How Much Does Building a Treehouse Cost in 2024?

Most homeowners pay an average of $7,350 to build a treehouse, with a typical range between $7,000 and $15,000.

Your new treehouse can be as simple as a prefabricated kit, or you can hire professional builders who will custom build the project for you. Most homeowners pay an average of $7,350 to build a treehouse, with a typical range between $7,000 and $15,000. Several factors can affect the project’s overall cost, such as size and materials. Small scale treehouse projects average around $3,425, while advanced projects reach as high as $225,000 for more extravagant designs.

This article will help you start planning construction for your backyard treehouse by exploring the determinants that affect the cost and, when possible, providing average prices. 

Average costs to build a treehouse in 2024

National average cost$7,350
Typical price range$7,000 – $15,000
Extreme low end cost$3,425
Extreme high end cost$225,000

The cost to build a treehouse largely depends on size. Size affects other elements, like the amount of materials that will be needed and labor costs, as handyworkers charge by the hour. Larger treehouses take more time to build. Other cost factors are whether the treehouse is prefabricated, traditional, or custom, the type of wood used, and the treehouse design. How far off the ground the treehouse is built, or height, also affects the cost and determines how much material will be needed for stairs. 

Your treehouse can be more than a gathering spot for the children on a nice summer day, it can also be designed and equipped to live in as a real home, year-round. The above table does not have the cost for a treehouse this functional, but when you include electricity, plumbing, and building permits, not to mention other necessary amenities, costs can climb as high as $400,000.

You can buy a prefabricated kit and build a smaller treehouse without a lot of features to stay at the lower end of the price range. If you’re hiring professionals, you can save money by doing some of the work yourself. You may also be able to cut costs by using recycled materials.

Treehouse building cost estimator by size

Treehouses are so unique you will probably not find any two the same. But here are some prices for sizes more commonly found in someone’s backyard.

Project size Average overall cost 
Small size (36 – 49 sq. ft.)$2,000 – $8,000
Medium size (64 – 81 sq. ft.)$4,000 – $12,000
Large size (100 – 144 sq. ft.)$6,000 – $17,000

Other factors that affect cost

Treehouse construction may include more cost factors than you realize. Here are a few more things to include when budgeting for this project.

Prefabricated vs. custom-designed

You can purchase a prefabricated treehouse kit for about $500. It will have blueprints and the hardware you need, but you’ll have to supply the tools and lumber. A prefab kit can cost as much as $6,000 if it is adorned with a lot of bells and whistles, or special features.

You could also go the more traditional route and acquire the building materials without using a prefabricated kit. You can purchase blueprints for how to build a treehouse online and build a simple treehouse yourself. 

You can also go all out and hire a treehouse building company. They can build as elaborate and complex of a design as you like. Their fees include the plans, materials, and installation. Prices start around $4,000 for a more traditional, simple treehouse. A specialized treehouse building company may charge $100,000 for a custom build.

Height

Let your imagination take flight as you build. But you will pay more to keep up with the height of that flight. 

A treehouse built closer to the ground costs less than one that starts farther off the ground. So, if you want to save money, the treehouse that starts at 6 feet off the ground will likely cost less than one that starts at 10 feet. Labor costs are higher because of the scaffolding and equipment that are needed at greater heights. It’s also more dangerous.

Materials

The most common lumber or wood used to build treehouses are cypress, redwood, and cedar. You may need other materials depending on how simple or complex you want the outside and inside of your treehouse to be.

Wood TypeAverage cost per board foot
Cypress$5 – $8
Redwood$7 – $18
Cedar$10 – $28

Treehouses need walls and many have roofs. Some other materials you may need are framing, decking, roofing, siding, bolts or supports, and joists. A more complex design may require more materials or more expensive supplies. 

Labor

Labor costs will depend on whether the professional is assembling a prefabricated tree house, how high off the ground the treehouse begins, and the complexity or difficulty of the design. The type of contractor you choose can also affect cost. 

