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How Much Does It Cost to Build a Treehouse?

Average range: $6,000-$15,000
Low
$4,000
Average Cost
$7,000
High
$50,000
(10x10-foot treehouse with walls and roof, unfinished inside with a wood ladder)

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How Much Does It Cost to Build a Treehouse?

Average range: $6,000-$15,000
Low
$4,000
Average Cost
$7,000
High
$50,000
(10x10-foot treehouse with walls and roof, unfinished inside with a wood ladder)

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Treehouses can be magical places for children to spend time outside. They can be simple or elaborate and places to dream, create, read, or spend time with friends. There are many ways to build a treehouse. Some designs incorporate electricity and glass windows, while others are simple platforms with a railing.

These variations in design and material types lead to a wide range of associated costs. The national average range to build a treehouse is from $6,000 to $15,000, with most homeowners paying around $7,000 for a 10x10-foot treehouse, professionally constructed out of basic lumber with a simple design that includes a roof and walls. At the lowest cost, it is possible to build an open-platform treehouse with no walls or roof, with a safety railing and ladder for $4,000. At the highest end, you can construct a two-story, 10x10-foot treehouse with walls, roof, and deck that is completely finished inside for $50,000.

Treehouse Building Costs

Building a Treehouse Prices
National average cost$7,000
Average range$6,000-$15,000
Minimum cost$4,000
Maximum cost$50,000
Updated: What's new?

Build Treehouse Cost by Project Range

Low
$4,000
Open-platform treehouse with no walls or roof, with a safety railing and ladder
Average Cost
$7,000
10x10-foot treehouse with walls and roof, unfinished inside with a wood ladder
High
$50,000
10x10-foot, double-decker treehouse with walls, roof, and deck, completely finished interior

Treehouse Pricing by Size

Treehouses can be built in many different sizes and configurations, depending on the tree size and build style. Size refers to the size of the “footprint” of the treehouse. Prices vary widely, depending on the materials, style, and whether you have walls and a roof or just a platform. Also, take into account whether the treehouse is finished or unfinished inside.


Treehouse Pricing Chart

Treehouse Pricing Chart


Size of TreehouseAverage Cost Range (Built)
6’ x 6’$2,000 - $6,000
7’ x 7’$3,000 - $8,000
8’ x 8’$4,000 - $10,000
9’ x 9’$5,000 - $12,000
10’ x 10’$6,000 - $15,000
12’ x 12’$9,000 - $17,000


Treehouse Cost by Wood Type

Pressure-treated wood is generally not recommended for use in treehouse projects because the chemicals in the treated wood will come in contact with the living tree. Therefore, it is recommended that you use a naturally rot-resistant wood. There are a few good options to choose from:


Treehouse Wood Costs


Wood TypeAverage Cost (Material Only)
Cypress$4.50 - $5/sq.ft.
Redwood$5 - $17/sq.ft.
Cedar$8 - $20/sq.ft.


Cypress Treehouse

Cypress is a softwood that is predominantly a light yellowish-brown with a whiter sapwood and darker grain. It is very easy to work with, but it can have a greasy feel to the wood when left unfinished. Cypress is considered moderately durable in resistance to rot and insect activity. It resists better than some other softwoods but not as well as cedar or redwood. It is readily available, making it more affordable. Cypress costs between $4.50 and $5 a square foot.

Redwood Treehouse

Redwood is a very popular softwood for building treehouses. It has a beautiful rich reddish color and is exceptionally lightweight yet durable. It does not shrink or expand as much as other woods. This means that the treehouse remains stable, especially when trying not to nail to the tree any more than necessary. Redwood is very rot and insect-resistant, so your treehouse could last for years with little maintenance. Due to changes in availability, it has a wide range of costs. Expect to pay between $5 and $17 a square foot on average.

Cedar Treehouse

Cedar is one of the most popular materials for building outdoors. It is the best material for resisting both insect activity and rot due to moisture, and it is readily available and easy to work with. However, if you want to paint your treehouse, cedar requires a primer because cedar can bleed through paint, a phenomenon known as “cedar bleed.” While cedar is very popular and frequently used, it can be more expensive than other materials. It costs around $8 to $20 a square foot.


