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Can someone help me expand this treehouse??  RSS feed

 
Carlos Rios
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So I live in a rural area and there's a creek flowing behind my house. Across from the creek I found the wooden base to a treehouse. Its a pretty small base and I want to expand it so that I can eventually put walls. I have all the supplies but need some help to see how I can make the base larger. I hope I can get some help on here. Ill post pictures up soon. Thanks!  
 
Glenn Herbert
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I love treehouses - I helped my best friend build an awesome one 15-20 years ago, and want to build one on my land for the grandkids who are getting big enough to want one soon when they visit.

Looking forward to your pictures.
 
Aimee Howard
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Treehouses- soooo cool... brings me back to my childhood. I am looking forward to some photos. I am really excited to see.
 
Carlos Rios
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Okay so I visited the site of the treehouse and got the pictures of the base that lies there now. I tried to get some different views of the base and also tried to get pictures of the bottom to see how the current planks are held in place.
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Front side of the treehouse hopefully enterance can be in the center in between two branches splitting apart.
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To the right of the treehouse.
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To the left of the treehouse.
 
Carlos Rios
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The base itself has a rectangle shape and a smaller rectangle attached to one of the sides. The measurement of the larger rectangle is 8ft x 3ft81/2in, the measurement of the smaller rectangle is 3ft6in x 1ft41/2in.
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T shaped base
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Edge of base where expanding will be done.
 
Carlos Rios
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Coming out from each side is an extension of 2x6 that sticks out from under I was wondering I could continue to lie 2x6 on top of it to expand it but it may not be so safe since not all parts will be that sturdy. What do you guys think?
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Left front edge of base that has 2x6 sticking out
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Left rear edge of base that has 2x6 sticking out.
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Right rear edge of base that has 2x6 sticking out
 
Glenn Herbert
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Beautiful tree for a tree house! With the 2x6 support beams mostly angled or bolted to the bottoms of trunks, I would be reluctant to add to the load (square footage) without also adding more support. It's hard to tell how that would best be done without actually being there - photos just don't tell you everything you need to know.

Maybe instead of increasing the floor area, you can move up a foot and a half or so and add benches or bunks around some edges, supporting them on the trunks as needed. Then you can go straight up from there for walls.
 
Roberto pokachinni
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From the pics, I would try to figure out a few things first, but paramount is:  Is the structure, as is, worth keeping?  I'm not saying it's not, but it's small enough that renovating might be more of a hassle than removing the existing structure and building exactly what you want.  If you have the materials to build a structure, then it might be better to start from scratch.

The reason I would consider scrapping it is because there is visible deterioration all over it, including splits and cracks where it was screwed or nailed, and green growth on it, and other features in looking at the photo's that seem to indicate to me that the wood is not in the best shape.  I bet it is really heavy after a rain at this point, due to all of the fungi, algae, mosses, and whatnot sucking moisture into the wood and holding it there.



So, other things to consider, if you are planning to add to the structure after assessing if it's worth it, are the size of hardware that are fastening the various parts to the tree.  Are they going to be able to handle more mass?  If not, can they be replaced by beefier items? 

What kind of wood is the supporting structure and platform made of?  Some woods are considerably better at supporting weight in a horizontal position than others.  It may be holding up just fine now, but might not with the addition of walls, roof, windows, door, etc.    

Is there a possibility of bracing the structure with heavier beams and hardware from below?

Lagging your supporting beams with heavy hardware is the best way to attach to a tree.  The tree will suffer briefly, but will sap out and heal the wound where the lag screws in. 

Pre-drilling your boards will help the boards not to split. 

  
 
Roberto pokachinni
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If there are dead branches on the tree that the structure is attached to then consider changing the bracing situation to attach to living/stronger material.
 
Marco Banks
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Boy --- that thing looks like a death-trap.  That's advanced deterioration.  Is there any dry-rot?  If you find any, it's going to be throughout the structure --- it's a fungus and when you find some, it's just a matter of time until you find it all over.

Cool tree.  If it were me, it's start from scratch.
 
