Project Guide

How to Build a Dog House

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Frame the Base
A frame of a dog house on the ground
  • To build this custom dog house design, cut three 2- x 4-inch studs to 5 feet in length, and two 2- x 4-inch studs to 4 feet.
  • Frame a box with one board as a center support to create a 48-inch wide x 63-inch long base to attach the floorboards on top using a hammer and 3-inch galvanized nails.
Attach the Platform Floor
A person attaching a platform to the base of a dog house
  • Cut 11 1- x 6-inch lumber boards 48 inches long.
  • Use the 3-inch galvanized nails to nail in the two end floor boards first, and then evenly space the rest of the floor boards about 1/4-inch apart.
Frame the House Side Walls
A person building the walls of a dog house
  • Since this house needs no rafters, pitch the side wall top plates to match the roof pitch. Do this by cutting the wall studs at an angle.
  • Cut four 2- x 3-inch pieces each 39 inches long for the top and bottom plates. 
  • Set your circular saw to 18.5 degrees, then use a tape measure to measure out and mark a 2- x 3-inch stud at 2 feet.
  • Cut this stud so that the 18.5 degrees extends, rather than reduces, the length of the stud.
  • Repeat this twice so you have three left-side angled wall studs. For the three right side studs, repeat as above but mark the initial length at 3 feet.
  • Assemble the walls with 3-inch box nails through the top and bottom plates. The third wall stud should be centered.
  • Set the left side wall frame on the platform along the left rear edge and nail it in through the base plate with 3-inch nails.
  • Cut one 2- x 3-inch piece 31 inches long and set it along the back platform edge. This represents the rear wall length.
  • Set the right wall against this board and measure the front edge so it also sits 31 inches in from the left wall. Nail this right wall onto the platform using 3-inch nails.
Frame the Front And Back Walls
A dog house frame with the front and back complete
  • Cut two 2- x 3-inch pieces 8 1/2-inches long to serve as the front bottom plates on either side of the door, which is an opening 14-inches wide.
  • Rather than measure the studs and top plates, mark the lengths and angles by holding a roughly 33-inch top plate in place between the side walls and setting the studs in place one at a time.
  • You will need studs at each end, one in the back wall centered, and two framing the doorway in the front for a total of seven.
  • Assemble the wall frames and nail them both to the platform as well as the side wall studs using 3-inch galvanized nails.
Cut the Siding
A person constructing the siding of a dog house
  • Cut the siding into three pieces 41-inches square and one at 41- x 29- inches.
  • Set the front piece in place and mark the outside edges.
  • Also mark the doorway cutout against the studs. You can make the height any dimension you want, but follow the roofline angle for your cutout.
  • Nail the siding in with 2-inch galvanized nails and repeat with the other three walls.
  • As an option, you can cut leftover siding into corner strip accents as shown in this picture.
Create the Overhang Roof Edges
A person attaching the roof edges of a dog house
  • Cut 1 -x 6-inch boards to create a 2-inch overhang roof edge on all sides and nail these boards to the top plates.
  • Cut the plywood into a 4-foot square and set it on top of the roof edging.
  • Scribe the actual size and cut the lines to fit.
  • Nail in the plywood roof with 2-inch galvanized nails.
Cut Drip Edge And Install Shingles
Shingles and a hammer on the roof of a dog house
  • Set, mark and cut drip edge to length and nail into place along the roof perimeter, starting at the left wall and working your way up.
  • Install the shingles, using a starter strip along the left wall edge.
  • Use the utility knife to trim the shingles to fit.
  • Always work up from the lowest roof edge.
Assemble the Roof Frame
A partially assembled roof frame on a dog house
  • To make the perimeter upper deck frame, cut 2- x 2-inch boards to match the outside edges of the roof and assemble the frame with a drill and 3-inch deck screws.
  • Cut two 16- x 2- x 2-inch deck support pieces.
  • Set the frame on the roof. Bring the low end up to level and use a piece of scrap wood to prop it in place.
  • Set and mark the final height of the supports as they sit vertically on the roof extending up to the inside corner of the frame.
  • Cut and screw these supports into the frame.
  • Screw the supports into the roof on the low side, and the frame directly onto the roof on the high side. Remove the scrap piece.
Secure Boards to Deck Frame
Deck boards on the frame of a dog house
  • Cut ten 1- x 4-inch boards to length front to back, space them evenly and screw them onto the deck perimeter frame.
  • Cut 22 9- x 2- x 2-inch baluster pieces for the railing.
  • Screw in five on each of the front, back and left sides, evenly spaced on the outside of the decking.
  • Using 2- x 2-inch boards, make a 12- x 18-inch box to serve as the stair landing. 
  • Attach this with screws to the right rear side of the platform.
  • Use a roughly 3-foot piece of 2- x 4-inch board left over from the platform to construct a prop column running vertically from the right rear platform corner up to the landing.
  • Cut five 1- x 4-inch boards 12 inches long to finish the deck. Now, attach the remaining balusters and cut 2- x 2-inch railings to fit the entire perimeter.
Construct the Ladder
A dog going down the ladder of a dog house deck
  • The ladder is built from 1- x 6-inch boards.
  • Cut one end of a 1- x 8-inch board at a 45-degree angle.
  • Set it on the platform edge near the front and write down the corresponding length that reaches the landing. It should be about 5 feet long at 45 degrees. 
  • Now, make a duplicate so you have two identical stair stringers.
  • Each stair tread is 9 inches wide and set at a 45-degree angle so they become level when the ladder is installed.
  • We used six treads in this project, but for smaller dogs you may want to make more.
  • Attach one tread at the very top and bottom and space the rest evenly up the ladder. Set it in place and screw it into both the landing and the platform.

Don't worry if you don't own all of the tools needed to complete this DIY project. Rent tools and trucks for any project at The Home Depot.