Treehouses embody childhood innocence in its purest form. The adventures that take place in that wood fort among the trees — from pirate plunders to top-secret, undercover spy work — are limited only by a child’s imagination; since imagination is hard to hold onto in adulthood, it makes sense why so many parents want to encourage its growth as much as possible. By giving your child a treehouse, you will do just that.
However, construction isn’t as easy as just throwing some slab lumber up in a tree — the first step you need to take is determining what wood you will use for each section of the treehouse. Let’s get started.
Approximately 94% of homes are built with wood frames, and your treehouse is no different. While you may have some beautiful hardwoods picked out for your interior (like figured cherry wood), their heaviness will only add to the stress on the tree (and budget) if used in places where they aren’t necessary. Instead, go for basic construction lumber that you can find in any building supply store; it’ll get the job done without putting the tree — and the project — at risk of collapse.
If you’re going for a more practical approach, exterior plywood is perfectly fine for your treehouse walls; the durable material comes in large sheets and is easy to cut to the size needed, but, unfortunately, it’s not the most attractive wood. If you really want to spruce things up a bit, consider western cedar, the red heartwood of eastern cedar, and cypress — they are naturally rot-resistant, protecting your treehouse from the elements all while looking great. In interior areas where weather is less of a concern, decorative hardwoods such as cherry or walnut could be used for accents.
The floor will be handling a lot of wear and tear due to the adventures of your munchkins, so a durable hardwood is ideal. They have a reduced moisture content (compared to softwoods), meaning they’ll shrink less. Look for a hardwood that is naturally rot and insect resistant, such as oak or black locust, to account for wet sneakers.. Cedar or cypress are also good options, even though they are technically soft woods.
Wood is a fascinating material, one that opens doors to all kinds of crafts and projects. Whether you’re looking to teach your kids the basics of construction or simply want to give them a fun place of their own to play in, finding the right type of wood for your treehouse needs is vital.