Treehouses can be an essential part of any child’s summer, and a way to give them some happy childhood memories. In able to do so, you need to consider a few different factors if you plan to build a treehouse in your yard. In a study done between 1990 and 2006, it was found that about 47,351 people under the age of 19 have been injured through treehouse related incidents. That’s why it is recommended that if you build a treehouse you purchase insurance for it.
Not all homeowners insurance policies will cover treehouses because a treehouse is what is known as an “attractive nuisance.” This basically means that the treehouse could entice children who don’t belong to your household to enter your property and climb into the treehouse. If these children were to get injured it would be a liability and the insurance company would have to pay out.
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Tips for Building a Safe Treehouse
For those insurance companies that will cover a treehouse, you need to make sure that your treehouse is safe, or is going to be built with safety measures in mind. While it is best to talk to your home insurance provider first, here are a few safety tips when building your treehouse.
Choose a Large, Healthy Looking Tree
It’s best to find a big old tree that still looks healthy and doesn’t need any special pruning. You also want to make sure that the larger branches haven’t fallen off, or that the tree isn’t too dry. If you’re not sure if your tree is healthy enough, you may want to contact an arborist or someone with experience in trees.
Build Low to the Ground
Most injuries that occur with treehouses involve falling out of them. A treehouse that is higher than 10 feet could be considered too high. It is recommended that you begin building your treehouse from the ground as it makes it easier and safer to build.
Not So Many Holes
Since the tree is alive, by drilling or hammering nails repeatedly you can jeopardize the structural integrity of the tree. Instead of putting a ton of holes in the tree, it might be good to build the treehouse with a large bolt and a pilot hole. You can also use an artificial limb system to help create the basic structure of the treehouse. You also should not use chains or straps since they can harm the bark of the tree and slowly strangle the branches or trunk.
Use Ladders for Entry
While it is common to use a rope or rope ladder to enter a treehouse it is much better to use a thick sturdy ladder. A rope ladder is a flimsy option which can cause someone to fall and could also pose a strangulation hazard.
Build On the Tree
Wooden boards should be placed on top of large branches instead of being nailed directly into the tree. Since the tree will continue to grow, you want it to meld with the treehouse and help stabilize it.
Since your treehouse is outside it will be at the mercy of the elements. Rain, wind, and snow can loosen the nails, warp the wood and shift the beams. You should regularly check for uneven surfaces, loose boards or any rough spots that could give someone a splinter.
It’s important that when kids are playing, there is an adult watching at all times. They can be there in case something happens and can keep all the kids in check.
Keeping Unwanted Guests Out
People are attracted to treehouses and get the urge to climb in one. To keep unwanted visitors out of your yard, it’s best to erect a fence or some kind of barricade.