The Best Dog House Building Materials

Updated June 4, 2020

So, you want to build a dog house?  You’re in the right place. Choosing the right supplies to make your dog house before you get started is a smart plan. But what dog house building materials should you use to create your dog house? 

Using a TOXIC material could spell doom for your furry friend. I, too, wanted to know about building a dog house, so I created this handy guide to dog house building materials for you.

I did the research, and now you don’t have to. I’ve also worked with dogs my whole life, having a veterinarian as a father didn’t hurt my experience either, neither did working in renovations for many years.  Let’s jump on into what dog house building materials are needed and which aren’t, so you go into this build informed.

Rather Listen To This Dog House Building Materials Article?

WARNING: Don’t use a poisonous kind of wood.  Here is our full list of what’s safe, and what’s not (click here to see the list)

Before we fall into the rabbit hole of possible building materials, it’s good to understand the fundamentals of dog houses. Take a quick read of our article on the fundamentals of dog houses here and then jump back into this rabbit hole of building materials.

Kiki, a Yorkshire Terrier, playfully rolls around on the wood floor in this file photo.
Always keep your pooch in mind.

Indoor Dog House Materials

Indoor dog houses can be constructed from a variety of dog house building materials that are usually easy to find, depending on what country/area you live in.  Before you begin, think about these things:

  • Do the materials I’m using smell or give off an odor?
  • If my dog has an accident in the dog house, how easy is it for me to clean?
  • Does my dog chew on things?  Will they chew on the house or kennel I build and if so, will it be safe? 

Making an indoor dog kennel can be a really cool way to make something that not only will you find useful for your dog, but might just be useful in other ways.  How?  Well, why not make a dual-purpose dog kennel? If you’re making a dog hotel for a small species ie a small dog, then you could make a kennel that doubles as an end table for example. 

For medium to large dogs, you could use the dog kennel as a table base or counter base.  Finding useful ways to incorporate the dog house into your interior design can make the dog house both aesthetically pleasing and also useful

Basic Materials To Build A Dog House

Acrylic Plastic

Acrylic plastic can be found in a variety of colors, or transparent. It is glass-like in its clarity yet is much more durable to impacts than glass. Acrylic is relatively easy to work with and is impervious to the elements.

Brick

A brick and mortar dog house would be impressive, and also quite permanent, that is for sure. The brick will not be bothered by any wind or rain, but that wouldn’t be an issue for your dog house if it is indoors. Typically dog houses are not constructed of brick unless outside.

Concrete

Concrete is one of the most versatile and robust building materials of the twentieth century. Add some steel reinforcing bar and wire mesh, and you’ll have a bunker that might just survive a bombing attack.

Although not typically used to make dog houses, this would work well if building a below-ground dog house. Keep in mind concrete will get cold and damp if it is cool out, so you would want to have some wood or a mat on the floor so your dog doesn’t get a chill.

Fiberglass

Fiberglass is usually only used for dog houses for the roof. It would often be a corrugated fiberglass sheet. Fiberglass is generally going to be used more for insulating, but this would be fiber type insulation and not fiberglass like you might think of like that which makes the body panels of a car like a Corvette.

Lexan Plastic

Lexan, or in truth, polycarbonate resin thermoplastic, is a highly versatile form of plastic that manufacturers use for making everything from DVDs to bulletproof glass. It’s expensive but sturdy and makes for great glass alternatives for windows. It is especially important if you have kids that play around the dog house (lexan means unlikely you’ll get a broken window).

Particle Board / Pressboard

Fabrication of particle and or pressboard is achieved by compressing wood dust or wood chips together with adhesives to form boards. It is the staple of almost all Ikea products.

Although this standard form of ‘wood’ like material may be okay for indoor use, it certainly isn’t suitable for the outdoors. These materials can be destroyed by water, and often very quickly. I do not recommending these to make your dog house.

Stone

Like brick, the stone is impervious to the elements. It is also heavy and semi-difficult to work. Making a dog house out of stone and I presume mortar, would make a dog house that could potentially last with a permanence that could rival the pyramids. That would, of course, depend upon how you craft said stone dog house. A dog pyramid would be impressive; I’ll have to do an article on that.

Wood

Wood is your staple go-to for dog house building materials. Wood can be easily crafted and is readily available in most countries. You can paint and or stain wood to give it resistance to the elements as well.