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Treehouse Prices by Design

Treehouses can be built in many different styles and designs. The more elaborate you get, the more costly the project, mostly due to labor. Simple treehouses cost less, and not every tree can handle any design. Some treehouses may be best designed around the tree and your needs, rather than with a specific style in mind. Below are some of the most common treehouse designs and the average costs for professional building.


Treehouse Prices Chart

Treehouse Prices Chart


Treehouse DesignAverage Cost Range (built)
Square$6,000 - $15,000
A-Frame$6,000 - $15,000
Hexagon$12,000 - $25,000
Octagon$15,000 - $30,000
Double-Decker$15,000 - $55,000


Square Treehouse

This is the most common treehouse design because it is the simplest to build. Square treehouses can be simple platforms or have various walls and roofs. They can also be built around trees or between two trees so that you have many options for the build. Costs vary depending on the size, material, and overall style and level of finish. An average cost to build, assuming walls and a roof, falls between $6,000 and $15,000 on average.

A-Frame Treehouse

A-frames are another really popular treehouse design. They start with a square base, which has all the benefits of the square treehouse in terms of versatility and affordability to build. The difference is that the roof extends from the peak down to the edges of the treehouse floor, so it does not have walls on two sides. This allows the treehouse to fit into tighter spaces or between two trees better. Costs average $6,000 to $15,000.

Hexagon Treehouse

Hexagonal treehouses are impressive looking, but they are also more difficult to build, with a lot more labor involved. Each “side” of the hexagon must be cut and fitted separately. This means each side must have its own wall, which must meet the roof and floor exactly. When completed, this can be a stunning design, but overall costs start at roughly double that of a square treehouse. Expect costs to be between $12,000 and $25,000 for these layouts.

Octagon Treehouse

Octagonal treehouses are also very impressive and are as close to a circular treehouse as one could reasonably expect. But like the hexagon treehouse, this is a more complicated and labor-intensive build. You have 8 separate small walls to build. Each wall must fit the roof and floor perfectly, which makes for a time-consuming construction. Expect costs of approximately $15,000 to $30,000.

Double-Decker Treehouse

Double-decker treehouses are definitely more elaborate than the basic square and A-frame models. This is not a typical backyard treehouse for kids because you need to include an interior set of stairs, which requires enough space inside to accommodate. However, the cost of building up is not that much more because the roof size remains the same. To be two stories, your treehouse must be much bigger overall, meaning you need a much larger tree to support it. Expect costs to start at $15,000 and climb to roughly $55,000 for some models.

Treehouse Cost by Brand

While it is possible to build a treehouse yourself or have one constructed by a carpenter or other contractor who works with wood, there are some companies and professionals who work exclusively with treehouses. They build both custom treehouses for children and immense, fully finished treehouses for adults, families, and resorts. These treehouses are customized to the site, tree, and individual. They are not your average backyard treehouses, but if you want to live in a treehouse or have something that will last for generations, these are the companies to contact.

Their costs include a site visit, fully customized and detailed plans and drawings, and the complete construction and finishing of any treehouse they build. Below are the starting costs for each company, but it is common for costs to be much higher for completed projects.


Treehouse Prices


Treehouse Building CompanyStarting Costs
Treehouse Guys$75,000
Nelson Treehouse$300,000


The Treehouse Guys Cost

The Treehouse guys come to you to build you the exact treehouse of your dreams. They take on any size treehouse, including treehouse homes of up to 2,500 sq.ft. They charge for travel, which adds $5,000 to $10,000 to the project cost. A basic treehouse has starting costs of $75,000. If you want something elaborate, expect costs to be much higher.

Nelson Treehouse Cost

If you have seen the show Treehouse Master, then you know the work of Nelson Treehouse. Pete Nelson also travels to you to build you the custom treehouse of your dreams. They have a current starting baseline cost of $300,000. This includes all travel, design, and building costs. This is the baseline, and many projects go much higher in total costs.

