App version: 0.1.0

The Cost to Build a Treehouse

The Cost to Build a Treehouse
Jason Steele
Jason SteeleUpdated August 21, 2023
Share this article:
Editor’s note: Lantern by SoFi seeks to provide content that is objective, independent and accurate. Writers are separate from our business operation and do not receive direct compensation from advertisers or partners. Read more about our Editorial Guidelines and How We Make Money.
If you have young kids, you might have thought about building a treehouse for them. Treehouses can be great places for kids to enjoy creative and imaginative play. Keep reading to find out how much it costs to build a treehouse, factors affecting the total cost, how to pay for the treehouse, and more. 

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Treehouse?

The cost to build a treehouse can vary from a few hundred dollars to over $200,000 depending on the type, size, and materials of the treehouse. However, the average treehouse costs between $7,000 and $15,000 to build. Recommended: How to Finance a Backyard Remodel

Factors Affecting the Total Cost

There are several factors that affect the total cost of a treehouse. These include materials, size, location, complexity, labor, permits, and potential extras (like tree removal or accessories). Materials and labor can be the largest expense, but the others can add up, as well. 


The cost of materials can be one of the larger costs of building a treehouse, making up roughly 40% of the total budget. The type of wood, the amenities, and the interior and exterior finishes can impact the cost of the treehouse. 


The larger the treehouse, the more expensive it will generally be. A larger treehouse usually requires more materials and more time and effort to build than a smaller treehouse. 


Where the treehouse is located could impact the cost, as well. If the treehouse is in a tree that is already perfectly shaped to support the structure, then you may not have to add as much extra support or do anything to the tree. 


If you are having a designer or an architect design your treehouse, you will have to pay for their services. More complex designs may cost more. It can be between $125 and $250 per hour to hire an architect to design a treehouse for you. 


Labor costs can be another big component of your budget for a treehouse, unless you plan on building the treehouse yourself.The final labor costs will depend on the size and complexity of the treehouse, the number and complexity of potential amenities, and the local market for the contractors. If you are hiring contractors to install a prefabricated treehouse, it will cost less in labor than if you are hiring a contractor to build a custom treehouse from scratch. If you want to have electricity, lights, or plumbing in the treehouse, you will need to hire an electrician or a plumber. 


If you are building a small and prefabricated treehouse on your own property, you may not need to get a permit. However, this will depend on your local jurisdiction, so you should do your research first. If you are planning on building a large treehouse that has amenities, you may need to apply for a building permit. Building permits range from $1,200 to $2,000. If you are working with a contractor to build the treehouse, the contractor may be able to obtain the permit directly. 


Another potential cost to building a treehouse could be tree removal. You may need to remove or trim trees in order to fit your treehouse. It could cost between $200 and $2,000 to remove a tree, and $75 to $1,000 to trim a tree. If you want to add any special accessories to the treehouse, you should budget in those costs, as well. Special accessories could include slides, swings, doorbells, or zip lines.

DIY vs Professional Treehouse Building

Building a treehouse yourself could save money when compared to hiring a professional. A DIY treehouse could save as much as 60% of the total cost of the project. However, you should weigh the cost savings against the amount of time that it will take to build a treehouse yourself. If you want to DIY a treehouse, consider installing a prefabricated one or sticking with a basic kids treehouse design. 

Planning and Budgeting for a Treehouse Project

Before building a treehouse, you should understand how much it will cost and how you will pay for it. Once you have determined a budget, you should figure out how you will pay for the project. You have a few options when it comes to financing a treehouse project. Recommended: Budgeting Tips for Beginners

Financing a Treehouse Project

The most financially responsible way to pay for a treehouse project is by saving up money ahead of time. This will ensure that you don’t pay interest or negatively impact your credit score. However, if you are not able to save money for a treehouse project, you have other financing options.One financing option is to apply for a personal loan. Personal loans can be used for a variety of purposes, such as paying medical bills, buying furniture, or even building a treehouse. After you are approved for the loan and receive the money, you will need to pay it back, along with interest, according to a predetermined monthly payment schedule. Another option is to use a credit card to pay for the treehouse. If you can qualify for a 0% intro APR credit card, it can give you time to pay off your purchase without accruing interest during an introductory period. Recommended: Applying for a Credit Card: Tips for Getting Approved

The Takeaway

Treehouses can provide loads of entertainment for kids. But, they can be time consuming and expensive to build. Before you decide to build a treehouse, you should understand how much it will cost and how you will pay for it. If you are looking for a personal loan to help pay for your treehouse project, Lantern can help. Lantern lets you compare the top personal loans to find the one that will fit your needs and qualifications. Lantern can help you compare rates and find loan offers in minutes.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to build a basic treehouse?
What materials are typically used for building a treehouse?
Can I build a treehouse without a permit?
Are there any safety regulations I should be aware of when building a treehouse?
How long does it typically take to build a treehouse?
Photo credit: iStock/wundervisuals

About the Author

Jason Steele

Jason Steele

Jason Steele has been writing about credit cards and award travel since 2008. One of the nation's leading experts in this field, he has contributed to dozens of personal finance and travel outlets and has been widely quoted in the mainstream media.
Share this article: