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Dog House Roof Guide – Roof Types And Materials

Updated September 29, 2020.

A dog house roof is essential for keeping your Pooch safe from the elements. It is especially true if you live in an area that snows outside. This complete dog house roof guide will show you everything you need to know about building your dog house roof.

From dog house roof design to dog house roof materials, I’ve researched, so you don’t have to. Find all your answers here in the Dog House Roof Guide by Dog House Times!

There are several conventional designs for dog house roof structures. These include a flat roof, gabled roof, mansard, or asymmetrical design. In this article, we outline all the different types of roof designs and also the roof covering materials for your dog house roof.

Dog House Times Roof Guide Chart
Dog House Times Roof Guide Chart

Dog House Roof Building

The dog house roof is an essential part of the dog house build process. The roof keeps your Pooch safe and sheltered from the elements such as cold and driving rain. That’s why it’s essential to make sure you’ve done your research.

Making the best possible dog house roof to keep the dog and his/her house dry and protected is essential for various reasons. I’ve done all the research to bring you a one-stop source for the information you need to make the best dog house ever. In this article, I will cover roof structure types and also roof coverings, but I will start with the structure.

Dog House Roof Types

A simple overlapping stained wood roof design.
A simple overlapping stained wood roof design.

There are many different types of roofs that you can choose from when designing your dog house. The dog house roof is vital to keep rain, snow, and other elements like the wind out of the dog house. It’s also crucial for containing the heat within the dog house. Let’s review the different types.

Flat Roof

The flat roof is one of the best choices for a roof type. Why? Well, think of all the things you can do with a flat surface. You can add a rooftop garden or solar panels. I even saw a dog house that had a rain barrel on its flat roof that fed a water fountain to the side of the dog house. Flat roof types allow for a multitude of projects to enhance your yard or your dog house itself.

Is a Flat Roof Really Flat?

Dog house roof designs that incorporate a flat roof are actually not entirely flat. The concept here is that despite the fact you have a ‘flat’ roof, the roof should actually be slightly slanted. If you don’t have a slight slant, water will pool and won’t drain off the roof. This is why flat roof designs are never actually flat, just visually appearing to be flat, but actually have a small degree of slope.

Gabled Roof

A gabled roof is a roof that typically has two sides which slope up to a single ridge along the center. It is the most common design of the roof. It is one of the most affordable styles of roof for homes. Now the cost between the design types may be negligible to you as a dog house is not overly broad, but it doesn’t hurt to know that about this roof design anyway.

Check out my video, where I build a wood plank dog house with a gable roof. This design has an attractive asymmetrical design. Let me know what you think in the comments.

Wood Plank Dog House With Asymmetrical Gabled Roof Design

Gabled Roof Options

There are multiple options available when designing a gabled roof. First, you can choose to have the crest of the roof run front to back or from side to side. Next, multiple designs add a bit of cultural flair to your project. For example, a Dutch Gable Roof is one where there is a minimum of three sides where one side of the standard gabled roof is added on end, typically noticeably lower than the main crest, as you can see in this picture.

Gabled Roof Designs
Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Mono-Pitched aka Shed or Skillion Roof

A simple sloped shed roof.
Image by Ron Porter from Pixabay

Simplicity is the definition of the shed roof. This is a single sloped roof. It is both functional and modern in appearance. The sloped roof is the easiest type of roof to build. That is except for the flat roof which is essentially the same as the shed roof. Except for the obvious difference being the angle or degree of slope.

Curved Roof

Curved roof designs have been around for thousands of years. The concave curved roof design is typical of ancient Asian pagodas and temples. The convexly curved roof is a more modern take on curved roof style and design. On homes in North America, steel is typical of a curved roof, but shingles are also common for this type of design.

Curved Russian roof architecture.
Image by Lynn Greyling from Pixabay

Pyramid Gabled

Another design that has stood the test of time, the pyramid-shaped roof. This roof typically has 4 sides and a single point at the tip of the roof. This design is a little more difficult to construct. If you’re going to build a large dog house with inner roof substructure, but for most builds, this is a well-suited design.

Roof Weight Loads

A large roof with multiple weight load joists showing for support.
Image by SatyaPrem from Pixabay

Do you live in an area that gets a decent snowfall in the winter? If so, you’ll want to know what kind of weight you need your dog house roof to hold in case of a snowstorm. Typically snow weighs about 20lbs per square foot if saturated, according to Mutual Benefit Group Insurance.

According to a Government of Canada’s publication, the computed snow load for the city of Toronto is 35 lbs per square foot. Just an hour north, the city of Barrie, Ontario, has a calculated snow load of 60 pounds per square foot.

Building Code Analysis

The best idea is to look up building codes in your area. If you are concerned, find out about your local area requirements for weight. Let’s use the American standard of 20 lbs per square foot, which equates to 9kg per 30.48 cm squared.

Now I live in Ontario; here I would go with a minimum of 50 lbs per square meter, minimum. But we get a lot of snow here. If you don’t get any snow, then using a 20 lbs per square foot rule is extraordinarily conservative, and you’ll likely have no reason for concern.

Roof Coverings aka Dog House Roof Materials

No matter what structure you decide to go with for your dog house roof, you’ll need to cover it in something. Deciding which dog house roof material to use will depend upon the type of climate you live in. If you make the dog house roof design that which can withstand all the basic 4 seasons you find in a temperate climate, then you’re probably good to go. Whatever your core structure is made of, you’ll have 3 stages to your roof.

1. The base structure, you can think of this as your skeleton.

2. The roof substructure, this would be something like plywood on top of structural joists and beams. You can think of this as the muscle.

3. The roof covering, think of this as the skin. It is what we are concerned with at the moment.

Asphalt Shingles

An image of a normal house with asphalt shingles.
Asphalt shingles are easy to install and reliable. Image by Pexels from Pixabay

There are multiple types of roof covering dog house materials, some more readily available than others, depending on where you live. One of the most common is asphalt shingles. These are typically easily accessible, and you usually don’t need more than a pack or two of them. They generally last 20-30 years.

Metal Roofing

Metal roofing is the next best thing. It will cost a bit more but usually metal roofs last between 35-90 years, depending on the type and quality. The only downside is you need to insulate it properly to avoid the noise from rain.


Roof shingles.
Wood roof tiles are shown in this image by Michael Schwarzenberger from Pixabay.

You can also use wood building materials, of course. I have seen some beautiful cedar plank and even cedar shingle roofs, which were lovely. The downside here is that you need to stain or clear-coat the wood with protective paint or stain. It is to avoid rotting and to add waterproofing to the wood. You will likely need to re-apply the stain or paint every 3-5 years, depending on the wear and tear it takes from the elements.

Slate roof tiles.
Slate roof tiles are shown in this image. Image by Tania Van den Berghen from Pixabay


Slate roofs are another time tested roofing material. They can be a bit much to work with for a dog house roof material, but they look great and last forever. It can be a little more expensive but looks beautiful and lasts between 50-120 years. It is much longer than most dogs live. But if you’re building a dog house for permanence for generations of dogs, then slate is a fantastic option.


Plastic such as Acrylic can also be used for roofing material as these plastics are extremely weather resistant. Plastic is usually only found in new, trendy dog house roof designs. They are also waterproof and lasts for decades before yellowing, depending on the quality of Acrylic or Lexan, of course. Fiberglass sheets are also available, but I don’t personally recommend it due to how it breaks down.


I recommend a gabled or shed style of the roof with asphalt shingles, cedar, or slate. All are attractive options. Of course, a dog house solar project would always be a fresh option as well.

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