How To Build A DIY Insulated Dog House

Thinking about building your own DIY insulated dog house? Check out this DIY project where I build an insulated outdoor house for my dogs!

Find the plans to build your own insulated dog house!! Also check out this other DIY dog house design I have with a roof that opens up for easy cleaning access. 

When my dogs aren’t with me in the shop, they are hanging out on the wrap around porch which has plenty of shade, is out of the rain, and always has a great breeze. During the summer it’s awesome because they stay cool but during the winter it’s hard for them to get warm. So this week I built them a dog house with the purpose of giving all three of them a place to get away from the wind and snuggle up. Let me show you how I did it. 

This will be an insulted dog house so instead of going with my first instinct which was a plywood body, I went with more of a framing design made from 2x4s ripped in half. I first sent the 2x4s through my table saw to take off the rounded edges on both sides, then readjusted the fence and cut them directly in half. 

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After getting them cut to width I then cut everything to length at the miter saw

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I started by constructing what will be the two sides, coming up a few inches on a few pieces to give the house some small feet and get it up off the ground. Again, mine will be under a porch and should be kept dry but just incase. 

I’ll be using pocket holes to join things together.

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After getting all the pocket holes drilled, I started attaching things. 

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After getting one side assembled, I repeated the process to create another. Next I started working on the front panel, first cutting everything to size, drilling in pocket holes, then gluing and screwing it in place. This design is very easy to adjust depending on your size of dog. Since I have three and they all like to snuggle up together, I made this one long enough to fit three of their beds but still give them room to get around one another. 

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After getting the door in place, I thought I should double check to see if they could comfortably fit. With that test passed, I moved on to attaching the back panel. Moving things to the floor to have more working room. 

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Build your own with my set of insulated dog house plans. Plans come with dimensions, a material shopping list, and build steps. 

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Next up was a floor, but before putting in the decking material I threw in some insulation. This comes in a big 4×8 sheet and is 3/4” thick. Since my framing is 1 1/2” thick I cut two panels per opening and doubled filled up the cavity. I would use a straight edge and a box blade or my pocket knife to cut it out, then stuck it in place. 

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Once the bottom was full I measured and cut some plywood to deck it. I ended up cutting this piece in half to make getting it into place a little easier and I just made sure to cut it in the center so I could join the seam to the floor joist. 

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And now more insulation for the walls! To make this step easier I would cheat and set the panel directly on top of the foam then just trace the shape I was needing. If you’re working alone, you can set the insulation on the floor so you have less travel distance to move the entire house.

I would line one of the straight edges up to the edge of the insulation then trace the rest, cut it then stick it in place. I was originally thinking I would need to glue these panels in place but the friction fit was so snug I skipped the glue all together. Oh and just a reminder this insulation has foil backing on both sides so if you want to use your table saw to cut it down, and have a SawStop then just be sure to put it in bypass mode or it will tip right away. 

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The set in place and tracing method worked so well I next repeated it for the siding! For the siding I’m going with beadboard. This stuff is a huge pain to paint but it does give it some good texture and it’s pretty lightweight, only being 3/8” thick. As you can see I dragged the full sheet over to my work area, then set flipped around the house in order to trace all the sides. If you do this of course just make sure a horizontal reference is squared up to the headboard so your panel doesn’t come out wonky looking. 

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After getting the sides traced I used my tracksaw to cut all the shapes out then Titebond III and brad nails to stick it in place. I started by attaching the two side panels so that when I cut and attached the front and back, the edges of the side panels would be covered up.

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On the front panel, I went ahead and covered up the opening to the dog house with the bead board, but then after getting it secured in place I used a large drill bit to punch a hole through. Then I used a router and a flush trim bit to perfectly cut out the opening. If you don’t have a router then you can also use a jigsaw or even a reciprocating saw to do this. 

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Now moving on to the roof. Since the dog opening is muuuuch smaller than me, I wanted to make the roof into an access panel to the inside so I decided to make it hinged. This will allow me to easily grab the beds to wash, check for snacks, or anything else. I decided to use the left over beadboard I had from the siding to create this roof and also decided to split it into two doors instead of just a single. This is fine for mine since it will live under a covered porch but if you plan to place your house in the rain then keep it as a single panel so rain won’t drip through the seam. 

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Before attaching things, I set the roof panels aside and gave everything a coat of paint. Like I said before, beadboard is not fun to paint because it takes two forms of application. I would first use a roller to get all the flat surfaces, but then used a brush to get into all the valleys. Looking back on it, I should have used my sprayer, that would have saved me a ton of time, but oh well. For the body I am going with a grey and while it was drying, I also grabbed what will be the trim boards and threw a coat of paint onto them as well to be drying. Instead of white, I’m going with a light grey. 

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While those were drying, I started attaching the roof panels. I started by centering and squaring up the panels to the body. Once I had it just so, I used a pencil to trace the underside of the panels. This line indicates the outside of the body, but since I want to also insulate the roof I needed to know where the inside of the body fell on these panels.

With the framing being 1 1/2” thick, I grab something that was 2” thick, which just happened to be a level, and used this to mark the inside line. Now that I had this reference I could measure the area inside and cut a piece of insulation to size. To attach these panels Im’ using a multi surface glue made by Titebond called Thick and Quick. Since I could use brads to hold it in place while that dried, I grabbed an assortment of tools and just weighted it down for a bit. 

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While that was setting up to dry I started working on the trim. I ripped down my 1x boards I had painted earlier then started cutting them to length and attaching them. Glue doesn’t stick very well to painted surfaces so learn from my mistake and leave the top edge of your body unpainted to give you a clean surface to glue to. 

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I’m again starting on the edges of the house so that the front and back trim will cover up the end grain of the side trim. I also always cheat on trim. Instead of measuring and cutting I typically just hold the board in place and mark the back side. 

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By this time the insulation was well past stuck in place so I first attached a portion of paino hinge to the underside then crawled inside the house and attached it to the body. And I should have seen it coming but to be honest I didn’t think about it when I was working the design….but the door actually has a built in stop with the overhang on the back end. So that’s convient. : ) 

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Nice, that works nicely. After getting one secure, I repeated on the second. I used the Tounge and groove feature of the beadboard to make the seam in the middle disappear. This is great except when I tried to lift up one without the other, it was running into each other and prevented it. To fix this issue I grabbed my multi tool and just notched out a small portion in the back so that I could open one and give it clearance to pass up the other. There we go, now it’s working correctly. 

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Next I did all the finish painting to the inside, the underside of the roof, and any other exposed wood. Now when I was trimming around the door I left the top piece of trim long so I could hang something cute and special.

I used my CNC machine to cut out a cut little paw print and instead of just glueing this to the side, I instead added a small hook to the overhung trim and the paw so that I could hang it and there would be a slight swing to it. Hehe, I think the dogs will appreciate the marking. 

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I thought I was done but the roof was really bothering me with how thin it looked compared to everything else. So I ended up ripping some 1/2” plywood and adding a small strip around the perimeter of the underside of the roof. This just bulks up the look some and I think makes it looks better. 

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And that’s it! Now the pups have a place they can crawl inside to get out of the wind that’s always present on our hill. They can all be together which will make them happy, but still have room to get around one another. Also, I have a way to peak in at them to make sure they aren’t staying up late and ordering pizza. 

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So a few followers on my Instagram page were mentioning their dogs would tear up the exposed insulation on the inside. Mine don’t chew or scratch things up, but if yours do then I would certainly recommend adding a layer of thin sheeting to the inside as well. Don’t forget I have a set of plans for this dog house build.

That’s it for this one, I hope you enjoyed it!

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