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Old 07-25-2013, 08:36 PM   #1
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Freestanding treehouse posts

I'm building my son a treehouse over a 9x12 concrete slab that was just sitting in my backyard when we bought the house. I've dug post holes around it and plan on a 16x16 deck with a 9x12 house on top. the deck will be a little over 6" off the ground. The floor and railings will be made from recycled boards from a deck we just replaced, but I've got to buy new posts, beams and joists.

I know the sturdiest approach would be double 2x10 beams atop notched 6x6 posts on concrete tubes with post bases but I'm concerned about maneuvering the heavy 6x6's, cost, time...this is a weekend home and its been a rainy summer so i have limited time to work on it.

Can I get away with 4x4 posts provided i use adequate cross bracing?
Burying the posts in the holes with a gravel base, then pouring the concrete?
Longevity isn't a concern. It's a treehouse after all. But safety is, obviously.

Any advice welcome.

Thank you


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Old 07-25-2013, 09:26 PM   #2
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You need to be pulling a building permit for that, since it can be considered a actual structure, and you may be taxed for it. Plus your Home Owner's Insurance can decide to drop you, or raise your rates for this, even though it is 6" off the ground.


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Old 07-26-2013, 07:42 AM   #3
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Agree, I would do it w/o the concrete bases. Then it is permit-free and uncontrolled... (At least in our area it is) If you're pouring footings, then if any neighbor complains they can make you stop. Ours is built entirely on wood... and not permanently grounded. See...

For a simple system (see our jungle fort) look at

Their system creates nice sized platforms with nothing sunk into the ground. You just buy the plans for $100 or so then you go get the wood and build it how you want.

Also - why do you want a treehouse over a slab anyways? I'd save that slab for a shed and put the treehouse over softer ground.

Also Also - I did not need 6x6's anywhere, and you probly shouldn't either. Everything was done out of 4x4 or 2x material, save for our one swing beam which is 4x6.

Last edited by SquishyBall; 07-26-2013 at 07:59 AM.
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Old 07-26-2013, 07:59 AM   #4
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SquishyBall, wait you are in Chicago. Up there you just have to have a truck pull up with some company name on it, and the busy bodies in the neighborhood are worried that something is going on.

There are some areas that even if no footings are in place, a deck that large with a building on top, the permit office would like to see what is going on, so that they can say yeah or nah. Also if you have a HOA, you have to pass it by them, which usually it gets shot down, because "it does not fit in", even though it is in the back yard.

Look up Tree house torn down, due to local inspector states too high, too large, not built properly, etc, in some form or another. You would be surprised how many decks and tree houses/play houses have been torn down, due to the local AHJ.
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Old 07-26-2013, 08:02 AM   #5
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Getting a permit to build a kid's tree house is so un-American it is scary.
"Ask me anything. If I don't know the answer I'll make something up."
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Old 07-26-2013, 08:17 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by PoleCat View Post
Getting a permit to build a kid's tree house is so un-American it is scary.
Did you read that this is a deck that is 256sqft, with a shed on top that is 108sqft.

The OP is not just building a tree house again, they are building what would be considered a permanent structure on top of a platform. A lot of places will not let this fly without permits being pulled, and plans showing how this building is going to be built, that is being placed on top of it.


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