Galvanized floor?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by bills, Jan 4, 2008.

  1. bills

    bills Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi Folks, I am just getting so excited about getting chickens, and it's been great to find this forum, as it has tons of info that I have been looking for.

    My coop is a slant roof 6'x8', that is sitting on treated 4'x4''s which are in turn sitting on cement blocks. I figured this height would prevent rats from creating a nest under the flooring. After reading about chickens laying eggs under the coop on one of the threads, I think I may have to put chicken wire around the bottoms to keep the chickens out, from under it. [​IMG]

    The floor is plywood now, but I got to thinking that if I screwed some galvanized metal on it, and bent it up an inch or so around the perimeter of the walls, it would be water tight, (so plywood doesn't rot) rat proof, and easy to clean/scrape. After scraping out the litter I could gently hose it down, and squeegee the water out the door. (I guess this will entail a lift out sill board)

    Now I haven't seen a thread about using this type of flooring, and wondered if I was the first to think of it, or can it cause problems for the birds? I doubt they could eat the galvanizing, unless they did some pretty serious scratching.

    What do you think?
     
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    My first thought is that over time of use and scraping, scratching, pecking and walking, the galvanizing will wear off and you'd have a rusty floor, a cold rusty floor at that. I have heard of people using laminate flooring though. But not sure how long that lasts either.
     
  3. Picco

    Picco Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My brooder is made from a galvanized box and has lasted 5 years. I sometimes use it for broodies, but is mainly for chicks. I haven't seen any problems with the floor caused by the chickens, but I housed a sick rabbit in the brooder for a couple months and the floor rusted a little. I think because of the salt in the rabbit urine. Since chickens are dry and their diet is relatively salt free I don't see the floor corroding anytime soon, but it could be a problem down the road. Its a good idea to keep rats out and make it easy to clean. I don't think scratching will become an issue if there is enough bedding in there. I clean my brooder by filling it with water and bleach, it works great. There is a product out there that re-galvanizes using a spray or you could just use rustoleum paint if corrosion appears.
     
  4. bills

    bills Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the suggestions, and potential problems![​IMG]

    I could perhaps see it rusting over a "very" long time, and then as mentioned, it could be painted with a good rust paint. As far as the cold, I can't see it being a problem with a good deep litter built up in time for the winter months. The existing plywood floor should help keep out some of the cold as well. I suppose if the cold becomes an issue, I could insulate under the floor, with some ridgid insulation.

    My biggest fear was rats chewing through the floor, and the thought that plywood over time would need replacing as it may tend to rot. Cleaning I figured would be easier as well.

    I guess I better make up my mind pretty quick, as I can't build the drop box, and roosts, or mount the nests, etc. until the floor idea is settled on. Price may play a factor as well, as I haven't priced out the sheets of galvanized yet. I suppose alluminum shetting would solve the rust problems, but I fear the cost factor could be even worse...
     
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    I really dunno about '"very" long time'Once the galvanization gets scratched, which if you are walking around on it and raking and suchlike I expect it will do pretty soon, it does not take long at ALL for rust to set in. Once the rust starts in little dings and scratches it will spread, and honestly I would not expect a casual coat of Rustoleum to do all that much good (especially on a floor, where dampness tends to settle, where the litter will hold the dampness against the floor, and where your walking/raking/etc will tend to damage the paint coat).

    If you want to make a more or less waterproof floor I don't see why not use sheet vinyl.

    If predatorproofing is really an issue, put hardwarecloth on the *outside* of the floor, underneath the plywood. If you can no longer slide under there, run hardware cloth on the sides of the 'crawl space' and into the ground (might use pavers or aluminum flashing underground a ways) to keep vermin out from under the coop altogether. But otherwise I wouldn't bother, myself.

    Good luck,

    Pat
     
  6. bills

    bills Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Patandchickens, you raise a good point, that I had not thought of. The scraping of the floor during cleaning may cause the rust to start as you suggest. As I have to enclose the access to the underside of the coop anyways, so the chickens don't end up laying under it, perhaps I would be wasting money using the tin sheeting.

    Vinyl would still solve the ease of cleaning, and perhaps if I was to caulk around the edge of it, moisture wouldn't penetrate through to the plywood, and prevent the rotting.

    I suppose rotting take place regardless, as moisture and wood seem to come togeather eventually, no matter what you do. How long can one expect a floor to last before rotting, plain plywood,vs vinyl covered?
     
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:Unfortunately I think that question is kind of like "how long is a piece of string?" [​IMG] How wet will the floor get how often and for how long?

    For whatever it's worth, my own preference would be to take a different approach. I have grown to believe that for structures intended to last a long time, if you can't predict or prevent (beyond a certain point) damage from weather or aging, then whatcha need to do is PLAN for it. Engineer the structure so that repairing/replacing parts of it is as easy as possible and does not require ripping apart the entire kit and kaboodle. So, like, do not bury water lines under cement floors, or create inaccessible spaces, or cover vulnerable pieces with expensive or hard-to-move installations [​IMG] I know this is a sort of heretical concept in this age of unrepairable 'no user serviceable parts inside' consumer articles [​IMG] but it really does make life easier. All it takes is extra forethought.

    So, if it is not too late, it might be good to ensure that the plywood floor sits *next to*, not underneath, the wall studs. This requires a couple extra pieces of wood and a little trim or caulk (depending exactly how you do it) but that's not such a big deal when it means that if you *do* get rot problems you can swap in a new plywood floor without much trouble. (If the floor is aready built, as long as you catch any rot *early*, it should be fine just to layer new plywood over the old after drying it out and maybe painting it. If it's ever needed.)

    As for whether to cover the floor with vinyl or leave it bare, I would not personally 'vinylize' it if I ever meant to go hosing the coop out or letting waterers or roofs leak. Otherwise I might, although I personally have trouble keeping litter from developing slippery bare spots on vinyl.

    Good luck either way,

    Pat, with vinyl over (old, slightly rotting) plywood over concrete, but only because what I'm using as a coop was originally constructed as a dog kennel building.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2008
  8. Flufnstuffs~FluffySilkies

    Flufnstuffs~FluffySilkies Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    NY
    Hi,
    My first thought is why would you be concerned with rats.
    We live in the country and I have never seen a rat in 20 years. Do you live where you may have a problem before you even start???
    Maybe a grain building, pig farm or even a dump near by????

    Rats may just be a fear of your that will never come true.

    We make sure all our feed is stored in Metal cans. And
    I keep mice traps set in my buildings. and I do set the big
    Rat Traps because sometimes I get nasty mean red squirls.

    I also have hava heart traps that I can set if I see signs of any other preditors
     

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