thickness of plywood/other materials?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Moselle, Jan 23, 2008.

  1. Moselle

    Moselle Songster

    Jan 17, 2008
    How thick should the walls of a henhouse be? Is 1" necessary? (I live in TN and our winters are pretty mild. Heat/humidity will be our main issue.)

    Do you prefer plywood or or some other composite material?

    I am planning a sloped roof that is hinged so it can be opened. What material should that be? I will probably shingle it or use something like that, although I don't want it too heavy to open.

  2. unionwirewoman

    unionwirewoman Songster

    Sep 14, 2007
    Kalispell , MT
    I think 1" plywood is a little bit of an over kill . I would use 7/16 " or 5/8" plywood . Don't use OSB or particle board . Both warp pretty bad after awhile and tend to fall apart when they get wet over time . If you use plywood make sure to seal it with paint or the equivalent . Shingles would work good or tin roofing . These are just my opinions , others might offer better/different advice . Good luck ![​IMG]
  3. Gonzo the Great

    Gonzo the Great Songster

    Jan 14, 2008
    Sugar Land, TX
    About to put up my coop too when my chickies are getting older (currently at 4-5 weeks now). I am thinking of framing with PT lumber and then skinning it with .25" plywood and then some paint on the plywood for waterproof. Down here in Houston, I'm wondering about opening up the bottom with hardware cloth for cleaning later when when it gets HOT!!!!
  4. Dawn419

    Dawn419 Lost in the Woods

    Apr 16, 2007
    Evening Shade, AR
    We are building a small coop right now and using 1/2" pressure treated plywood for the walls and floor. I think we used 5/8" plywood for the door. We will be using tin for the roof.

    We are in White Co., TN and this cold that we're dealing with, right now, isn't normal for us.

  5. schmism

    schmism Songster

    Feb 16, 2007
    Peoria IL
    Mine has a stud wall framing (2' OC) for weight bearing. so its just skin to keep the wind/rain/preditors out.

    to that end i used exteror grade T111 5/16 (thats a fuz over 1/4)

    its lightweight and cost effective.

    for a non stud framing design i would use 3/4 ... 5/8 at a min.
  6. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    [​IMG] 1"! If I could afford that. Hutches here are either 5/6 or 1/2.
  7. firechicken

    firechicken Songster

    Jul 11, 2007
    Covington, GA
    Just a little advice on the hinged roof. Make it out of light material!! Mine is framed with 2x4's with 1/2" ply wood and metal roof. It is very heavy!! and awkward, especially with an egg or two in your hands. So go light. Good luck with the coop.
  8. SeaChick

    SeaChick Songster

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    I would recommend that if you're using pressure treated wood, you be sure that it's either totally covered by some siding material or VERY well sealed/painted. The chickens will peck at it and injest the chemicals. Although new PT wood no longer contains arsenic like it did a few years ago, it's still highly toxic and will get into YOU via the eggs. Blech!!!!! (On "certified organic" farms, PT wood is not allowed AT ALL..)
  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Don't use chipboard or whatever - they do not stand up so well to the weather, even if painted, and use up an awful lot of paint if you do. Use exterior-grade plywood. Needn't be a fancy grade, just not *too* snaggly looking (less weatherproof, and paints poorly). Make sure to prime well before painting.

    1/2" ply should be quite sufficient for the walls, or if you don't believe me, go one size thicker [​IMG] My tractor walls are 3/8", and well braced from a construction standpoint... I think they are definitely sturdy enough. The only thing could get in would be a bear, and a bear could rip *anything* apart at the seams irrespective of thickness.

    For the roof, though...

    1) I do not recommend shingling a liftable roof, because shingles weigh a TON. Remember you would be putting them on in basically a double layer (that is how shingling has to be done). They are TOO HEAVY!

    2) shingling also gets you into another problem which is serious for removable roofs: you can't be having nail points sticking out all over the underside of the roof, waiting to scratch you when you lean in or impale the chickens' heads in there. And unless you build a very complicated (thus both fiddly and even heavier still) roof, you WILL have all those protruding nails if you shingle. So, don't shingle.

    (I shingled a removeable-for-storage tractor roof. It turned out TOTALLY impractical, and is currently propped behind an outbuilding, waiting for someday when I sprout a use for a nicely shingled 4x6 roof, grrrr)

    Using tin (in the general sense of the word) over plywood also produces protruding nailheads (actually I's strongly recommend gasketed screws, they'll be more secure) BUT you can limit them to just a couple rows, and if you think the design out aforehand and work accurately, you can 'bury' the screws into battens underneath the roof, so none stick out dangerously.

    Using tin srewed onto a frame of 2x3s would be the lightest weight, and screws will be safely hidden. OTOH it may be hotter in summer, and will not be quite as rigid.

    If that sounds too complicated, consider just priming and painting the heck out of the roof plywood - it will still last a good some years that way.

    Good luck,

    Last edited: Jan 24, 2008

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