Building a Doghouse Step by Step
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Drill pilot holes, then screw the rafters temporarily to the ends of the ridge beam with 3-inch outdoor screws. Test-fit the resulting roof frame on the wall frame, and mark where the rafters fit over the wall frame, as you’ll need to cut notches there. (The speed square will help you with the exact angles.) Unscrew the frame and cut the notches with a jigsaw or handsaw. Reassemble the roof frame with the screws, and then nail it to the top frame with 12d nails, or screw it in place with 3-inch outdoor screws.
4. Add the walls: Lay out the wall panels on the plywood, taking actual dimensions from the frame itself. Cut and install the sides first, then measure, cut and install the front and back (the gable ends). Note that the ends overlap the sides. All four pieces need to overhang the base by 11/2 inches. Fasten the siding to the wall framing and base with 4d galvanized nails or 11/2-inch outdoor screws.
Lay out and cut a door opening in one of the ends before you install it, sizing it to your dog. (An opening that’s a hair small will retain heat better than one that’s too big. Don’t worry, your dog will get in.) To draw the top for a round-top door, make a string compass. Cut the opening with a jigsaw fitted with a coarse woodcutting blade. After this end is installed, fill in the door bottom with a piece of 1-by-2, as shown in the drawing. This adds a bit of threshold and makes for a neat appearance. Use a power drill and a hole saw to make the optional 2-inch vent holes. Finish by cutting 1-by-2 trim to hide the corners where the plywood walls meet, and run it along the tops of the gables as well (see Image 3 and Image 4). Caulk the plywood corner seams before you nail the 1-by-2s in place; use 4d nails to attach the trim pieces.
5. Roof the house: Lay out and attach the plywood roof the same way you did the walls. Butt the pieces at the ridge, and make sure the roof overhangs the rafter ends by 2 inches on each side and 4 inches at each gable end. Add more insulation if you like: Use construction adhesive to glue rigid insulation inside the roof panels before you install them. With a hacksaw, cut the aluminum drip edge that will protect the plywood edges. Attach it to the roof with aluminum roofing nails. With a utility knife, cut strips of builder’s paper to fit across the roof, making them long enough to cover the drip edges. Install the paper with a staple gun, starting at the bottom of the roof and working up. When you add a new piece, overlap the lower one by 2 or 3 inches. Finally, cut and install the shingles, staggering the seams and attaching them with aluminum roofing nails. Stain or paint the doghouse, or leave it plain. Now you can call your dog! /G