In some parts of the tropics, houses are either fastened to trees or elevated on stilts to keep the living quarters above the ground to protect occupants and stored food from scavenging animals. The Korowai, a Papuan tribe in the southeast of Irian Jaya, live in tree houses, some nearly 40 metres (130 ft) high, as protection against a tribe of neighbouring head-hunters, the Citak.
Along with subterranean and ground level houses, tree houses are an option for building eco-friendly houses in remote forest areas, because they do not require a clearing of a certain area of forest. The wildlife, climate and illumination on ground level in areas of dense close-canopy forest is not desirable to some people.
Tree houses can be built with a wide range of materials. Timber is commonly used for structural parts and cladding due to its strength, light weight and low cost. Steel is used for brackets, cables and bolts, including specialized tree bolts.
There are numerous techniques to fasten the structure to the tree which seek to minimize tree damage.
The construction of modern treehouses, usually starts with the creation of a rigid platform, on which the house will be placed; the platform will lean (possibly on the corners) on the branches. In case there aren’t enough suitable supports, the methods to support the platform are:
They are used for relieving weights on a lower elevetion or straight to the ground; Tree houses supported by stilts weigh much less on the tree and help to prevent stress and potential strain and injury cased by puncture holes. Stilts are typically anchored into the ground with concrete although new designs, such as the “Diamond Pier”, accelerates installation time and they are less invasive for the root system. Stilts are considered the easiest method of supporting larger tree houses, and can also increase structural support and safety.
Struts and Stilts
They are used for relieving weights on a heigher elevation. These systems are particularly useful to control movements caused by wind or the tree growth but they are the less used, caused of the natural limits of the systems: more elevation they reach and more the branches tail off, decrease capacity, increase wind sensibility. . As building materials for hanging are used ropes, wire cables, tension fasteners, springs etc.
Friction and tension fasteners are the most common non invasive methods of securing tree houses. They do not include nails, screws and bolts. It’s all about gripping the beams to the trunk by means of counter-beam, threaded bars or tying.
Are all methods that use nails, screws, bolts, kingpin, etc. Because these methods require punctures in the tree, they have to be planned properly in order to minimize stress. Because not all species of tree suffer for puncture in the same way, depending if the sap conduits runs in the bark. Despite nails are generally not recommended, a very performance development called the treehouse attachment bolt can support greater weights than earlier methods, and is now commonly used by many tree house companies worldwide.