Dog House Buyer's Guide

Dog House Roofs

Most dog owners probably don't give much thought to the type of roof on their pet's house but, there's more to it than you probably realize.  For example, what is the advantage/disadvantage of a flat roof versus a peaked roof?

Are wooden shingles better than asphalt shingles? Are metal roofs appropriate for a doghouse?

Here is an overview of dog house roofs including the basic roof styles and the materials used to cover roofs.

Roof Type - Pitched, Single Panel, or Loft

The type of roof you choose is both a style and function decision. Wooden dog houses generally come with either: 1)  the classic pitched roof (aka, the Snoopy) made from two panels joined together to form a peak, or 2) the single panel roof, typically with a gentle slope from the front to the back of the house.

A pitched roof makes a dog house look more "house like" but it also creates extra space to heat during cold weather. This could be an important consideration if you live in an area with cold winters and don't plan on heating the house.  However, you could add an inner ceiling to the house to make the house snugger; if the roof is removable, it shouldn't be too hard to create a plywood ceiling insert. This insert could be removed during the hot summer to improve airflow and provide an area  for the hot air to rise into.

A single panel roof allows for a more compact dog house -- which is a good thing during cold weather. Another nice thing is that it provides a ready-made sun deck / look-out platform for your dog. A convenient place to howl at the moon. A panel roof also has fewer nooks and crannies than a pitched roof so hornets and wasps are less likely to establish a residence.

A third type of dog house roof is the loft or sun deck style roof, which is usually a single or double panel roof with an attached wooden platform on top. In some cases, the loft and the roof are one and the same -- essentially a flat roof with a railing around the perimeter. This isn't the best design in terms of shedding water so a house with such a roof is a good candidate for indoor use or outside use under shelter.

Regardless of the type of roof on the house, it's very convenient if the roof is removable so you can easily gain access to the inside of the house for cleaning and maintenance. A hinged roof is especially nice.

Roof Covering

Your buying decision should factor in the type of protective covering on the roof. The main choices here are asphalt shingles, wood (shingles, plywood, boards), metal, or plain old tar paper.

Asphalt shingles are ok as long as there's adequate insulation to keep the heat absorbed by the shingles from seeping into the interior of the house. They hold up well over time, look good on certain styles of houses, and don't require repainting or staining.

Some of the most attractive dog houses feature a pitched roof with wood shingles. The best of these use a decay resistant wood such as cedar or redwood for the shingles. The advantage of a wood roof is that wood has very good insulating properties and minimizes heat build-up in the interior of the house. Other materials such as asphalt shingles require more insulation to achieve the same effect.

Metal roofs are fairly uncommon on commercial dog houses but they do a good job of shedding rain and snow. There's a reason why a lot of cabins in snow country have metal roofs... Metal roofs don't offer much in the way of insulation so if you buy a dog house with a metal roof,  make sure it comes with interior insulation. 

The cheapest houses have exposed plywood roofs with no protective covering other than paint or stain, or perhaps tar paper. Such roofs can last quite a while as long as you maintain them. But, who likes doing extra maintenance? You're better served getting a house that comes with a decent roof covering.

If you're thinking of purchasing a dog house with a flat panel roof, keep in mind that your dog may adopt the roof as his personal sun deck.  This means the roofing material is likely to be subjected to scratching and chewing. You might see if heavy duty shingles (asphalt or wood) are an option.


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