Options for Bolting Treehouses to Trees

Before building my treehouse, I learned a lot about the various materials, including bolts and other systems for connecting treehouses to trees. The decision of how to build the treehouse was not easy, because there are dozens of books and websites with contrasting ideas. In fact, the pros & cons to each system convinced me that the type of bolt & support systems isn't a one-size-fits-all solution. The size of the treehouse, tree specific factors, and the budget may lead to different choices.

Are special treehouse bolts neccessary?

It depends who you ask. If you ask the bigger, more professional treehouse builders out there, they will invariably steer you towards expensive hardware & bolts that you can only buy from them.

But many people build treehouses with regular off the shelf bolts, nails, and screws that turn out just fine. And most of the treehouse books and plans that I've looked through don't require or suggest any bolts that can't be purchased at the local store. What the pros say is that cheaper hardware hurts the trees more. But I've seen some places that charge over $300 for one treehouse bolt! (I mean, come on, it's just a bolt, right?) But at the same time, if they really can hold 10,000 pounds in a tree or are somehow safer, then I guess they have their place. So if you want to buy the strongest stuff out there, then read more about these custom treehouse bolts. But for small treehouses like mine, I was able to get all of the lag bolts, carriage bolts, fasteners & screws I needed off the shelf at the local hardware store.