How much does a treehouse cost to build?
How much does a treehouse cost to build?
$500 – $2,000 average DIY cost (basic platform tree fort)
$4,000 – $15,000 average cost (simple playhouse)
$10,000 – $60,000 average cost (higher end / no plumbing)
$80,000 – $300,000 average cost (livable treehouse)
Treehouse prices by size
The average cost to build a treehouse is $4,000 to $15,000 for a basic kids' playhouse or $10,000 to $60,000 for a higher-end cabin with electric and Wi-Fi. A livable treehouse with plumbing, electric, and insulation costs $80,000 to $300,000. A luxury treehouse by Treehouse Masters costs $300,000 to $1,000,000.
|Treehouse size||Average total cost|
|Small (36 – 49 square feet)||$2,500 – $10,000|
|Medium (64 – 81 square feet)||$4,500 – $20,000|
|Large (100 – 144 square feet)||$6,500 – $30,000|
|Extra-large (150+ square feet)||$10,000 – $60,000|
Treehouse prices range from $75 to $500+ per square foot with professional installation, depending on the size and whether it's custom or built with a prefab kit.
A simple DIY platform treehouse costs $500 to $2,000 on average if you already have the tools.
Kids' treehouses typically range from 6'x6' to 12'x12'. A treehouse with 8' to 10' diameter will allow two children to play comfortably.
Prefab treehouse kit vs. custom treehouse
Prefab treehouse kit prices
Prefabricated treehouse kits cost $500 to $2,500+ for kits that include all the necessary hardware but no lumber or tools. Some companies sell the corresponding building plans separately for $50 to $200. Treehouse hardware kits come in 1- to 4-tree designs and square, A-frame, hexagon, and octagon shapes.
All-inclusive prefab treehouse kits cost $6,000 to $25,000+ before installation, depending on the size and features. Installation adds $2,000 to $6,000.
Custom treehouse cost
Custom treehouse costs vary greatly depending on the size, features, structural complexity, and the professionals involved in the design and construction. Building a custom treehouse often involves extra costs for travel to the site, consultation, design, blueprints, and crew lodging.
|Custom treehouse type||Average total cost|
|Kids' playhouse (simple)||$6,500 – $15,000|
|Kids' playhouse (high end finishes, electric)||$20,000 – $50,000|
|Large/Adult cabin (finished interior, electric, Wi-Fi)||$60,000 – $150,000|
|Livable home / guest house||$100,000 – $300,000+|
Most custom treehouses also include $1,000 to $10,000+ extra in travel, consulting, and design fees.
Treehouse building cost factors
The following factors affect the cost:
Size & shape – Costs increase with size since more labor and materials are needed to build a bigger treehouse vs. a small one. Simple square treehouses are the cheapest and easiest to build. Complex shapes like hexagonal and octagonal typically cost more.
Type – The cost to build a luxury treehouse or a treehouse to live in, with some or all of the same amenities of a traditional house—including lighting and electrical wiring, Wi-Fi, insulation, and plumbing—is significantly higher than the cost to build one for kids to play in.
Accessibility – Costs increase if the tree or trees you are building in are difficult to reach with the trucks, equipment, and tools needed for construction. Uneven ground around the trees may also drive up costs due to the extra time needed to secure ladders and scaffolding.
Height – Treehouses higher than 8' off the ground typically cost more to build because they require extra equipment and scaffolding.
Number of levels – A single platform treehouse requires less labor and materials than a double-decker treehouse. Having multiple levels requires material for the additional platforms but also for stairs and railings to move between them.
Wood type & quality – Pressure treated wood is the cheapest for decking and resists rot and termites. Higher quality wood costs more but looks better for finishing and is stronger and more durable. The most common woods for treehouse framing are cedar, cypress, and redwood.
Cedar costs $10 $30 per board foot (12"x12"x1").
Cypress costs $4 to $9 per board foot.
Redwood costs $5 to $20 per board foot.
Other materials – Other materials may include siding, roofing, knee braces, brackets, bolts, and supports. Treehouse Attachment Bolts (TABs) cost $75 to $200+ each and are designed to support the heavy weight of larger treehouse structures.
Insurance – If you are building a treehouse with the intent to live in it or rent it out, you'll need to insure it.
Arborist – Hiring an arborist costs $100 to $250 per hour or $150 to $450 for a single-tree report to confirm the tree can support the treehouse. The assessment costs more if your treehouse uses multiple trees or if the arborist assesses several trees to find the best one for your project.
Labor costs to build a treehouse
Treehouse builders and master carpenters charge $100 to $200+ per hour. Total labor costs depend greatly on the size and type of treehouse. Constructing a small, simple treehouse may take a day or two, while a large treehouse designed to work or live in can take several months or more.
Permits – Construction permits cost $500 to $2,000, depending on the project size and details. A simple play treehouse may not require a permit in some areas, but a larger structure or a livable treehouse with electric and plumbing may require several permits and inspections.
Architect – Architects charge $100 to $250 per hour or $2,000 to $5,000 to design and help create blueprints.