Just make sure that if your dog likes to chew, that you use only safe woods. See my article on what’s safe and what isn’t here. Speaking of chewing, Christine Valitutti wrote a great piece after weeks of research about what foods dogs can eat. Excellent read, I recommend it.

Outdoor Dog House And Kennel Building Materials

A wood plank style dog house built by Farmer Jer.
A wooden plank style dog house.

The materials that make a dog house will be entirely dependent upon Environment, and I like to think of these by breaking it down into temperature, humidity, and precipitation.

Temperature

If you live in a warm country, you’ll want to build a dog house that helps keep the dog cool.  If you live in a cold country, the opposite is correct, and you’ll want to construct a dog house that keeps your dog warm.  Or if you live somewhere in between, you’ll want a dog house that can do both. 

Humidity

Mold.  Gross and not so healthy for you or your pet.  If you live in a climate where humidity can be an issue, your going to want to pick dog house building materials that are good at handling moist conditions.  Weatherproofing your dog house is essential. 

Keeping mold down is simple if you do a few simple things starting with making sure if you use wood that it is stained, painted, and sealed to prevent rot and mold growth.  The other good idea is to make sure your design allows for air movement. But, having dog house building supplies that are not conducive to mold growth is a smart idea.

Pro Tip:  Paint the inside of your dog house with a proper mold resisting bathroom paint.  Do three coats to make sure you seal it up.  It’ll also make it easy cleaning if the need presents itself.

Precipitation

Rain, rain, go away. Okay, so that’s not going to happen, but we can make our dog castle nice and dry inside by making sure we seal things up with weatherproofing.  Take the time when building your dog house to put the extra effort in to create your dog house with longevity in mind.  You will want to make sure the dog house roof (building materials), whether shingles, siding, wood, or other, are correctly installed and sealed up good. 

Dog House Part Specific Building Supplies

Roofing Materials

Round roof tiles
Round tile roofing

When considering things like waterproofing your dog house, it’s essential to pick the best dog house building supplies. Two major factors will determine the best solution for the roof.

  1. Availability
  2. Design Preference

Availability is self-explanatory. If you are looking for something that will work, you’ll look first at what is available. Most areas have shingles, and depending on the size of your project, you may get away with a single package of shingles. Or maybe you just pick up a sheet of acrylic or even wood and some stain; there are numerous options for what to use.

Design Preference. Maybe your idea is to make your dog house a miniature version of your home. If this is the case, you may be looking for a specific type of roofing material, such as slate tile or clay. Tin or metal roofing is very cheap and somewhat easy to work with, but you and your dog may not enjoy how loud it can be, given a good rain.

Siding Materials

A rock block wall.
Rock Wall – Serious Dog House Wall Building Material

Like roofing, there is a multitude of options for the sides of your dog house. Aluminum siding, wood, or steel siding are all acceptable siding materials and easily obtained in most areas. Timber will require treatment to avoid rotting outside in the elements.

Again I’d like to point out an excellent material to use that most people don’t think of commercial overhead door sections or panels. Common in North America, commercial door panels typically are foam injected (insulated) polyurethane with a steel skin.

Door panels are quite rigid and can be used to build the walls and roof as they are also weather and water-resistant. You can usually pick up some creased sections dirt cheap from any commercial door service company.

I also like the idea of attaching planters to the sides of the dog house. It gives your dog house a beautiful, living ‘green’ edge over typical dog houses.

So, when choosing the dog house building supplies, try to select those that are structurally able to hold things like planters. That way, should you decide to renovate your dog house down the line, it will be better suited. If you do use planters, just make sure the plants are safe.

Savings Tip

Need to save even more cash? Try finding some old wooden skids. Skids are one of the dog house building supplies which you can get for free. These are often lying around industrial areas, sometimes just at the side of the road. At the time of writing this, there is a pile of skids in front of the building where I work with a ‘for free’ sign on them.

A little work with a hammer and pry bar, and you can pull the nails out to give yourself a whole stack of boards to use to build your dog house. A free trick as long as you don’t mind a little work.

I’ll be posting more in-depth articles about each portion of the build, from roofing materials to insulation materials. Check back soon for these updates and more free info to help you with your dog house build.

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