Having an outdoor dog house allows your furry friend to comfortably relax and take shelter outside. But traditional wooden dog houses can deteriorate quickly. A composite dog house is a smart, low-maintenance alternative. Composite materials like fiberglass, recycled plastic and resin offer durability and weather resistance unmatched by wood.
This article provides a complete overview of composite dog house construction. We’ll cover planning considerations, material options, building steps, accessories, costs and upkeep. With the right techniques, you can easily build a composite dog house your pet will enjoy for years.
Benefits of Composite Dog Houses
Composite dog houses provide significant advantages over wooden structures:
- Longer lifespan – Composites resist rotting, cracking and insect damage better than wood.
- Reduced maintenance – No need to periodically repaint or treat the structure. Just hose it down occasionally.
- Impervious to moisture – Composites won’t warp or deteriorate due to rain and snow.
- Resists odors and stains – The slick surfaces won’t absorb smells like wood.
- Termite and pest proof – Insects can’t penetrate the solid composite walls.
- Insulating properties – Certain composites offer some insulation against temperature extremes.
- Easy to clean – Slick composite surfaces just need basic washing.
With a properly constructed composite dog house, you can provide your pet with lasting outdoor shelter.
Planning A Composite Dog House
Careful planning ensures your DIY dog house meets your pet’s needs:
- Research your dog’s breed to determine appropriate house dimensions based on their size. Allow extra room for growth.
- Consider your climate. If located in colder regions, plan for insulation, heating and elevated floors.
- Determine features needed like a covered porch, ventilation windows, cedar shingle roof, etc.
- Check your property layout and yard to identify the ideal dog house placement.
- Research any permits needed for permanent structures in your municipality.
- Have underground utilities marked before digging foundations.
Taking the time to plan results in a dog house tailored to your pet with features for optimal comfort.
Composite Materials For Dog Houses
Common composite options for DIY dog houses include:
- Glass fibers bound in polyester resin
- Naturally weather and pest resistant
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Can be painted or gel coated any color
Recycled Plastic Lumber
- Made from recycled plastic bags and film
- Impervious to moisture and bugs
- Textured appearance resembles wood
- Stainless steel hardware recommended
Insulated Composite Panels
- Polystyrene or polyurethane foam between plastic skins
- Provides insulation and sound dampening
- Common for shed-style dog houses
- Brands like Kodiak and Suncast
- Blend of synthetic and natural resins
- Mixed with wood fibers for rigidity
- Weatherproof and termite proof
- Stains like natural wood
Composite panels provide simple construction. But fiberglass, plastic lumber, and resins allow fully custom houses.
How To Build A Composite Dog House
Constructing a composite dog house involves six main steps:
1. Frame the Floor
- Build a rectangular frame from rot-resistant lumber like cedar or composite boards. This elevates the house off the ground.
- Include overhangs on one or both sides to create a covered porch area.
2. Attach Wall Panels
- Cut composite panels to size with circular or jigsaw.
- Predrill holes to attach panels to floor frame with exterior screws.
3. Add Insulation (Optional)
- Cut panels of rigid foam insulation to fit inside walls. This adds insulation.
- Or loosely fill walls with insulation material.
4. Install Door Opening
- Cut out opening for entryway in front panel.
- Frame opening using trim board.
5. Build Roof
- Construct gable, shed or other roof design.
- Use composite roof panels or traditional materials like shingles.
6. Add Accessories
- Attach windows, ventilation holes, cedar shingle roof, etc.
- Caulk and seal all seams and gaps.
With proper construction techniques, composite materials can create dog houses that stand up to weather, wear and your pet.
Useful Accessories For Composite Dog Houses
Optional accessories can customize your DIY composite dog house:
- Windows – Acrylic or plastic panels let in light and air. Place for ventilation while limiting drafts.
- Insulated floor – Elevate floor frame and insulate underneath to prevent cold transfer.
- Heating pad – Keep interior warm using an outdoor-rated heating pad covered with a protective casing.
- Roof overhang – Extend roof past entry to help keep rain out of the doorway.
- Dog door – Install a plastic flap door for convenient entry and exit.
- Interior bedding – Use a durable, easy to clean bed inside. Remove during shedding season.
- Vent covers – Protect ventilation holes from wind and rain with hood covers.
- Skirting – Attach trim boards around base to cover floor framing.
Personalize your dog house with options to enhance comfort, weather protection and visual appeal.
Cost To Build A Composite Dog House
You can build a basic small composite dog house for under $200. Larger houses with extensive customization and accessories can cost $500 and beyond.
Factors impacting total cost include:
- Composite materials selected
- Overall size based on dog breed
- Accessories like windows, heating, insulation
- Roofing material: shingles vs. panels
- Custom fabrication costs
- Amount of DIY vs. hiring carpenter
Assess your dog’s needs and house features wanted before budgeting. Prioritize essential elements for your pet first.
Maintaining A Composite Dog House
Composite dog houses require very minimal maintenance:
- Wash occasionally with mild detergent and water. Avoid abrasive cleaners.
- Check for debris stuck between panels or roof components. Flush out with hose.
- Inspect for damage after major storms. Repair or replace components as needed.
- Reapply protective sealant/stain annually to refresh appearance.
- Remove bedding regularly for washing to prevent odors.
- Keep rain and overflow directed away from house to avoid moisture damage.
With proper construction and occasional cleaning, a composite dog house will provide lasting coziness for your dog.
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