Treehouse Platform Construction

Learn from the pros!

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The platform construction is the most challenging but also the most beautiful part of building a tree house!

 

We’ll show you how to build a stable tree platform from our “support elements” (how-to, examples, construction plans).

1. Small 1-tree platform

Our affordable and simple solution for mini tree houses, viewing platforms, high stands and children’s playhouses::

All you need are 4 x GTS Free with which you build a small triangular construction!

As the stainless steel bolts go straight through your wooden beams, the GTS Free is only suitable for small decks:

< 6 m² in softwood
< 10 m² in hardwood

Minimum trunk diameter for two GTS Free opposite each other: ø > 30 cm

 

Know-How:

  • The tree should be central.
  • Reinforce your support beams around the GTS Free with fully threaded screws.
  • Use lots of screws and wood glue or better PU glue to stabilise your lower triangular connection around the GTS Free!
  • You are welcome to build a children’s playhouse on top of it, but it should be really small and light.
  • A slide and a ladder firmly anchored in the ground strengthen your construction.

Is your treehouse tree still very small and young?

There are good solutions for this too:

The smallest possible diameter of a tree for building a treehouse (ø at the height of the attachment) is 25 cm. If your tree trunk is thinner than ø 25 cm, we recommend waiting or building completely on stilts.

Variant 1: Stagger the screws

Stagger the height of the screws on one side (at least 10 cm) – this way they cannot get in each other’s way.

 

Variant 2: Triangle + stilts

This solution is particularly suitable for treehouses that are very close to the property line. You can build a slightly larger platform with the supports set in concrete. Don’t forget the struts on your stilts, otherwise your little house will tip over to your neighbour!

 

Remember that small, young trees still want to grow properly – plan your treehouse so that this is possible!

Do you want your platform to be bigger and heavier?

Then switch to our larger, black GTS Tree bolts:

Instead of the upper GTS Free, you can use e.g. a GTS Friend + Static Support + Distance Rings: the longer shaft and the support give you more leeway for crooked trees, the load capacity is higher! Assembly becomes even easier.

 

For large vertical loads you can use the GTS Top in small trees – for this the trunk must be very straight! Often it is enough to install only one GTS Top.

 

Every project is unique – just combine the screws that fit your treehouse perfectly!

2. Medium 1-tree platform with wood struts

 

Another classic among the 1-tree platform constructions are wood strut support structures. The struts are very easy to prefabricate and assemble – with our Strut Support Safety you can even adjust the height afterwards!

Platform size:

  • Softwood < 12 m²
  • Hardwood < 16 m²

The brackets should be loaded as evenly as possible.

The trunk diameter for 4 brackets should be ø < 35 cm!

You can also cheat here by staggering the height of the bracket pairs so that the screws do not get in each other’s way (see above).

Variant 1 – wood struts screwed directly on the trunk

This is a quick and cheap solution for temporary treehouses.

But:

Moisture can build up between the tree and the strut at the point of contact, and the strut can rot there. If your tree is still very small and young (< 40 cm), we advise against screwing wooden beams directly to the trunk – the trunk still wants to grow strongly in width and could be hindered or will simply push your struts away.

With thick, mature trees, there is nothing to stop individual struts being screwed directly to the tree. Use sturdy wood (oak, robinia) and several ø 8 mm wood screws.

Variant 2 – Strut Support Safety

The advantages are obvious:

  • You have more freedom during assembly (unevenness on the trunk is irrelevant)
  • You can adjust the length of the struts afterwards.
  • You give the tree more time to adapt to the new construction.
  • The tree can simply grow around the small GTS Safety and continue to grow undisturbed.
  • Waterlogging at the struts will not be an issue for the time being – you can do without expensive and difficult to work with oak and robinia.

Variant 3 – With GTS + Support instead of GTS Side

This construction is also an absolute classic! The two parallel beams at the top form the basic framework for your platform. Depending on the load, you can freely choose which 2 GTS you use at the top.

Example – Loading a “Mix Construction”

Here you see a laterally cantilevered construction, below with GTS Friend & 3 x Strut Support GTS; we load the platform at the very outside at the longest lever arm – what happens (see photo):

1 – The front strut has to take a lot of compressive load: it should be strong; possibly braced in the middle with an intermediate strut sloping upwards; a second strut parallel would also be useful.

2 – The upper GTS bolts are pulled strongly in the direction of “arrow 2”: the left triangle wants to tilt. If we didn’t have an attachment on the right, the upper GTS would be very strongly loaded on extension! This is exactly why we have the upper screw on the right, which is now pressed into the tree and absorbs the tensile load.

3 – All the left-hand bolts together transfer the vertical loads into the tree trunk.

4 – Due to the large lever arm, there are also lever forces upwards: both the upper GTS and the strut are loaded in tension (green arrows 4, 5, 6). These parts should be extra bolted, glued and reinforced with angle plates.

RESULT:

In hardwood, this construction is possible with little load (no heavy, two-storey house!). In softwood, you should use larger GTS screws – a solid triangular construction would then also make sense! More on this below!

 

Our tip!

When planning your platform, think about where your loads will be transferred and what forces will occur at your connections. Also consider horizontal loads (storm) and rotational movements.

 

We have the right hardware for every treehouse project!

3. Large 1-tree platforms with triangular constructions

 

If you want to build a proper treehouse, stable “3D triangular constructions” are the best choice! If possible, use our tree screw GTS Allstar – especially with softwood you are always on the safe side.