Electrician –The cost to run power to the treehouse is $10 to $25 per square foot for a new underground power line.Once you have power to the treehouse location, running new electrical wiring costs $4 to $9 per square foot.
Treehouse accessories and customizations
You can customize your treehouse with any number of add-ons and accessories. The table below shows average price ranges for common treehouse accessories.
|Decorative latches & hinges, climbing handles||$4 – $10|
|Captain's wheel||$20 – $40|
|Fireman's pole||$60 – $125|
|Swing (wooden, tire)||$50 – $300|
|Zip line kit||$250 – $2,000+|
|Rock climbing wall||$400 – $1,500|
|Slide||$150 – $700|
|Climbing net||$50 – $300|
|Rope ladder||$50 – $150|
|Rope bridgekit||$300 – $2,000+|
|Solar-powered string lights||$20 – $60+|
DIY vs. professional
Building a treehouse DIY can save you 50% to 60% in labor costs. A small, simple, treehouse can be fairly straightforward to build yourself, but a more complex design may require a professional. If you choose to go the DIY route, consult with a treehouse builder to confirm your building plans are safe.
What is the best type of tree for a treehouse?
Most deciduous and some coniferous trees are dense, strong, and suitable for a treehouse. Deciduous trees lose their leaves in winter, while coniferous trees bear cones and have needles. Some good options include beech, oak, maple, cedar, hemlock, and fir. Avoid soft species like poplar, spruce, and willow.
The treehouse size and design will affect what size tree is most suitable. For a typical 8'x8' treehouse, choose a healthy tree with at least a 12" diameter trunk. Large, heavy treehouses may need a bigger trunk. Smaller trees may work well for designs using more than one tree for support.
Does building a treehouse harm the tree?
While all treehouses cause some damage to the trees they're built in, a well-designed treehouse should only cause temporary damage the tree can recover from. Follow these guidelines to reduce tree damage during construction:
Choose a strong, healthy tree.
Design the treehouse so it does not interfere with the tree's natural growth.
Create as few intrusions as possible to minimize the areas susceptible to infection.
Do not put anything in the tree that will rust.
Use only high load-bearing galvanized nails or bolts.
Use Tree Attachment Bolts (TABs) designed to cause minimal damage.
Avoid overloading the tree with ropes and accessories that will put extra stress on the limbs.
How much does a treehouse built by Treehouse Masters cost?
A custom residential treehouse built by Treehouse Masters, or Nelson Treehouse, ranges from $300,000 to $1,000,000+. The total cost depends on site accessibility, the number of trees involved, treehouse height, materials and finishes, and the amenities included.
The minimum cost for Nelson Treehouse's design services is $30,000.
Treehouses built outside of the Nelson Treehouse service area–within one hour of the Fall City, Washington, headquarters–also incur travel and crew lodging expenses, which can add $30,000.
Most Treehouse Masters treehouses are 200 to 800 square feet and include some or all the features of a typical residential home.
Do you need a permit to build a treehouse?
You may need a permit to build a treehouse, depending on the location, size, and use. Many cities do not require a permit for a small, child's treehouse without any residential features like insulation or electrical wiring. Most large treehouses and those built for more than just child's play require permits.
Be sure to check with your local authorities and HOA for any building, zoning, setback, or height requirements before building your treehouse.
How long does it take to build a treehouse?
Building a treehouse can take as little as 2 days or as long as 1 year, depending on the crew size and the treehouse size and type.
A small, simple, square platform treehouse for kids takes 2 days to a week to build.
Constructing a large or more complex treehouse may take 2 to 6 weeks.
A fully custom, livable treehouse with plumbing and electric can take several months to a year for design, construction, and finishing.
How long do treehouses last?
A well-built treehouse lasts 10 to 25+ years. Major factors affecting a treehouse's longevity are material and construction quality, maintenance frequency, and environmental conditions. Treehouses in areas with harsh winters may wear faster than those in mild climates.
Regularly inspect and maintain your treehouse to ensure a long lifespan.
Getting estimates from treehouse builders
When searching for professional carpenters or treehouse builders near you, be sure to:
Get at least 3 detailed treehouse estimates for the same project description to compare.
Look for treehouse builders with excellent reviews on HomeGuide and Google.
Consult a Registered Consulting Arborist (RCA) or an ISA certified arborist to confirm the tree's health and ability to support the treehouse.
Choose a licensed, bonded, and insured treehouse builder who has been in business 5+ years.
Ask for references and a portfolio of past similar projects.
Only pay in full when the job is complete and has passed any necessary inspections.
Beware of the lowest bidder as this may indicate lower quality work.
Questions to ask
Ask these important questions before hiring a treehouse builder:
Are you licensed and insured?
How many treehouses like this have you built?
Do you have a portfolio and references to share?
Do you give free estimates?
Do you guarantee your week?
Does the bid includes all planning, design, construction, and cleanup?
Do I need a permit for this treehouse, and will you handle the permitting process?
What design and material options do I have?
How long will this project take?
How do you confirm the tree is healthy and can support the treehouse?
Who is my main point of contact for the project?
How do I prepare my property for the project?