Cost to Build a Treehouse

Labor costs also vary depending on the treehouse type, size, style, placement, and how involved the design and evaluation process is. In most cases, the average cost, including evaluation and designs, is around $100 to $150 an hour to build the treehouse.

A 10x10-foot basic treehouse, professionally constructed, using a partial footing frame and tree bolts, costs around $3,000 in labor for a total of about $7,000 for the entire project.

Cost to Build a Treehouse to Live in

For many people, living in a treehouse can be a dream. For some, it can also be a reality. Building a treehouse to live in takes a specialist who works with an engineer to ensure the tree(s) can hold the building. It takes considerably more lumber and other materials to finish this treehouse. It also has to have utilities, insulation, staircases, and other amenities. Therefore, starting costs for a treehouse that you can live in are around $200,000 for a moderate treehouse. If you want a treehouse that is the size of the average home, expect costs closer to $300,000.



ewly built wooden tree hut in oak trees with pasture

Treehouse Construction Process

The building process for the treehouse depends a great deal on the type of treehouse you are building. There are several different ways of constructing a treehouse. Some methods involve building the treehouse on the ground, and then lifting it to the tree and building a frame below it for support. Another technique works with the tree’s natural shape, building around the trunk and branches and cantilevering the actual treehouse to the trunk to support it.

Some people may also build a frame around or beside the tree, and then construct a base and build up from there. Others put supports on the trunk, and then build around or beside the tree using the supports to hold the base rather than having footings.

The easiest method of construction may be a combination approach. Use footings as support and bolts on the trunk as further support and build the treehouse so that it either wraps the trunk or is built just beside the trunk. With this approach, concrete footings are sunk, like they are with decks, and a frame constructed ($1 to $2/sq.ft. for the footings). Lag bolts ($100/each) are used to attach the frame to the tree and offer support on this end.

After the frame is created, construction proceeds like building a home with a wooden frame floor with standard joists ($10 to $15/per joist). First, the floor is constructed by laying plywood ($25 to $40/sheet) over the frame. The frame is extended upward to support the walls and roof of the treehouse. Then, these are also covered in plywood, like you are building the walls and roof of a simple home.

From there, the walls are sided ($3 to $10/sq.ft.), and the roof is shingled ($80 to $100/per square). The floor inside may be finished in various ways, including simply staining the plywood, putting down an outdoor carpet, or installing another flooring material that will hold up well outdoors.

If desired, the interior of the treehouse can be finished or left bare. Most simple children’s treehouses remain bare inside with the frame showing. Windows and a door can be added if desired but are not necessary. Many treehouses for kids simply have openings. Accessories can also be added, such as rope swings, buckets, pulleys, slides, and other toys at this stage.


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Treehouse Kit vs Custom Treehouse

If you want to construct the treehouse yourself but are unsure of how to begin, it is possible to purchase a treehouse kit. This consists of all the materials and some semi-finished walls and timbers. All you need to do is the assembly. A basic kit costs around $600, while more elaborate kits cost up to $20,000. These do not include any installation, and you will either need to build it yourself or hire someone to do the assembling.

Custom treehouses can be built from plans or designed just for your home. A basic custom treehouse is one that is made from lumber and a set of plans that can be altered to fit your tree and location. A fully custom treehouse is one that is designed by a treehouse professional just for your property. It will be unique and have starting costs of around $20,000 for basic treehouses.

This is why most people go the middle route of having a treehouse built from lumber and a set of plans with minor adjustments as needed, which has an average finished cost of $7,000.

Treehouse Ladder

The method you get into the treehouse varies, depending on how much space you have, the treehouse shape and style, and the age of the children using it. Simple ladders can be constructed by attaching rungs directly to the tree, rope ladders can be used and may be pulled in when the children are inside, solid ladders can be removed or nailed into place, or you can choose to build a staircase leading to the treehouse. Ladders cost anywhere from $100 for a simple wooden ladder to $25 per square foot for a staircase.