Carlos Rios
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Roberto pokachinni wrote:From the pics, I would try to figure out a few things first, but paramount is:  Is the structure, as is, worth keeping?  I'm not saying it's not, but it's small enough that renovating might be more of a hassle than removing the existing structure and building exactly what you want.  If you have the materials to build a structure, then it might be better to start from scratch.

The reason I would consider scrapping it is because there is visible deterioration all over it, including splits and cracks where it was screwed or nailed, and green growth on it, and other features in looking at the photo's that seem to indicate to me that the wood is not in the best shape.  I bet it is really heavy after a rain at this point, due to all of the fungi, algae, mosses, and whatnot sucking moisture into the wood and holding it there.



So, other things to consider, if you are planning to add to the structure after assessing if it's worth it, are the size of hardware that are fastening the various parts to the tree.  Are they going to be able to handle more mass?  If not, can they be replaced by beefier items? 

What kind of wood is the supporting structure and platform made of?  Some woods are considerably better at supporting weight in a horizontal position than others.  It may be holding up just fine now, but might not with the addition of walls, roof, windows, door, etc.    

Is there a possibility of bracing the structure with heavier beams and hardware from below?

Lagging your supporting beams with heavy hardware is the best way to attach to a tree.  The tree will suffer briefly, but will sap out and heal the wound where the lag screws in. 

Pre-drilling your boards will help the boards not to split. 

  


Thanks Roberto. So we have been getting a lot of rainfall and from what I've been thinking I will install a new platform. If I remove the platform it will give me better access to the underneath portion to add more suppport for something larger. One question, some of the 2x6s already attached stick out past the trunks would it be safe to drill in a piece of 2x6 as an extension to the existent 2x6? Or would that not work?
 
Carlos Rios
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So decision has been made to remove this platform and begin with a new one. I will not be replacing the existing supporting beams as those didn't take much beating from being under and they're already attached pretty welll. I'll keep the post updated when I'm done!
 
Roberto pokachinni
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I will not be replacing the existing supporting beams as those didn't take much beating from being under and they're already attached pretty welll.


Once you have the platform off, assess the support structure.  It might seem solid, but if the wood shows signs of external biology, then it is probably compromised.  I can't tell if that is the case, but I suspect that it is the case.  For the relatively small effort and expense of completely removing the old structure and getting the new hardware/beams/joists in place, you will benefit far longer with a sound end product, then if you take the chance that these members are compromised.  Investing a bit in quality materials at cost for the foundation stuff is worth it. 

No matter what structure you are building, it is the support of it's foundation members which will often ultimately determine how long it lasts/ and how much the walls/roof/ any upper members, settle, warp, twist, or bend, to deal with the sag of deteriorating support, or are held in plumb, level, with the solidity of a sound structural foundation.  Often this can cause your doors to not open well, your windows to crack, your roof to leak... et cetera.

Just my two cents.   

It is a really cool tree, and project.  I hope that you keep us updated with lots of photos, and what you did to make it a treehouse!!!
 
Roberto pokachinni
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With the 2x6 support beams mostly angled or bolted to the bottoms of trunks, I would be reluctant to add to the load (square footage) without also adding more support. 
 

I agree with Glenn here.  If you are planning to make this bigger, I would go with 2X10's or 2X12's.  Overbuild your foundation and you will have way less future problems.  Keep in mind that trees move in the wind, and that the trunks grow in time when planning how to floor around them.  Give space for growth. 

There is a great book on building treehouses I read a while back.  You might be able to get it in your library Tree House You Can Actually Build:  A Weekend Project Book
 
Glenn Herbert
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I noticed plastic tags on the ends of some beams and floorboards. This probably indicates that they are pressure treated, and may be sound in spite of surface appearances. Read those tags to find out. The 2x4 edging boards do look very deteriorated.

I would want to inspect the original connections as much as possible to see how sound they are, and what size hardware. The fewer holes in trunks the better, also locations that will not be in tension are preferable. If the existing beams and deck are reasonably sound and not dry-rotted, adding structure above and shielding the old from weather will probably let it last for decades.
 
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