Expect to pay between $100 to $175 an hour. A 20 to 30-hour job for a smaller, simpler treehouse without many features or one that is prefabricated may cost between $2,000 and $5,250. A more sophisticated, complex treehouse taking 100 to 150 hours to build can cost $10,000 or more.

Design

If you keep it simple you will pay less. But this is also your chance to show out. The more creative you are with shapes and levels, the more it will cost.

The most common treehouse design or shape is square. It’s the most economical because it’s the most uncomplicated to build, but style and size will also affect the price tag. Expect for costs to rise with hexagon and octagon treehouse designs. 

The double-decker design is not your common treehouse, and you probably won’t see this nearly $100,000 build used as a kid’s treehouse. It’s big enough for interior stairs, railings, and built-in furniture. 

Multilevel

That’s right, your treehouse can have more floors than some homes. Why stop with one level when you can supersize it? Of course, supersizing usually costs more, and comes with increased hazards. 

A second or third floor increases expenses, as it takes more materials to build additional floors. Furthermore, an additional floor will more than likely need stairs and railings, which a one-level treehouse built close to the ground may not need. 

Project difficulty

Your property’s physical characteristics can affect costs. If workers have to work on uneven ground, making it difficult to set up a ladder, the company may charge more. Other factors that can increase costs are obstructions to the workspace. A tree with a lot of branches going through the roof or walls can interfere with a laborer’s productivity.

Arborist services

Before you start, you may want to hire an arborist to inspect the tree and make sure it’s healthy and can handle the weight of a treehouse. This costs around $145. If drilling into the tree is necessary, the arborist will charge about $25 extra per drill.

Sometimes you’re required to show paperwork for your tree inspection. This is rare for residential homeowners, but an official report from your arborist costs between $250 and $400 for a single tree and can cost as much as $700 for several trees. Check with your local authorities so that you can plan your budget adequately. 

Accessories

If your treehouse has no staircase, you may want to add a way into it other than scaling the tree like a squirrel. A wooden ladder typically ranges between $100 to $200

You could go the DIY way and purchase some extras for functionality and fun. Here are some prices for DIY kit accessories from a specialty supplier.

AccessoryCost
Rope swings$30 +
Rope bridge kits$70 + per linear foot
Rope ladder$140 +
Climbing nets$225 +
Zip line kits$380 +

You may find you need other services before you start or after you finish building your new backyard oasis. The perfect tree may need trimming. If you find a bee’s nest or wasp’s nest, they will have to be removed for your safety. You may want to add landscaping that complements your treehouse. Here are some things you can do to beautify your property and keep it safe.

Tree trimming

Branches that are too long can interfere with a contractor’s work while they are constructing your treehouse. Depending on factors like size, equipment, and risk, tree trimming costs between $255 to $655. A small, accessible tree about 20 feet tall or less can cost $75 to trim. Expect to pay at the high end for trimming a tree over 60 feet tall, about $1,600.

Tree removal

In case you need to clear out some trees to make space for your treehouse, an arborist can handle tree trimming and tree removal. Some of the factors affecting the total cost for removal are size and tree location. Tree removal costs an average of $385 to $1,070.

Bee removal

You may find that the healthiest tree for your treehouse is also one that bees have claimed as a home for their hive. We may love the honey bees make, but not the stings they give us. If you find you need to remove a beehive, it costs an average of $445. Most homeowners pay between $135 to $1,065.

Wasp removal

Even worse, if your expected treehouse destination has wasps instead of bees, you will want to eliminate the infestation as soon as possible. These stinging insects tend to be more aggressive than bees, so they cost more to remove. Expect to pay between $212 and $875. The national average cost for wasp nest removal is $385.

Landscaping

While you’re at it, you may want to install a flowerbed to go with your treehouse, or a walkway that leads people directly to your new backyard hideaway. Professional installation for a flower bed costs between $1,000 to $3,000. It costs $8 to $22 per square foot to install a pathway.

