How much does it cost to build a treehouse?
Get free estimates from landscapers near you
Build Treehouse Cost Guide
Updated: October 4, 2022
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 $8,000 to $35,000, with most homeowners paying around $15,000 for a 10’ x 10’ treehouse built out of redwood with standard walls, a gable roof, and a fixed ladder with a small surrounding deck. This project’s low cost is $4,000 to build a 6’ x 6’ open-platform treehouse from cypress with no walls or roof, with a safety railing and ladder. The high cost is $100,000 to construct a double-decker 12’ x 12’ cedar treehouse with walls, a roof, interior and exterior stairs, a full deck, and a completely finished interior.
Treehouse Building Costs
|Building a Treehouse Prices|
|National average cost||$15,000|
Treehouse Pricing by Size
Treehouses can be built in many different sizes and configurations, depending on the tree size and build style. They can be simple square decks or elaborate multi-story buildings spanning two trees. When considering the project cost, the treehouse size generally plays a role in its total cost. Size refers to the size of the “footprint” of the treehouse or the deck or bottom section’s overall square footage. 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 house is finished or unfinished inside. The more lumber needed to construct it, the higher the costs, regardless of the footprint. For example, a 10’ square treehouse platform will cost significantly less than a 10’ square treehouse with walls and a roof, which will cost less than a 10’ square two-story treehouse. For this reason, expect to see a wide range of costs. In general, the larger the footprint, the more you can do with the space. This means that costs can begin to climb quickly as you size up.
The costs below are for custom, professionally built treehouses. Keep in mind that costs range depending on the style and level of work done on the project.
|Size||Average Cost Range (Built)|
|6’ x 6’||$4,000 - $15,000|
|7’ x 7’||$5,000 - $18,000|
|8’ x 8’||$6,000 - $23,000|
|9’ x 9’||$7,000 - $27,000|
|10’ x 10’||$8,000 - $35,000|
|12’ x 12’||$10,000 - $50,000|
Treehouse Cost by Wood Type
The material your treehouse is built from plays a large role in the final project cost. Treehouses are generally built from lumber, but the lumber type varies, with a few types being common. Pressure-treated wood is generally not recommended for use in these construction projects because the chemicals in the treated wood will come in contact with the living tree. Pressure-treated wood contains copper carbon arsonate, meaning arsenic can leach into the tree, potentially harming it and shortening its lifespan. Therefore, it is recommended that you use a naturally rot-resistant wood. The three most common wood types for this project are cypress, redwood, and cedar. Costs for all three vary, depending on your location and the wood subtype. For example, cedar can be red or yellow, and western cedar will cost more on the East Coast than it will on the West Coast.
If you choose to build it from a kit, you must purchase the lumber separately. If you have a treehouse built for you, your contractor will help select the best wood for the job. Below are the material costs per board foot for the three most common wood types and the cost of a basic 10’ square treehouse with a gable roof and standard walls built from the three materials.
|Wood Type||Average Cost per Board Foot (Material Only)||Average Cost (10' Treehouse Built)|
|Cypress||$6 - $9||$7,000 - $15,000|
|Redwood||$6 - $20||$10,000 - $25,000|
|Cedar||$10 - $35||$12,000 - $35,000|
Cypress costs between $6 and $9 a board foot. To build a 10’ x 10’ treehouse with a roof and walls from this material, expect costs of between $7,000 and $15,000. 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 rot better than some other softwoods like pine but not as well as cedar or redwood. It is readily available, making it more affordable.
Redwood averages $9 to $20 a board foot. 10 ’x 10’ treehouses with walls and a roof built from redwood costs $10,000 to $25,000. Redwood is a very popular softwood for building these houses. 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 house 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.
Cedar costs between $10 and $35 a board foot. To build 10’ x 10’ treehouses with a roof and walls out of cedar, prices range from $12,000 to $35,000. 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 it, cedar requires a primer because the sap in the wood 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.