The advantages of triangle constructions with our “Brackets” and “GTS Allstar” are:

  • The triangles are very stiff in themselves.
  • The “GTS Allstar” can also take lateral, horizontal loads in softwood
  • Cantilevered platforms are therefore easily possible
  • On the long shaft you can position the support beams further out – the tree can grow undisturbed

 

Minimum trunk diameter ø > 45 cm

Platform size:

  • Hardwood < 30 m²
  • Softwood < 20 m²

Example – Large platform with 2 x “Triangle Set – 45° Heavy”

Instructions for assembling the tree platform:

The easiest way is to prepare the wooden triangles (white) on the ground, you can also divide them further.

  1. Mount the upper tree screw (GTS Allstar) and lift the triangle into position.
  2. Precisely measure the cross beam and the Static Support and fix it to the screw.
  3. You mark the lower drill hole, swing the triangle on its side, install the lower tree screw.
  4. Then you push the entire triangle (incl. Distance Rings) onto both screws – finished!

Example – cantilevered platform with 2 x “Triangle Set – Vario Light”

Always take into account the greater leverage and rotational forces with one-sided overhanging constructions!

Install diagonal struts – these stiffen the platform and transfer the forces directly to the tree.

In this example, for example, the lower screw is heavily loaded horizontally. In hardwood this is ok as long as you don’t build a heavy treehouse on top.

In softwood, it is better to use GTS Allstar at the bottom – it can better absorb the lateral forces and rotational movements due to the large cylinder!

4. 2-tree construction with parallel beams and Dynamic Supports

The construction with parallel beams is simple:

  • You can use the space under the treehouse freely
  • Spans of up to 6 m are possible
  • Thanks to the Dynamic Supports, your trees can swing freely
  • Choose the right GTS Screw depending on the load and trunk diameter ø
  • Also good option for 3 or 4 trees

The beam dimension is easy to calculate (see photo). Note that your beam will be very heavy with large spans 😉

Tips for designing the platform:

 

  • Mount the fixed bearings on the thicker tree, it swings less and is the fixed point.
  • The treehouse (the main load) should be as central as possible above the beams.
  • The main load should rather be on the side with the fixed bearings.
  • Avoid lateral loads and large lever arms.

There are two simple solutions to support wide overhanging parts:

 

1. From below – Strut Support Safety or Strut Support GTS.

If you only need one strut and want to support smaller loads, Strut Support Safety is your choice.

If you need to support larger loads, you can use several Strut Support GTS on the shaft of our large GTS Screws (Allstar, Friend, Top)!

Attenzione Sensazione!

Work on the moving side (with the Dynamic Supports) without Distance Rings – this way the struts remain somewhat movable and can absorb the movements of the construction.

2. From above – with a cable suspension

If the struts at the bottom bother you, you can also secure your platform from above. The advantage of rope suspension is that it is easy to assemble and adjust.

A stable branch fork or a twig where you can attach a tree loop is suitable as an anchor point. Alternatively, you can hang the rope on one of our Tree Screws

Attach the steel cable to the wooden beam with a ring nut and carriage bolt and reinforce the platform construction there if necessary. Tighten the steel cable with a turnbuckle.

Alternative: Triangle construction – spread your wings!

With a triangle you bring your support beams far out and your platform becomes more stable! This construction is a good idea for trees on the property line, where the triangle does not interfere.

The following examples illustrate which supports you need (see floor plan):

  • Both trees thick (ø > 50cm), hardly any vibrations: Tree 1 – Static Supports.
  • Triangle tree very thin (ø < 35 cm) vibrates in the wind), tree 1 thick (see photo): Tree 1 – Dynamic Supports, completely limited laterally with Distance Rings, Dynamic Supports can only move in the direction of tree 2, not laterally.
  • Tree 1 thin, triangle tree thick: Tree 1 – Dynamic Supports limited laterally with Distance Rings.

5. 2-tree construction with triangles

A supporting structure made of triangles opens up many possibilities for the design of your platform. Cantilevered shapes and large base areas can also be realised in this way.

Assembly usually proceeds as follows:

  1. prepare the triangles on the ground
  2. fix the triangles in the tree (with our GTS Tree Bolts)
  3. screw your platform construction on top (e.g. 6 x 12 beams) – this can protrude over the triangles.
  4. once the triangles and the platform level are firmly screwed together and stiffened, plank the platform with your floor boards

Here are a few examples of wooden triangulars in the tree:

The trunk diameter for a triangle in a tree should be about ø 40 cm for the lower screw.

 

Oh wind, oh wind – how do the triangles stay movable?

  • The triangles have some play on the shaft of the GTS screws.
  • The wood of your platform construction will usually cushion the remaining movements.

If you want to build very high up, or in very thin, swinging-prone trees, you should consider a construction that can absorb these movements. For example, you can decouple the platform from your triangular cross beam with “glide shoes”. You can buy PE-HD Sliding Plates for this in our shop!

6. Treehouse in 3 or more trees

 

Congratulations! With the knowledge from the previous examples, you are now ready to plan a tree house in several trees. On our page “Supporting Elements” you will find more useful details.

 

Finally, a few examples with several trees.

Now it’s your turn: Just like every tree, every treehouse is unique! Take your time, make sketches, combine our products and design the perfect platform as the basis for your dream house!

If you are still not sure what your treehouse should look like, we have an interesting article for you here!

Here again are the 5 most important rules for building a treehouse:

 

  1. Trees and their branches swing independently of each other in all possible directions.
  2. The tree wants to grow – give it room to do so: the trunk diameter ø increases by approx. 5 – 15 mm every year.
  3. Keep the balance: watch out for leverage and torsional movement
  4. Stiffen the construction with triangles, struts and diagonals!
  5. Distribute the loads as evenly as possible among the individual fasteners

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