Pro cost vs. DIY cost

A prefab treehouse kit is your best bet for DIY and has the hardware you’ll need. You’ll have to buy the lumber and any other necessary materials. Likewise, if you purchase blueprints for a treehouse, you’ll have to acquire the supplies yourself. Treehouse kits start at about $500

You can build many different kinds of treehouses and equipment can vary accordingly. The following table has the equipment you may need for a basic, platform type treehouse in which you are attaching the platform to bolts instead of to the tree. Attaching to the tree takes more tools and carpentry skill.

DIY equipmentAverage cost
Corded reciprocating saw$108 (includes blade set)
Cordless circular saw kit$350 +
Table saw/stand$370 +
Miter saw$400 +
Framing nail gun$250+
Impact driver$80 – $200
Level (2 ft)$7 +
Speed square$7 +
Hammer$5 +
Gloves$10 – $15
Safety glasses$2 – $20
Ear protection$3
Dust mask (5 pack)$17

Treehouse builders often build on the ground and then pull the pieces into the tree to finish assembling them. You can try this as well. You’ll need an extra pair of hands. 

A professional treehouse building company would ensure your design plans are safe. If you’re building the treehouse yourself, you don’t want to skip this step. Let an arborist choose the best tree, and consult with an engineer on your building plans.

Installing a treehouse platform with a ladder and railings but no walls or roof is about $4,000. Labor is about 50% of the installation cost. So, it would cost $2,000 for you to purchase all the necessary supplies and build yourself. You would pocket the other $2,000. On the low end, the supplies in the table cost about $1,609. If you have some of the equipment already or can borrow it, your costs will be even lower.

If it’s a simple design and you have some skill, you can probably tackle this job yourself, and you’ll save money. After all, people have been building treehouses for years. But if it’s a custom build with lots of features, you may want to call a professional.

Cost of building a treehouse by location

The lumber or wood for the treehouse may look and cost different depending on where you live. Where you live and the complexity of the treehouse will determine if you need a building permit to construct a treehouse. Call your local authorities before building your treehouse oasis. And of course, the availability of building materials and labor vary per region and affect the total price tag.

FAQ about building a treehouse

How long will a treehouse last?

A treehouse can last 10 to 25 years or even as long as the tree is alive. It depends on how well the treehouse is built, the quality of materials, and maintenance. Have it inspected regularly and perform any necessary upkeep to ensure long-term use and safety.

How long does it take to build a treehouse?

Building a treehouse yourself typically takes longer than having a professional build it. It can take a few days up to a year for a professional to complete, depending on the complexity and features. 

A small kid’s treehouse can be built in about 2 to 7 days. A more complex treehouse with special features like a deck can take 2 weeks or as many as 6 weeks. If you are building a treehouse that is going to be a tiny house, meaning your treehouse design is for a livable treehouse, it can take an entire year. 

What’s the best tree for a treehouse?

Here are some ideal trees for your treehouse project:
• Maple
• Oak
• Beech
• Hemlock
• Sycamore
• Pine
• Fir

Some trees are more suitable for a treehouse than others. An arborist or local contractor can help you choose the best tree. You want a healthy tree with a trunk that has a diameter greater than 12 inches. Some of the best trees are deciduous trees and nut trees. 

Avoid building a treehouse on soft trees, like the poplar or willow.

Final thoughts 

Whether you want a basic treehouse for a children’s playhouse or something more elaborate for your own hideaway, it can be fun to build your own. But your real treehouse may more accurately reflect the one in your imagination if you hire a professional

A professional can take care of all the pieces of the puzzle for you so that there are no loose ends, like obtaining a permit if necessary or ensuring the plans are safe. They can also build faster and ensure the structural integrity (and safety) of your treehouse. 

Note: Lawn Love may get a referral fee for matching you with contractors in your area.

Main Photo Credit: Daderot | Wikimedia Commons | CC0

LaShonda Tucker

LaShonda Tucker’s passion for maintaining a healthy lifestyle through organic herbs, fruits, and veggies leads her to research and learn about plants and insects. She loves sharing her knowledge to help others achieve their lawn care and landscaping goals.