I will post on each of the numbers pictured above. This is dedicated to step 1, how to build the loft portion of our tree house. There are really two must-haves to building a loft, 1. supporting the weight and 2. making it level. I am not a structural engineer, although I know a few and I’m always hoping their gift rubs off to me. My secret weapon is Cody, my brother-in-law contractor. I call him now and then asking, “seriously am I going to die on this thing?” and he helps me advert disaster. So here are a few super basic things you need to know about supporting weight:
- 2×4. A 2×4 is much stonger on the 2″ side, not the wider 4″ side, so use your support beams on the taller side like this:
- Flooring. Floor boards are made to withstand some serious weight. I used actual flooring I purchased at Lowes, it’s more expensive and heavier (I wish I would have recorded me hoisting up the flooring, it must have looked hilarious). And if it is strong enough for a real house, it can hold a tree house, or a loft. Flooring boards come in 4×8 at the local hardware store and often have a tounge-in-grove cut, no worries, you’ll just use what is needed.
- Attach to the stud. There is a stud in your wall every 16-18 inches according to your builder and your code. Some people can find a stud by the sound, I use a stud finder (novice, yes) like this one. You can also start to feel the pressure on your drill when it is a stud or just drywall.
- Use correct screws. I used the 4″ wood screws to sink them directly into the stud. I tend to over do this step like I did in this project, but again, I am not an engineer so I side on the safe side. Don’t use nails, screws only!
- You need support on at least two sides, and for large lofts, those sides should be opposite of each other. So this loft is attached to walls and has a 4×4 beam on the floating corner. Solid as a rock (figure of speach really).
I modified some plans from Ana White. Start by carefully determining how big you want your loft/tree house.
I started by building a frame out of 2×4’s. The frame measures 41″ by 82″, which fit into the space I had and allowed room for the slide. Each support beam is 18″ apart (for large structures, close is better, in homes 16″ is typical). These are reinforced later, when I build the swing, but for now attached with 4″ wood screws, two on each connection point.
Next step is to attach it to the wall. I started by cutting the 4×4 beam to my desired height, 53 inches, and resting the frame on it. This is when you use your level! I rested the level on the frame while drilling to ensure it stayed level. Use those four inch screws and sink INTO THE STUDS! If you hit drywall your loft may eventually come crashing down. This is a two person step, one person to hold and one to drill. And yes, you need to predrill with a drill bit first. Sink two screws into each stud.
Next step is attach your support beam with brackets, ensuring all sides are level (vertical and horizontal).
I stapled a remnant piece of carpet from Giant Carpet One. If you’re not picky, carpet places will sell remnants for 7 to 10 dollars from job leftovers, the carpet in this project they just gave me! I stapled the carpet to the floring and slid on top of the frame (by slid I mean huffed and puffed and prayed for strength to lift it on)
With the frame done, it was off to the races! If you have any questions on the steps, leave a comment and I will help you out!