Treehouse Prices by Design
Treehouses can be built in many different styles and designs. The more elaborate you get, the more costly the project. Elaborate treehouses use a lot more material and also take more time to plan, design, and build, so your material and labor costs will be higher. Simple treehouses cost less, as they require less to build. Keep in mind that not every tree can handle every design. Some treehouses may be best designed around the tree and your needs, rather than with a specific style in mind. Some treehouses will be built around a single tree, while others may be suspended between two trees to get the best support. Therefore, most people need to be fairly flexible in how they approach the project to get the best results. Below are some of the most common treehouse designs and the average costs for professional custom building.
|Design||Average Cost Range (Built)|
|Square||$6,000 - $15,000|
|A-Frame||$10,000 - $25,000|
|Hexagon||$12,000 - $30,000|
|Octagon||$15,000 - $35,000|
|Double-Decker||$35,000 - $100,000|
The average cost to build square treehouses falls between $6,000 and $15,000. This is the most common 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. They can have a roof or not, depending on the style, with gable roofs being the most common. Costs vary depending on the size, material, and overall style and level of finish.
A-frame treehouses cost between $10,000 and $25,000 to build. A-frames are another really popular design. They start with a square base, which has all the benefits of the square treehouses in terms of versatility and affordability to build. The difference is that the roof extends from the peak down to the edges of the floor, so it does not have walls on two sides. This allows it to fit into tighter spaces or between two trees better. A-frames require more roofing material, so they have higher costs. They also have less interior space than a square treehouse.
Hexagonal treehouses average $12,000 to $30,000 to build. 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. It is also very common to install windows in each of the six walls to increase the interior light. When completed, this can be a stunning design, but overall costs start at more than double that of a square treehouse.
Octagonal treehouses cost between $15,000 and $35,000 to build. Octagonal treehouses are also very impressive and are as close to a circular design as one could reasonably expect. But like the hexagon design, 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. Like hexagonal treehouses, it is common to fit a window into each wall, increasing the amount of light inside but also increasing costs.
The cost to build double-decker treehouses ranges from $35,000 to $100,000, depending on the total size and the design layout. 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. It is very common when building this style to include many elaborate features like slides, built-in furnishings, and hammocks simply because you have the additional space. To be two stories, it must be much bigger overall, meaning you need a much larger tree to support it.
Treehouse Cost by Brand
There are many ways to build a treehouse in your yard, and while some people want to do the job DIY, others hire a professional company that designs and builds only treehouses. Professional builders create custom designs based on the site, tree, and your intentions. They build both custom treehouses for children and immense, fully finished treehouses for adults, families, and resorts. The treehouses they produce are not your average backyard treehouses. They can build you a treehouse that can be lived in year-round or one for your children that your grandchildren will come and use someday as well. Their work is elaborate and one-of-a-kind, so their costs are considerably higher than one you can build yourself or one that you hire a carpenter to build for you using a set of standard plans.
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.
|Building Company||Starting Costs|
|The Treehouse Guys||$75,000|
The Treehouse Guys
To have The Treehouse Guys build your treehouse for you, expect costs to start at $75,000. This is for the most basic of their designs. If you want something larger or more elaborate, costs are much higher. The Treehouse guys come to you to build you the exact treehouse of your dreams. They take on any size, 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. Depending on the timing and availability, you may need to book out several months ahead of time to get your project done.
Starting costs for Nelson Treehouse are around $300,000. This includes all travel, design, and building costs. This is the baseline, and many projects go much higher in total costs. 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 will also build any type you can imagine, including many large, elaborate resort-style designs. While they will work with you to customize the space, you may need to schedule the build several months in advance.
Cost to Build a Treehouse
There are many different ways to build a treehouse, meaning you can also have a wide range of labor costs. When hiring a carpenter or other building professional to build your treehouse, expect labor costs of between $100 and $200 an hour. Labor costs also vary depending on the type, size, style, placement, and how involved the design and evaluation process is.
Basic treehouses consisting of walls, decking, and roofing that uses tree bolts and built-in ladders to erect can take between 20 and 30 hours to build for a total of $2,000 to $6,000 in labor. However, more elaborate treehouses, one with stairs to an upper story, multiple windows, built-in furnishings, or one that spans two trees, can take up to 100 or 150 hours to build for a labor cost of $10,000 to $30,000.
