Treehouse Attachment Bolts (TABS) FAQ

  • What are TABs? Which parts does it include? How’s the installation process?

TABs are an adaptation of timber bolts with built-in sheer collars. Since the late 1990s, the ideas have been applied to treehouse construction.

Our TABs, in their current form, are the best-performing treehouse bolts in the industry based on side-by-side testing.

Our TABs are the strongest TAB on the market.

For an introduction to the parts of the TABs, see our TABs 101 video here: 

  • Which TAB size do I need?

The best TAB size is a factor of the design loading on the tree attachment point, the species of tree you are building in, and the safety factor for your design.

  • Design loading is something that engineers figure out to determine how strong to design a structure – it is based on building codes, whether commercial or residential and geography (zones for high wind or snow).
  • Tree species can vary in North America by approximately a 5:1 ratio, with the hardest trees, like live oak or some of the hickories outperforming ponderosa pine or eastern white pine by 4x to 5x. In most cases, our TABs do not fail, but the wood of the tree can crush beneath the TAB, causing it to tilt down when overloaded. A larger TAB will support more before the wood crushes.
  • Safety Factor: If you think the max load at a given point will be 3000 pounds, then you may decide to get a TAB that will support 6000 or 9000, and that would give you a 2:1 or 3:1 safety factor, respectively.

If you prefer to have “extra support” so that you cover your anticipated loads with a safety factor, then upgrade the hardware to play it safe. 

  • We have various options for consultations to review your intended plans, evaluate your tree species, and make hardware recommendations. You’ll get advice on hardware and learn more about construction. We have decades of experience with over 1000 treehouses.  
  • If cost is no object, larger TABs are better. Our affiliated construction company, Tree Top Builders (, seldom uses 1” collars for construction, except in rare situations. The 3x9 and 6x12 TABs are their standard.

  • How much do TABs hold?

The smallest TABs with 1” collars, such as our 1x6 or 1x9 TABs, have been tested at 2,000 – 12,000 pounds each, based on the type of tree.

Some of our systems built with larger TABs hold over 30,000 lbs. However, there are some disclaimers:

  1. Do not make the mistake of assuming that all TABs in a treehouse are supporting an equal amount of load. 
  2. Do not forget to account for dead load, live load, and other loads such as snow, wind, etc.
  3. Do not assume that a TAB from another company will support our exact amounts. Our TABs in side-by-side testing supported 60% more than some of our competition, producing look-alike products by taking shortcuts in the manufacturing process to save a few bucks.

  • My treehouse has grown, and it needs new tabs. What can I do?

If possible, we prefer to work with the existing hardware because it’s better for the tree and usually saves you money and time too!

We make extension brackets that can get you more years of use from the same TAB. 

These solutions are custom. So if you have any doubts, please feel free to contact us here!

  • What is the smallest size tree I can attach tabs to?

The smallest size tree you can attach tabs to would depend on the tab used and the tree itself. 

However, typically, the smallest tree we have seen being used is a 10" tree.

  • Why do we need two static and two dynamic arrestors when using TABs? Why not only dynamic arrestors?

We understand you might be wondering about using static and dynamic arrestors when using TABs.

While we don't currently have plans for two static and two floating arrestors, we can provide some general information.

In most cases, when there are multiple trees, one is static, and the rest are floating. If there are any posts, all tree connections are floating (dynamic).

  • Can TABs be removed once installed?

TABs and other treehouse bolts can be removed, but there is a potential risk of causing additional damage to the tree during the process.

The level of risk is relatively low if the bolts were recently installed. However, if the tree has grown around the TAB collars, removing the bolts may require some tree tissue removal, increasing the risk.

Considering the potential for damage upon removal and the extra damage caused by reinstalling the bolts in a different location on the tree, we generally explore alternative options before attempting to reuse the bolts.

These alternatives could involve modifying the brackets, using different lumber sizes, adding spacers, or making other small design changes depending on the specific situation. If possible, it's always best to use the bolt in its original location.

When it comes to removing the bolt, you may be able to turn it out backwards using the same wrench you used to install it. However, with TABs, it is usually not possible to back them out using the nut on the end, so you will likely need a large pipe wrench and turn it out by the perch/shaft. To protect the powder coating and minimize stress on the metal, we recommend wrapping the tab in thick rubber inside the jaws of the pipe wrench. You may also need to use a pipe on the back of the pipe wrench handle to gain enough leverage for removing a TAB.

If removed properly, our TABs can be reused to support a treehouse. However, be cautious not to install the bolt too close to the original hole, as this may cause the two wounds in the tree to join together. While the recommended distance may vary, a conservative rule of thumb is to have 24 inches of vertical separation and 6 inches of horizontal separation.

Still have questions about our Products?

Checkout out our complete product guide right here!