How To Build A Dog House

  • how to build a dog house
A new house is an expensive dream for most of us, but the same does not have to be true for our four-legged friends. 
Use recycled fence palings and roofing, plus inexpensive 42 x 19mm pine and plywood, to build a luxury dog house in a weekend. Source the secondhand materials from council cleanups or at the tip for a small fee.
Recycled palings will be weathered and slightly distorted, so measure and cut as you build to correct for the small variations in board size.
TIP We have included three cutting lists so you can scale the design to suit a small, medium or large dog.

Cutting the birdsmouth notches

A birdsmouth cut is a chippie’s term for a triangular notch. Here it provides a small flat section for the sloping rafter to sit on the roof base frame. 
To mark the notches, position one rafter against the ridge and mark a plumb cut line on the rafter, flush with the outer edge of the roof frame side.
Measure 5mm up the plumb line and square a level line back to the base edge of the rafter to mark a small right-angled triangle.
Transfer the notch position to the rest of the rafters then use a tenon saw to cut them out. Clean up the edges using a chisel if required.

Finishing the kennel 

Once you've finished building the kennel, prime the gable and exposed pine elements then apply two coats of a suitable exterior acrylic.
There is no need to finish hardwood palings but be sure to seal any old holes from fasteners in the cladding and roofing using silicone.
Apply varnish stain to the cut edges of the film face plywood used for the baseboard and sand the cladding to eliminate any splinters.
To prevent cuts that can be caused by the edges of the metal components, slit 6mm poly tubing lengthways and thread it over all exposed edges of the roofing and capping, applying silicone to attach it permanently.


Use exterior adhesive on all joints and 65mm x 8g galvanised screws to assemble the roof support frame together and secure the base of the rafters. 
Use 50mm x 8g screws for all wall frame assembly, securing the posts and rafter tops to the ridge. 
Use 32mm x 8g galvanised screws to secure the battens and the baseboard to the wall frames.

Step 1. Assemble wall frames

Pair up the baseplates and top plates to mark the stud positions on both simultaneously. Secure the studs with adhesive and screws then compare the diagonals to check for square. Attach the door head 500mm up from the base of the front wall.

Step 2. Construct the walls

Erect the wall frames by drilling 2mm pilot holes then securing screws through the side frames into the front and back frames. Ensure the outside faces are flush then attach the frame assembly to the baseboard with screws through the baseplates.

Step 3. Build a roof support

Position two roof support crossrails between the ends of the roof support sides, and one 400mm from the front, then clamp firmly and secure with adhesive and screws. Leave to dry then attach the roof support frame to the top plates using screws.

Step 4. Prepare the rafters

Clamp 145mm offcuts to prop the ridge in position. Use a mitresaw to cut the rafter ends at 30° then clamp the rafters together ensuring ends are flush. Measure and mark the birdsmouth position on the rafters, then cut with a tenon saw. 

Step 5. Assemble roof frame

Position the rafters evenly spaced along the ridge and roof frame sides then secure with adhesive and screws. Leave to dry then remove the props.
TIP Drill a 5mm clearance hole at an angle of about 30° through the rafter into the roof frame side.

Step 6. Clad the walls

Cut the fence palings to length, measuring as you go to correct for small variations in size then secure with nails, starting at the baseboard and working your way up.
TIP Cut the top board along the grain to fill the remaining space.

Step 7. Add battens & gable
Secure the roof battens to the rafters, flush with both ends of the rafters. Cut the gable to shape then secure it to the rafters, ridge and roof frame using adhesive and screws.
TIP Alternatively, use fence palings instead of plywood for the gable.
Step 8. Install the posts

Cut four verandah posts with a 30° angled top to sit snug under the roof. Attach to the side of the rafters and roof frame using adhesive and screws, plus to the baseboard by securing with screws from underneath.
TIP The longer fifth post is cut square.

Step 9. Secure roof sheets

Cut the roof sheets to length using tin snips and attach to the battens with self-tappers, ensuring an overlap of at least two corrugations. Cut and secure the barge and ridge capping then fill any old holes in the roof sheets with silicone.

Click on the diagram

Follow the labelled diagram to build the dog house. It has the name of all the parts and the measurements to help you cut the components and assemble the dog house. 

Click on the cutting list

Follow the cutting list to build the dog house. It has the name of all the parts and the measurements to help you cut the components and assemble the dog house.  

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