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  1. team_realtree

    team_realtree Songster

    Jun 28, 2009
    From the questions I have asked throughout the process of building my chicken coop I would say there are quite a few people on this forum that are knowledgeable on carpentry and home reno. I have an issue as I near the finishing touches of my coop and would love some insight. I have included a picture of the frame of my coop. Everything will be paneled with plywood and the roof will be corrugated steel.


    The sides will be 8 feet long 6 feet high and the ends will be 4 feet wide 6 feet high.

    What I am trying to do is make on of the ends (4x6) actually be hinged and open as the door. The plywood I am using is 1/2 inch. How would I go about doing this? As is right now the plywood would sit right over that end with no overlap or everything. PERFECT! Would the hinge go on the inside? Do i need a 1x3 frame around the edge of the plywood for the hinge to screw into? Or would the hinge have one hinged side on the other wall that butts up to it forming an L.

    Any help you can offer is greatly appreciated!

  2. SillyChicken

    SillyChicken Crowing

    Jan 12, 2010
    Hi Team-realtree (do you hunt too?)

    Your building may be more structrualy sound if you don't use the whole side for the door, maybe a header at the very top (2x4 on edge) would help. Also be careful which side your hinges are on so your roof doesn't block the doors swing.

    The 1x3 trim would help keep your door from warping and would provide a good surface to secure the hinges. Regardless, if you trim it, I'd use nuts and bolts with large washers inside to secure the hinges.

    Thats my take on it (as a licensed contractor).
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2010
  3. gsim

    gsim Songster

    Jun 18, 2009
    East Tennessee
    Agree with silly chicken. I would use a 2x4 frame for door and definitely put hinges outside. No room for door to open inwards. I have an 8 x 16 coop and even so, my door opens outwards. You could nail/glue two triangular pieces of plywood or OSB inside at top of door frame to reinforce it and keep it from racking. Definitely mount the whole coop on 4 legs at least 18" above ground to keep varmints, snakes, rodents from living under it. On a coop that small, I would do a bumpout for the nest box. Pay attention to ventilation at tops of all walls I did 1 sq ft for every 4 chickens of permanent full-time ventilation. Pay attention to how that bumpout will keep water from leaking into coop especially where lid meets wall. Glue linoleum to floor and caulk seams all around. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2010
  4. B'villechicken

    B'villechicken Songster

    Sep 19, 2008
    Syracuse NY Area
    I agree that I would not make the whole width of the coop open up for the reasons stated. Wall space is always precious in a coop and if you made a 2' door you would have almost two feet of space in that one corner to put a feeder etc. so you could reach it from the doorway. I also agree that the door should open out.
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I can see why you want to make the entire end a door. You are going to have to get inside to clean the coop and work in there, although it is not a huge coop. The extra room of the wide door would come in handy. And openingtowards the outside makes it more convenient inside if the door is not in your way.

    I'm not a licensed contractor, more of a rough carpenter. I could show you pictures of just how rough. As SillyChicken said, the building will be more structurally sound if you put a header across the top. I think you would need one at the bottom also, both to help structurally and to have something down there to keep the litter from coming out. The way I read his post, SillyChicken did not say not to do it, just mentioned that the building might be more structurally sound if you build a door frame, then gave you ways to make it better in case you do use the end as a door. I may have read the post wrong?

    A 4' x 6' piece of plywood will warp quite a bit when used as a door unless it is reinforced. In addition to trimming it all along the outside edge, I'd run a diagonal from the bottom corner next to the hinge up to the opposite corner, both to keep it from warping and to keep it from sagging. I know, technically a solid piece of plywood won't "sag" but it will try to sag and that will cause warping. If you put a diagonal in like this, it will be in compression, not tension. If you can get a snug fit against the trim wood, it will be stronger. The diagonal will also help with wind load. A door that big may see a lot of wind load and tend to flex.

    When you are planning the door itself, consider how you are going to attach the hinges and and closure. There are a lot of different styles of hinges and closures. You may find that in adition to the trim all the way around the outside to keep it from warping, you may want to run a couple of horizontals across to tie the hinges into. In that case, my recommended diagonal would run from these "hinge horizontals", not corner to corner of the door. It's probably not necessary, but you might want to put a horizontal on the door for the closure attachment.

    A lot of times, I find that 2x4's are cheaper than any other wood. You might compare the price of 2x4's to other wood when looking for the materials. Just a thought.

    If you do put the door trim on the outside, some of it could make a trap to catch water which will rot it. You'll need to caulk it anyway to keep water from getting behind it. On my window framing, I used my table saw and put a 15 degree or so bevel on the top edge of certain pieces of framing so the water would run off. You can avoid the water trap problem by putting the trim and diagonal on the inside.

    I assume you will be putting a slope on your roof. Otherwise water will pool on it and leak into the coop. Make sure it slopes away from the door and not into your run, as well as not getting in the way of your door swing.

    Good luck with it.
  6. they'reHISchickens

    they'reHISchickens Songster

    Oct 31, 2008
    I double the vote for putting the nest boxes attached outside. It just leaves you that much more room inside for the (growing number of) chickens.
    Also, you WILL need a pop door. I started with a 30 inch dutch door, planning to leave the bottom half open for the chickens. No, rain gets in, wind and cold gets in. I put in the pop door just big enough for the hens- in the bottom half of the door.
    I also second the framing out the door on the end. 4x8 is really a large piece of plywood to hang on hinges without support. It WILL warp. My mini-coop with a 2x4 plywood door ( no framing) has warped. Oops.. It has framing on the inside of the hinge side to support the hinge & door weight. I need to have latches top and bottom to keep it tight.
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    The advantage of making the whole end wall hinged is that you get better access. HOwever the disadvantage is that it will undermine the structural soundness and rigidity of the whole coop, unless you add a good bit of additional diagonal bracing on that end (which cuts into your access).

    I am with the camp that says making a door *within* the wall, it can still be Real Big, just leave a margin of at least 6" on each side and along the top. Frame around the inside of the door opening with 2x2 or 1x2 or 2x4 or whatever seems most appropriate to your coop, so there is something to hinge the door *to* and so there is somethign for it to close positively against and to screw your latch/lock into strongly.

    You CAN make the whole end wall hinged, with extra bracing to substitute for the fact that the wall plywood itself will no longer act as bracing vs racking; but it will never be *as* strong a structure that way IMO, and it is really no harder to do the "large door in wall" approach than to do the whole wall hinged with extra bracing, so I'd go with the former.

    Good luck, have fun,


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