Tree House near Chicago, IL
We had been planning this tree house for a couple months, because it was a surprise for some girls near Chicago, IL. Since the girls were to be away for a couple weeks that summer, we had to start and finish the tree house before they returned. When we arrived, the giant oak tree was in really good shape. We climbed and removed a good number of dead branches so that they wouldn't fall on the tree house. Oak is generally one of the better trees to host tree houses because it has hard wood and grows quite large. It is also a common tree as oak trees are found not only in Chicago, IL, but all over the United States in their many varieties.
Branches Inside the Tree House
We didn't cut any live branches because the ones that were inside the proposed tree house were very large. Cutting major branches shocks the tree, opening it up to infection & decay and depriving it of significant future sources of energy. As a result, we had two branches passing through walls, one up and through the roof, and of course the main trunk went up through the center of the roof. Whether to remove or work around branches is a serious decision in tree house construction. If you choose to keep the branches, it will make several phases of construction take longer, make it difficult to keep the elements and insects outside, and add to the future maintenance needs of the tree house.
Having branches inside the tree house can also be a positive feature. Many people think that having the tree inside makes it feel more like a tree house. In the case of this project, one branch was used as a bench seat for up to 3, and a table was crafted around part of the oak trunk without even touching it! We avoid penetrating the trees where possible to minimize tree damage.
Tree House Materials
We can get specific materials to any tree house location at some price. Most people, however, choose to primarily use lumber that is locally available. For this tree house in Chicago, IL, we found some finished ship lap siding that was really sharp looking. The cedar shakes for the roof are available in most parts of the country. Wood shakes look great, but some areas in the southwest that are prone to fires do not allow combustible roofs. These windows were in stock at the local building supply stores. We brought all of the tree house attachment hardware with us, along with a few other specialty items that we buy in bulk rather than order special for each tree house.
We had no problem finishing the tree house in time, and everyone was very happy with us. The neighbors had been watching us build all along. After the neighbors kids tried out the giant rope swing that we installed, we ended up installing 3 more at different houses on that street! They're so much fun that we put them up almost everywhere we go.
How Much Does this Tree House Cost?
Tree House Building Costs do vary greatly, but we want you to have some idea what each project in our portfolio would cost to build. Prices vary by location, quality or rarity of materials, size, height from the ground, the amount of engineering and design involved, access to the building site, and general difficulty level of the project. This tree house as shown would cost between $10,000 and $18000. Please see our tree house pricing page for a full description of the types of costs that will be figured into whether your quote will be on the high or low end of this range. Please feel free to contact us to discuss your tree house project and get a better estimate.