Best Tree for a Treehouse

Not every tree is suitable for a treehouse. Trees need to be a minimum of 12 inches in diameter with branches that are roughly 8 inches in diameter, thicker if the tree is a softwood. Ideally, the tree should be a maple, oak, fir, beech, or hemlock because these are generally strong enough to support the house.

You also want to ensure that the treehouse is easy to reach. For safety, it should be no more than 8 to 10 feet off the ground but not much lower than 7 feet to avoid people hitting their heads. The tree should have enough space around it to accommodate the platform at this height, preferably without needing to cut too many branches.

It is usually a good idea to have the tree evaluated. Many professional treehouse building companies assess the tree for you to make sure it is a good fit. If you choose to have a carpenter or general contractor build the treehouse, you may want to hire an arborist to examine the tree to ensure it can handle the weight of the treehouse without harming it.

Treehouse Safety

When building a treehouse for children, keep safety in mind. They should ideally not be more than 10 feet off the ground, and any platforms not enclosed by walls should have a safety railing that is tall enough to prevent anyone from falling over. Make sure the tree is healthy and strong enough to support the treehouse, and use proper building materials and methods to ensure the safety of the treehouse going forward.


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Enhancement and Improvement Costs

Windows

If you want to make the treehouse more special, install glass windows in the walls. They cost around $330 each for vinyl sash windows.

Door

Some treehouses may have doors that can be shut for added privacy. Any style of door can be used like in a house. Typical doors for use in a treehouse cost around $100 to $200 each.

Decks

You may want to construct a deck around the treehouse. This adds to the amount and type of use the treehouse gets. Expect to pay an additional $25 to $30 a square foot for the decking.

Fireplace

If you plan on using the treehouse all year and for more than just a hangout for children, you can install a wood-burning fireplace. This adds costs of around $3,000 to $4,000 to the design. Also, the floor needs to be made of non-combustible materials, for an extra $1,000.

Tree Removal

If you have two trees close together or have a dead or dying tree next to where you are building your treehouse, you may want to have it removed. Tree removal involves both cutting down the tree and grinding or removing the stump. This can give you more room for your treehouse. The process costs around $433 for the average tree.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • Trees are living things and will continue to grow after you build your treehouse. Invest in a design that takes the growth into consideration and does not use pass-through bolts or other materials that could harm the tree.
  • The tree itself must be healthy to have a safe and stable treehouse. Make sure it is not too young or old and is healthy and stable before beginning.
  • Get a building permit before construction, and check with your zoning board after the plans are drawn. Some areas may require special permits, while some yards may not be zoned for treehouses.
  • Always call your local utility companies before digging for footers to ensure you do not hit buried electric, sewer, or water lines.
  • If the treehouse may impact your neighbor in any way, speak to them before proceeding.
  • It is possible to build a treehouse that you can live in, complete with heating, electricity, insulation, and finished interiors. Costs are around $200,000 to $300,000 for these projects.

FAQs

  • Do you need a permit to build a treehouse?

This varies by city, but in general, yes you need a permit to build a treehouse. Check with your local town or city hall for more information.

  • What kind of wood should I use to build a treehouse?​

Cypress, redwood, and cedar are the preferred woods for treehouses.

  • What is the best tree to build a treehouse in?

Maple, oak, hemlock, fir, and beech are the best trees. Ensure they are at least 12 inches in diameter, with branches at least 8 inches in diameter.

  • Do treehouses kill trees?

Treehouses can be constructed such that they do not harm or kill the tree. This may involve consulting an arborist and a specialized company that understands the process.​​

  • How much does a small treehouse cost?

This depends on many factors, including material, whether it is a platform or fully enclosed treehouse, and how finished the interior is. Expect costs between $6,000 and $10,000 for most small treehouses.

  • Will the treehouse get higher over time as the tree grows?

Yes, if it is completely built into the tree. Some trees can grow as much as 1 foot a year in certain conditions, and after many years, the treehouse will have moved.

Cost to build a treehouse varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Updated:
The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources.
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Cost to build a treehouse varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources.