Treehouses are the perfect way to spend time with friends and family. They offer a space that is cosier than your average house, and they’re great for gatherings of all sizes.
And while some people might be satisfied with simply climbing up into their treehouse on an occasional sunny day or rainy afternoon, others want to make sure their treehouse is always available for use no matter what the weather might be like outside. And this can present quite a challenge in the rainy season as sometimes when you built a treehouse you forget about waterproofing it.
Now, let me break it to you, waterproofing is by far the most important step while building your treehouse. Why? Because it is the only step that will protect your treehouse and ensure its longevity. So let’s look into how we can best waterproof a treehouse.
Regardless of what you want to do in your treehouse, whether it’s for relaxation or fun, not waterproofing your treehouse will cause the wood to rot and break over time.
Now I should mention that while there are some steps you might take such as painting or replacing rotted lumber, these won’t help if the base of the house has been compromised by water damage. And so without further ado, here’s our complete guide on how to make your treehouse waterproof:
Table of Contents
Waterproof Wood before Building Tree House
Make sure to look out for any rotted or damaged wood. This is the base of your treehouse and if any damage has been done, you need to fix it before building your actual structure. The base is by far the most important part of a treehouse and if it’s been compromised, it won’t be able to support the weight of your house.
Depending on what you’re building in, chances are that there will be gaps around windows or doors. And when the rain starts pouring down outside, water can splatter everywhere. If there’s a gap when the rain hits the wall, all this water has nowhere to go except soak into your treehouse foundation and damage it from below. So make sure to cover up any gaps with weather stripping or else take some time each week during the rainy season to wipe down wet areas and let them dry out naturally before going back inside your house for instance.
Waterproof Tree House with Paint
Now for this option, there are two types of paint that are pretty effective in keeping water out: Shellac-based paint and oil-based paint. While both will protect your treehouse from harsh weather, oil-based paints are harder to use as they take longer to dry which means you need to work in smaller sections at a time, with less time in between coats.
Shellac-base paint on the other hand dries much faster giving you more time to work on larger areas sparingly. Plus, it also dries faster which means you have more time to work with between coats.
Use Water Resistant Lumber
Some treehouses are built directly on top of the existing tree’s branches for support. This is an efficient way to build a treehouse as it saves both your time and money. However, you might want to consider replacing the lumber that is already part of the branch if it has been damaged by water or wind because otherwise, it can rot just like any other piece of wood would in an environment where it’s constantly wet.
Use Rubber Weather Stripping
Make sure that all windows and doors have rubber weather stripping around them so that there aren’t gaps for rainwater getting inside your own house after coming in from the outside. However, there’s a right and wrong way to go about this as just sticking it on won’t do the trick. You need to make sure that you seal all three sides of the weather stripping so that no water can get underneath it after getting inside your house itself.
Maintain Treehouse Foundation
Now, you might be thinking that once your treehouse is waterproofed, there’s nothing else to do right? Wrong! There are some steps you need to take regularly in order for your foundation to remain protected. Make sure that all windows and doors on the outside of your house are free from any loose paint or rot as water can get under them for damage for instance.
Also, make sure that all roof gutters are clear of debris so that water stays away from your treehouse foundation at all times. If necessary, hire a contractor to come by for regular inspections so he can ensure everything remains in perfect condition.
Replace Damaged Window Glass
No matter how high quality your weatherstripping is, it’s still just an adhesive strip that relies on the structure of the window itself to keep water out.
So if you have some parts of your house that are especially damp all the time no matter what you do, replace damaged window glass with new panes and seal them up with rubber weather stripping for maximum protection against water damage. This will also, of course, prevent any leaks from getting inside your building foundation.
Use galvanized sheet For Roof
Galvanized Steel is an excellent option for a treehouse roof because it will not get rotted by the elements like other kinds of metal would. Galvanized steel is Corrosion-resistant, which means, it does not easily corrode. Galvanized Steel Sheet is a Zinc coated sheet that can save from rusting and protect from other natural conditions. It has long-lasting durability.
The sheets are available in a variety of thicknesses up to 9mm or 10mm, depending on the roof design and loading condition desired. This type of galvanized steel roofing material will suitably be dependable for treehouse roofs.
Use Western Red Cedar Treehouse Shingles For Roofing
Cedar shingles are an excellent choice for your roof material because they have a high resistance to fire. Plus, the lightweight nature of these shingles means that snow can easily be cleared off during any snowstorms you might run into while up in the treehouse.
Even if you live in an area where there isn’t so much as a sliver of snow on the ground, Western Red Cedar Shingles are still definitely worth considering since they provide better insulation which prevents heat loss making it easier on your heating bill throughout the year too.
Always Have A Plan For Drainage
Make sure that you always have some sort of drainage plan for when it does rain heavily outside. This is especially important when building treehouses in coastal areas where the rains can get very intense.
A large number of the problems that can arise with a treehouse relate to drainage. If water is not able to adequately drain from the area, you will experience a number of different problems. These can include rotting in the wood of the house and other issues.
Treehouses typically have flat roofs that act as a catchment for all of the rain, which means that large amounts of water can build upon it very quickly during heavy rainfall. If you do not have adequate drainage in place then this water will be able to pool on your roof surface until it eventually finds its own way into the house through one route or another. This is the most common source of problems with treehouse roofs because if too much water pools in one area for too long, it will soak down into the wood and rot it away from within.
Having some sort of plan for storm drainage is crucial for keeping your treehouse safe year-round. You should always make sure that there are roof gutters in place that can do a decent job of keeping water away from the home. If you’re not able to install your own gutters, then hire a professional contractor to come by and do it for you.
Having said that, even with good roof gutters in place you need drainage so the rainwater can run off or otherwise go someplace else besides pooling on top of your home. As stated, creeks are great options because they take the water somewhere else – but sometimes having one created isn’t feasible. So look at what’s around your home and try to find somewhere that would be suitable for creating a small drainage ditch that will help carry the excess water elsewhere.
Treehouses are extremely fun to build and play on, but they can be dangerous if you don’t plan properly and do some research first. Who knows how long it will take to build your first treehouse but the memories that you’ll make with your family as well as the sense of success that you’ll no doubt feel once your finished is without a doubt worth it all! Good luck!