Updated January 17th, 2021.
A dog house that is insulated requires the doorway is sealed for the insulation to do its job. However, a dog does not have hands like you, and I do, or most of us do anyway. And opening and closing doors can be quite impossible for them.
How do you make a custom-sized door to your specific dog house that will work and that the dog can operate? You make a strip curtain door for a dog house door, that’s how. And I’ve got the instructions right here to help you make your strip curtain – dog house door.
My Experience With Doors
You know, I spent a lot of time fixing doors over the years. I currently work full time in the door business and have for the past 15 years. I bet you didn’t even know there was such a thing. But, oh, let me tell you, there is. No matter what company, no matter what industry, they have to have a building, and that building needs doors. Both for humans to enter and exit or for vehicles to enter and exit. Therefore, it’s a bit of a recession-proof industry if you play your cards right.
Questions Of Sealing Openings
On many occasions, people have asked me the question of how to best seal an entranceway. And some of the pre-requisites are quite interesting. I’ve had to seal labs that tested human blood. There were times I had to seal doors that led to military test facilities. I’ve even worked at nuclear power plants. Everybody has doors. You might say I’m a bit of an expert on entrance technology.
So, there I was, watching my dog huddle in the back corner of her little dog house to avoid the wind. You see, I got a hot tub to help me with a medical condition that causes me a lot of pain and discomfort. I do 20-minute hot tub sessions, as more than that is not necessarily good for you. And my dog, Kiki, loves to follow me where ever I go. I can’t let her get into the hot tub, so I built her the wood plank dog so she would have somewhere to relax while I spent my time in the tub.
Kiki, The Wonder Dog, Needed A Door
Kiki is a fantastic dog. To give you a little background, my wife and I got Kiki in 2009. In 2014, she was diagnosed with two types of cancer, which had been generated in the form of large abscesses. We had to get her a radical mastectomy, which was very traumatic, but she made it through. Then in 2018, Kiki started to show signs of Cushing’s disease. Her liver grew in size, and we had to get a bunch of tests done, and now she seems relatively stable on her current doses of 2 different medication types.
Kiki is only nine years old and has visually aged over the last year. I fear the worst. So, I try to make her as comfortable as I can. I know she doesn’t like being locked up alone in the house while I’m out in the hot tub. And as I mentioned, that’s why I made her the dog house as I use my hot tub almost daily.
Update: My best friend Kiki has since past away from Cushing’s Disease.
End Result For Kiki’s Dog House
Getting to the point, I wanted to make sure the dog house I had built for Kiki (you can watch me grow it in the Wood Plank Dog House Build video) was adequately warm. Therefore, I insulated it and now have constructed a strip curtain door for the dog house.
Making your strip curtain door is rather fun (if you like crafty things) and relatively simple. The materials you will need to make a dog house are easy to find.
What’ You’ll Need To Make And Install A Strip Curtain Dog House Door
An existing dog house. However, we’ve got a video that shows you how you can make your own dog house. However, the accompanying video was filmed using a dog house with a rectangular-shaped doorway for this strip curtain. If you are trying to make a strip curtain door for an igloo type house with a rounded doorway, you’ll have to be a bit more creative than what I’ve shown in the video. (See Dog House Times – Dog House Reno Episode 3 on YouTube).
- I used my DEWALT Miter Saw like the one linked to here on Amazon. The chop saw is great for softer materials like wood or vinyl, but make sure you have the right blade for the job. If using a metal bar like aluminum or steel, use an appropriate hacksaw like this one on Amazon.
- Drill with drill bits
- Again, I used my DEWALT tool (like the cordless drill combo linked here on Amazon), but this time it’s a portable 20V MAX version. I have a nice kit of drill bits that work with metal or wood like this one from Amazon.
- You can use a handheld manual screwdriver (I like the quality of the Klein Tools Multi-Bit Screwdriver shown on Amazon via this link), or if you’ve got the DEWALT Brushless 20V combo kit (like the one I used, linked here on Amazon) or similar, you can use the impact drill with the appropriate bit.
- Tape measure and ruler
- I’m a big fan of a quality tape measure. After years on the road as a service tech, I can’t tell you how many tape measures broke on me. But this heavy-duty 30′ DEWALT tape (linked to Amazon here) has lasted me the last few years without issue. And the ruler or straight edge is needed for making nice, straight lines.
- A good quality marking marker is essential. I like the twin tip permanent type like the Sharpie brand marker (linked here on Amazon).
- A pair of scissors
- Like the heavy-duty sewing sheers (linked to here on Amazon), good quality scissors are essential for cutting PVC or similar materials. You can use a box cutter knife (I don’t have this one from Amazon, but it looks wild, so I had to show you), but scissors are easier and safer.
- Caulking gun
- For a few bucks, save yourself the hassle and get a decent caulking gun. Seriously, you can buy a crappy one and wind up buying another in a few years when you need it again, or you can get a decent one that will last for a really long time. If you’re a homeowner, you know what to do here. Here’s a decent caulking gun from Amazon.
- 3-4 wood screws.
- The screws you use will depend on the strip curtain material’s thickness, the mounting bar, and the dog house’s wall. Don’t get screws that will go all the way through the wall of the dog house. You don’t want your dog getting scratched. Here’s a small variety pack of wood screws from Amazon that should suit your purposes.
- Two layers of the strip curtain material.
- Wood or other mounting material.
- A good quality mounting material like this aluminum flat bar on Amazon will do the trick nicely.
