises as to how necessary these customized bolts and brackets are compared to the normal ones found in home centers due to their price. They usually cost between one and several hundred dollars each!
The first thing to remember when considering the pros and cons of these relatively expensive pieces of hardware is that trees are living organisms, and continue to grow, move, and change shape. Therefore, your tree house and the hardware to which it is attached must accommodate this movement. Simply bolting the beams to the tree branches will result in a fixed attachment that will force the tree to pull the screw through the beam or try to grow around the beam.
The first of the two results in sudden and dangerous failurewhile the second results in unhealthy and unnatural growth around the beam, potentially causing disease and decay to set in. Custom bolts and brackets are made with a certain allowance for wood growth, with a section of the bolt that is deeply recessed. the heartwood of the tree and a large shank that allows axial movement together with a female part attached to the beam.
So to answer the question of whether these expensive custom parts are necessary, the short answer is yes, and no. Yes, if you lack the knowledge to find parts that can perform the same purpose as professional parts do, and no, if you do, and it is not necessary that your wooden house will last fifty years . Home centers sell bolts and hardware with larger diameters and lengths that can be used, but the entire shank cannot be threaded.
The half or more embedded in the tree should be twine, but the rest that serves as a cushion to compensate for the growth of the tree should be smooth. You will also need a female piece that fits the smooth shank with a bracket that can be screwed to your beam. This female bracket has the freedom to slide along the axis of the smooth bolt shank as the wood grows in girth. All parts should be stainless steel as well – some may corrode to failure.
It is obvious that the big wooden house construction companies do not agree with the above opinion, and the ideal is to buy these parts. I’m just offering an alternative for those who don’t have a big budget but still want to build a safe and environment-friendly tree house. There is also a chance that you will not find hardware that meets the criteria, leaving no other choice.
The professional standard when it comes to repairing your tree house in your tree seems to be “perch, don’t pin”. I wholeheartedly agree with this principle and any alternative I have given above should not contradict it. But not everyone looking to build a tree house is willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars, thus, your budget is a main determining factor. the quality as well what kind you will build.
In any case, it should be a safe and fun place to accommodate any activities you have in mind. Considering the damage inflicted on the tree as well as the future complications that may arise as mentioned above when planning, is the only responsible and conscious action.
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