Dog House Reno – Insulating A Dog House

The Dog House Times – Dog House Reno Series continues with the dog house insulation installation video. This epic tale of insulating your dog house is brought to you once again by Farmer Jer. Watch as he takes you through the entire process of insulating a dog house. Step by step, from start to finish.

In this article, I’ll go over each step in detail and show pictures of each stage for you to follow along. By the end of this article, you’ll be able to insulate your own dog house professionally and cheap. Let’s dive in, shall we?

Start At The Beginning – Planning

The first thing that we need to do is make sure there is a dog house. Without that, it would be difficult to insulate (especially if it does not yet exist). If you need to build a simple and cheap dog house, kindly refer to my video and plans to make a simple wood plank dog house from the wood collected from free skids.

Assuming you have a dog house already, there are a few considerations that need to be made before we begin. Why? Because pre-planning will save you time and money. Here’s what you need to consider:

  • How cold does it get outside where the dog house is?
  • Is there a lot of moisture and/or rain where the dog house is?
  • Is the dog house waterproof?
  • How long will the dog(s) be spending in the dog house, in the coldest conditions?
  • Is there a need for a dog house heater?
  • Is there a need for a dog house door?
  • What material is the existing dog house made out of?

I’m going to break down each of these, but I know you came here to find out about insulating, trust me, take a minute to go over this list with me. Seriously, it could save you a lot of aggravation down the road (and make your dog more comfortable and happy).

How Cold Does It Get Outside (Where The Dog House Is)?

Dogs out in winter cold who need an insulated dog house.
Cold winters call for an insulated dog house with a heater.

I think this is fairly obvious, but to some, it may not be. You should really assess what level of cold you’re trying to protect against. This will help you determine the proper R-Value which you need to choose. But, what is R-Value? I go into depth on that one in my article on insulation types, but basically it is a measure of an insulation ability to insulate against the cold. This can also be taken as insulation ability against heat, but let’s not go there as we aren’t trying to make ovens, just a warm dog house.

The temperature will also make a difference on what your choice of a dog house is in the first place. Depending on the climate that you live in, there are different things to consider about your dog house. I’ve already outlined these points in my article about the right dog house for each climate.

Is there a lot of moisture and/or rain where the dog house is?

A scene of heavy rainfall and water coating the ground is shown in this photo.
Sometimes the rain must fall…

Again, the climate has a lot to do with what types of insulation we use. You can also consider adding vapor barriers to walls, so consider where the water is going to go first. You don’t want to have any insulation like pink fibrous insulation, for instance, that is exposed to rain. That particular type of insulation will get soggy and turn into a nasty mess.

It is best to stick with, in my opinion, insulation types which are generally impervious to high levels of water. This way, even if you have to hose down your dog house for whatever reason, it won’t matter if it gets wet. That’s my philosophy when building outdoor dog houses, make the whole thing weather-proof, both inside and out. Do that and you’ve got nothing to worry about. And of course, when we are talking about weather-proof, we are going to ask the question:

Is the dog house waterproof?

Okay, so I kind of talked about this already, but really, if it isn’t yet waterproof, you’ll want to consider how to make it so, before you add insulation. Depending on the materials, it could be simple. For instance, if you are insulating one of those plastic igloo houses from the big box stores, those are obviously quite waterproof. If you are working with a wood dog house, it may not be so easy. But, it is an important step to help reduce heat loss and keep the interior dry.

How long will the dog(s) be spending in the dog house, in the coldest conditions?

To answer this, you should ask yourself a few things. Like, is it too cold for you to be outside in a medium sweater? That’s all a dog’s coat amounts to and if they have a thin coat, it could be more like a t-shirt. Keep that in mind. Only certain breeds are truly equipped for long durations in extreme cold.

Let’s assume that you’re like me and you just want a cool dog house for your dog to relax in when they are hanging out with you in the yard. Now, from my perspective, this could be any time of year as I have a hot tub and use it year-round. I use it in the winter, but only for 20-minute sessions at a time. That being said, my dog isn’t outside for more than 20 minutes with me during the winter months.

And if it’s ridiculously cold, she stays inside. But, I have a little Yorkshire terrier who is a little princess and definitely not equipped for the cold.

If you have a medium to large breed and they will spend a bit of time outside, you’ll want to lean towards higher R-value insulation. If you are like me and the dog won’t be out for more than 20 minutes, then lower r-value insulation may be all that is required.

Is there a need for a heater?

Take a look at our recommendations page for the best and safest dog heaters.

If there is a need for your dog to spend extended periods outside and it gets cold out, then a heater is likely necessary. This ties into your insulation choice in two ways. First, you can’t or shouldn’t put any type of insulation that will melt or catch fire, near a heater. I would assume you to be wise, as you are here reading this (too much?) and so you would have naturally already read my article on dog house heaters.

To sum up, use a heater like a waterproof heating pad that is designed for dogs. That way, you won’t have to worry about any insulation melting or potentially catching fire. Just my two cents.

Is there a need for a door?

Okay, so I’m going to take a leap of faith here and assume that if you’re looking for information about insulating your dog’s house, that it is likely cold enough to warrant a door be installed. And that being said, you are probably best off making a strip curtain door. Don’t worry, the video to make one of these is episode 3 of the Dog House Reno Series. You can see the article and video on this website of course and also on my YouTube channel.

What material is the existing dog house made out of?

We’ve determined what R-Value we need, we know our dog house is or isn’t waterproof. I’m hoping it is. Making that the assumption, the last thing we need to think about is how we are going to attach the insulation to the dog house walls. And that will be determined by what material the wall is made out of.

If the dog house is plastic, you’ll likely need some sort of super glue that will bond the insulation to the plastic dog house interior surface. You’ll need an adhesive which won’t be degraded by moisture and one that will preferably have some longevity. Oh, and not reacting with the insulation or dog house in a bad way either.

If the dog house is wood, it’s easy to figure out a fastener for the insulation. In my video, I use an electric staple gun with 1/2″ staples to fasten the insulation to the wooden dog house walls. Again, what you decide to use is up to you. However, you should keep in mind whether or not your dog will be exposed to any of the insulation or fasteners and that should also weigh in on your decision about what to use.

Installation of Insulation VIDEO

Here’s the fun part. You’ve considered all the variables. You’ve chosen your insulation type or types and now it’s time to install. Take a look at the video I made of installing insulation to my dog house.

In my dog house, the insulation I chose to use was two different types. First, I chose a relatively low R-value insulation which reflects radiant heat. The packaging boasted of a 96% reflection of radiant heat. The other type of insulation I chose is a soft, flexible styrofoam-like insulation roll. It also has a relatively low R-value, but I installed it in multiple layers, effectively increasing the R-value 4 times over.

I installed this foam insulation first, as you’ve seen in the video. Second, I installed the foil radiant bubble wrap inside. I was going to then add a thin layer of plywood or outdoor carper over that but I decided not to. The foil wrap really gives the interior a neat kind of Jetson futuristic look. It is also really easy to wipe down as it has a thin plastic coating making it ideal for easy cleaning of the dog house.

And as you have seen in the video, it’s pretty straight forward. The whole job shouldn’t take more than a few hours, but it depends on the architecture of your dog house and all the nuances of installation which may be different from my own experience.

How do you plan on insulating your dog house? Leave me a comment below and let me know your experiences.

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