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How to Build a Doghouse

Follow these steps to build a sturdy doghouse for your faithful friend.

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backyard doghouse for family pooch Watch Video
  • Time

    Two Days

  • Price Range

    $100 - $250

  • Difficulty

    Moderate

Highlights:

Step 1: Construct the Doghouse Base

Note: If you decide to use pressure-treated wood, be aware that it's treated with chemicals which are toxic to animals. Be sure to use untreated wood for floors, walls and any other surfaces your dog may come in contact with.

Begin by determining the size of the doghouse based on the dog's full-grown size. A dog should have enough room to freely turn around and lie down while still allowing room for food and water bowls.

Using 2x4 boards, construct a square base frame in the dimensions you've chosen for the completed doghouse. Nail the boards together at the corners.

Measure and cut 1/2" plywood to fit over the frame, making sure it's flush with the base frame's edges. Attach the plywood to the frame along the edges with nails.

construct a square base frame for doghouse

Step 2: Construct and Attach Four Walls

Construct the side and rear wall frames with 2x4 boards, making sure to include a center stud for support. Cut the studs to the appropriate length, dry-fit them, and nail them together. On the rear wall, the center stud should be 2 inches off-center to allow access for securing the roof strut (Image 1). Construct the front wall frame with 2x4 boards, omitting the center stud to allow room for the entrance.

Measure, cut and nail 1/2" plywood to the outside of all four wall frames, making sure the edges are flush. Mark and cut out an entrance hole with a jig saw. The entrance should be large enough to allow plenty of room for your dog to pass through.

Position the finished walls onto the base frame and nail them in place through the bottom of the wall frame (Image 2). Toenail each corner for added stability.

Step 3: Build Roof Frame

The struts, ridge board and rafters will all be cut from 2x4 boards. Determine the desired pitch of the roof and cut roof struts to corresponding height. Center the front and rear roof struts on the top edge of the front and rear wall frames and nail in place from the underside of the frame. Toenail the struts for reinforcement.

Decide how much overhang you want on the front and back of the doghouse. Cut the top ridge board to the length of the doghouse plus the amount added for overhang. Position the ridge board on the struts and nail it in place (Image 1).

Cut six rafters (three for each side) to the needed length. The ends of the rafters will be mitered to the angle determined by the roof pitch. Use the corner of the doghouse as a template to mark notches on the rafters where they'll meet the top of the wall frames (Image 2). Cut the notches with a jig saw.

Hold each rafter so it's even with the ridge board to determine the angle, then cut the boards and nail them in place. Secure the bottom of each rafter to the wall where its notch meets the wall frame (Image 3).

Cut four 2x4 boards (two for each side) to fit horizontally between the rafters and nail them into place (Image 4). These boards will fill in the gaps between the overhang and side walls. Cut 1/2" plywood fascia boards to match the overhang along the sides of the doghouse. Secure the fascia boards to the bottom ends of rafters with nails.

Measure and cut the overhang rafters. Nail the overhang rafters to the ends of the ridge board and side fascia (Image 5). Cover the roof with 1/2" plywood cut to size. Fill in the front and back roof openings with triangular plywood sheets cut to fit the space.

Step 4: Shingle the Roof

Mark a horizontal chalk line 11 inches from the bottom of the roof edge: the shingles are 12 inches long and should hang over by 1 inch on the bottoms. Make a vertical chalk line 35 inches from the front edge of the roof: the shingle sheets are 36 inches and should hang over 1 inch on the front.

Draw another vertical line 29 inches back from the front edge. Having two vertical lines will establish two starting points for the shingle sheets to create offset rows.

The first (bottom) shingle row should be two shingles thick. Turn the first layer upside down so the darker portion of the shingle sheet hangs over the edge (Image 1). The second layer should be positioned right side up to match all subsequent rows. Nail shingles in place and continue adding rows. Use a utility knife to trim the shingles even with the sides of the plywood roof.

To cover the exposed ridge board, cut shingle sheets into single shingles and place them sideways over the apex of the roof so they overlap (Image 2).

Taper these single shingles on the bottom end so that these black areas don’t peek out from under the previous shingle.

Step 5: Customize the Doghouse

Paint the doghouse, add a nameplate and put down a piece of scrap carpeting to help your pup stay warm and comfortable.

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