- Any good-quality silicone like this Gorilla brand clear silicone, again linked to the easiest place to buy (Amazon). Use this stuff to seal the strip curtain’s top edge to the dog house, so no water leaks in during rain.
- Paint or stain if using wood.
Instructions To Make And Install A Strip Curtain Dog House Door
Step 1. Measure
Measure your dog house door opening size. Write down the width and height.
Step 2. Gather Materials
If you can find it, you can use a cold temperature clear PVC strip curtain. Available online on Amazon, of course. I used some that I had picked up at a hardware store that has the purpose of being used as a stair liner. I’ve used it in a pinch before, and it didn’t get brittle until it got to be frigid temperatures like -15 Celsius, which my dog won’t be outside in any way.
For mounting your strip curtain, you will need some wood or a similar piece of material. The width should be about 2 inches wider than the width of the doorway of your dog house. That’s so your strip curtain can overlap the sides of the door, which provides a better seal.
Mount Bar From Weather Strip
For my dog house, I used a leftover piece of vinyl garage door weatherstrip, which I had lying around. As it is already weather-proof, I do not need to paint it like I would a piece of wood. But, if you do use wood, make sure you stain or paint as well, so it is weather-proof like the vinyl weatherstrip is.
Pro Tip: Email me if you want colored vinyl weatherstrip. I work in the door business and will sell you a piece if you need it. See my contact page for my email address.
Step 3. Cut Strips
I like to use a single piece of PVC and cut slits into it, keeping one end together. You can see this in the video I made on how to make the strip curtain for a dog house. Doing it this way ensures a better mounting strength than if you were to cut and mount strips individually. Make two layers of pieces. Cut the slits so that the strips on one sheet will overlap the layer underneath ½ way. The easy way to do this is to cut one set and then use it as a template to mark the next piece.
Mark the layer at the center of each strip, so the slits on the second strip curtain are halfway along with the previous layer. Make sure each layer of PVC is wider than the actual doorway size you measured on the dog house. A decent overlap is a good idea. I usually like to overlap by an inch per side. In metric, it would be about 2 centimeters that I make the strip overlap on each side.
Step 4. Cut The Mount Bar
The bar, piece of wood, or in the case of my dog house, a part of vinyl weatherstrip, should be cut to a length equal to the width of the strip curtains. As mentioned, this should be wider than the doorway.
A piece of crown molding can look nice too, especially if you frame the doorway with it and pin the PVC strip between it and the dog house doorway.
Step 5. Drill The Mount Bar and Strip Curtain
Drill the strip curtain mounting bar, so you don’t crack or break it (depending on what material it is, if wood it could crack). Start your screws in the holes enough to hold the mounting bar to the strips.
Mark these holes which are on the mounting bar by pressing the mounting bar in position on the dog house. Place it on the dog house, above the doorway, and mark the locations. Drill on the dog house where you have marked. Therefore, your wood will not split.
Step 6. Mount The Strip Curtain
Placing the strip curtain on the dog house, lining up the pre-drilled holes, position the mounting bar against the strip curtain. Using your mounting screws, insert the screws into the pre-drilled holes, and fasten them. However, this should sandwich the PVC strip curtain between the dog house and the mounting bar.
Step 7. Finishing Touches
If you used wood or metal that rusts as your mounting bar, be sure to stain/paint it. You want to prevent rot and rust for the longevity of your dog house.
And you’re all done! That’s it! Therefore, the last part is to train your dog. They have to push their way through the curtain. And they must learn this to enter and exit the dog house. Take a bit of time and some patience. Your dog might be a little weird about it at first. Use some treats to entice them through. Once you’ve done that a few times, they’ll get the hang of it.
Dog House FAQ
Need A Dog House?
I will always recommend you build your own. And I’ve got the plans to do it. Did I mention they are FREE?
I hope you enjoy the video I made to accompany these instructions. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.
Dog House Accessories
More Dog House DIY Articles:
- Dog House Fundamentals
- Doggy Home Types And Considerations When Buying
- What Size Dog House You Need Determined
- Dog House Size Charts – 440 breeds with recommended minimum sizes for your dog house, including doorway size and floor space.
- Making a wood plank dog house – the video and article
- Wood plank, dog house plans – free for you and all
- Wood Materials for building your dog house – Know which woods are wicked for your dog and which are safe.
- Best Solutions For How To Insulate A Dog House Cheap
- Dog House Building Materials Basics
- Roof Guide – Roof Types, Roof Materials And More!
- The Best Dog House Solar Projects
- Dog House Air Conditioner Guide
- 10 Best Dog House Door Ideas
Dog House Video Channel
- Mobile Dog House – Dog House Reno – Episode 1 – Enter The Mobile Dog House – How to install a set of wheels on your dog house to make it mobile.
- Insulating a Dog House – Dog House Reno – Episode 2 – Insulating a Dog House – How to install a double layer of insulation and an all-weather carpet to make the dog house warm and cozy for your dog.
- Strip Curtain Dog House Door – Dog House Reno – Episode 3 – Making a Strip Curtain Dog House Door – How to make a double layer strip curtain for your dog house door and install it.
Consider Reading These Articles As well
- Great Common Plants Safe For Dogs And Some That Aren’t
- 25 Best Dog Breeds For Outside Life
- Dog History With Humans
- A Perfect ‘Green’ Garden Dog House And Dog House Landscape
- Dog House Reno – Enter The Mobile Dog House
- The Top Dog House Types For Each Climate
- Dog House Designs