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Making sure your treehouse isn't leading to home insurance rate hikes

For those of us who have yards big enough to include large trees, there's an opportunity to add onto your property that you may not have looked at before. If your property includes a large, healthy tree, you may be able to add a treehouse.

Having their own space close to the skies may be a dream come true for many children. But dealing with the stress that comes with it may not be worth it for parents. Concerns about what it takes to build a treehouse, dealing with any potential risks and figuring out if these risks are covered by a home insurance policy are all things adults have to deal with.

Building a safe treehouse

If building a treehouse were as simple as finding a tree and throwing a house on top of it, there would probably be at least one on every block. The process of building a strong, sturdy treehouse can be very tedious and requires a lot of knowledge of carpentry and using tools properly. Hiring a professional for the job is recommended if you aren't completely certain you can do the job alone. But do keep in mind that there's always the option to pace out your work and communicate with a professional step-by-step if you need help along the way. This could serve as a great relationship-building exercise for you and whomever you're building the treehouse with.

Pre-building plans

Blindly picking a tree and climbing up a ladder with a hammer and nails most likely isn't a wise decision. There are steps that need to be taken before any actual building begins.

  • Contact your local planning department: Location is key with tree houses. You don't want it to be close to any power lines and you also don't want it to be a hindrance to any of your neighbors. Having a treehouse located somewhere where you can access or look into neighbors' property is not only frowned upon, but not allowed.

  • Make sure the tree is healthy: It would be extremely dangerous to build a treehouse in a tree that can't support the weight. One can only imagine what would happen if a bad windstorm came through or if too many people got inside at one time. It's recommended that you contact an arborist for a professional opinion on if your tree has all the necessary parts, such as a strong trunk, deep roots and more.

  • Making the plans: This is the part that a lot of people find the most complicated. Sitting down and drawing out a plan of what the treehouse will look like, while taking into account the size of the tree, isn't something most can just get up and do with no plan. This will take some serious homework.

  • Buying supplies: When you've finally got the plans for the treehouse drawn up, it's time to get supplies. It's best to do your research and find out exactly what kind of materials are best for your project.

  • Tips on building

    While having previous knowledge of using tools and building is definitely a plus, constructing a treehouse in one's own backyard is a completely different process. There are rules that are applicable to treehouse construction that aren't anywhere else. Just as there are rules that apply in general construction that don't apply to building a treehouse. Here are some tips on how to build a treehouse:

  • Build on the ground first: It's a lot easier to put together what you can on the ground and take it up the tree afterward. This makes the construction process a lot easier instead of trying to worry about building while also not falling.

  • Don't harm the tree: Remember that the tree is a living thing and if you cut into it too much, it could lead to long-term harm.

  • Plan for the future: Trees grow. So you should build your treehouse in a way that wouldn't become a problem and prevent that growth going into the future. Also, keep in mind that trees move with the wind. So don't have the treehouse in a place that's not flexible.

  • Bolt, don't nail: In order to help the tree and treehouse coexist , it's smartest to place the treehouse on top of branches and bolt it down instead of nailing it. This also allows the tree to grow.

  • Treehouses and insurance

    Before you even begin to build the treehouse, it's important to contact your insurance agency to see if it'll be covered as a part of your home insurance policy. Many factors come into play with this, like potential injuries, and it also depends on your coverage. The treehouse, or any incidents related to it, could be covered, force you to change your insurance policy or lead to your policy being dropped by your provider.

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