In addition to the labor costs, keep in mind that treehouses have a wide range of associated costs, based on the materials and construction type and process. Some treehouses can be constructed on the ground and then lifted into the tree, while others are built in situ. The most common approach uses a combination of these methods, assembling on the ground whenever possible to make it easier on the builder.
Below is a basic breakdown of the costs involved in building a treehouse. Keep in mind that more elaborate designs may need more materials or have different costs than simplistic designs.
|Project Area||Average Costs|
|Labor||$100 - $200/hour|
|Frame||$12 - $25/sq.ft.|
|Decking||$10 - $25/sq.ft.|
|Siding||$3 - $10/sq.ft.|
|Roofing||$8 - $10/sq.ft.|
|Bolts / Supports||$100 - $150/each|
|Joists||$10 - $15/joist|
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 one 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 one that is the size of the average home, expect costs closer to $300,000. To have a treehouse you can live in, you must have a tree that can support the size and weight of the structure. Often, treehouses this size must use two or more trees, and you may have decking or walkways connecting the various areas. The more complex the design, the more costly the project.
Treehouse Kit vs Custom Treehouse
If you want to construct a treehouse yourself but are unsure how to begin, it is possible to purchase a kit. Treehouse kits cost between $300 and $1,000 and contain the plans to build it and all the hardware necessary. You need to supply the lumber or other materials to complete the build. With the plans and hardware, however, a kit can make it much easier for either a DIY homeowner or a contractor to assemble the final treehouse. Kits are generally rated for a range of sizes, such as 90 to 120 sq.ft., so you will have some flexibility in how you build and assemble, based on the tree you choose.
This can be a significant saving over having a custom treehouse designed and built for you. Designing a custom treehouse can cost $2,000 to $3,000 just in designs and plans alone before the actual labor begins. Using the included plans and hardware in the kit, you can save money and make the entire process faster and easier.
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 it, you may want to hire an arborist to examine the tree to ensure it can handle the weight of the house without harming it.
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 house, and use proper building materials and methods to ensure the safety of the treehouse going forward.
Enhancement and Improvement Costs
With treehouses being roughly 10’ off the ground, you need a method to get into them. Ladders are one of the most common methods for simple treehouses that do not need a full staircase. You can use solid ladders that are permanently affixed, rope ladders, or anything in between. A ladder typically costs between $100 and $200 for a solid wooden ladder.
You may want to construct a deck around the treehouse to extend its footprint and give it some outdoor space. Decks should have a full railing around them for safety, and they can surround the treehouse or simply extend out on one side. They cost an additional $25 to $35 a square foot.
If this is more than just a children’s hangout, you may want to install a fireplace. The fireplace itself will cost between $3,000 to $4,000, and you should use non-combustible materials on the floor and surrounding area. This will add $1,000 to $2,000 to the design.
Treehouses need space, so 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 $400 to $1,100 for the average tree.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- Tree growth. 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. Do not use pressurized lumber or other materials that can leach chemicals into the tree.
- Tree health. 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, with a minimum of a 12” diameter.
- Permit. You may be required to get a permit before building a treehouse in some areas. Check with your local municipality for more information.
- Utility lines. If your treehouse needs footers for support, always call your local utility companies before digging to ensure you do not hit buried electric, sewer, or water lines.
- Neighborhood. If the treehouse may impact your neighbor in any way, speak to them before proceeding. If you live in an HOA, notify them before you begin.
- Live-in treehouse. It is possible to build a treehouse that you can live in, complete with heating, electricity, insulation, and finished interiors. Costs start at around $200,000 to $300,000 for these projects and may go higher.
- Do you need a permit to build a treehouse?
This depends on where you live. Some cities and towns require permits. Check with your local municipality for more information.
- What kind of wood should I use to build a treehouse?
Cypress, redwood, and cedar are the preferred woods for treehouses. Avoid using pressurized wood because it contains chemicals that may harm the tree.
- 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. If you are not sure, have an arborist examine it and advise.
- Do treehouses kill trees?
It is possible to build a treehouse that can harm or kill your tree, but treehouses can be constructed such that they do not cause any harm. This may involve consulting an arborist and a specialized company that understands the process and uses materials designed for this purpose.
- 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 $15,000 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. Some treehouses use supports from the ground and are built around the tree. These are not as likely to move.