I am also open to bids from local roofing companies.
September 28, 2012 1:18 PM   Subscribe

I need help with sourcing unusual building materials for my DIY doghouse that looks like my ridiculous-looking house.

I am missing three key parts. Cost & effort are not really an huge deal as I'm already heavily invested in the project.

1. A way to replicate the corrugated metal siding strip on our house (what is now painted silver on the doghouse - 7"H x 60"W). I have tried train models (much too small, too easy to damage) and considered styrene model sheets, which is available locally (can't really paint it to look sufficiently metal-like - or can I?). I could also try crimping my own foil, but the only sufficiently wide crimpers look much too flimsy to corrugate anything thicker than household aluminum foil, and that won't do.

2. The little porch area in front of the door. The real one is exposed aggregate, and I would love to get something that is the real thing but will also settle for rubber or other material tiles that look like exposed aggregate. If I get an exposed-aggregate-like paver stone (where can I get one?), how can I cut it to size with, say, a circular saw? Any alternatives?

3. There is currently no roof (well, sealed, primed, enameled plywood). The roof on my house is a standing seam panel metal roof. The ones sold in hardware stores are giant and would not look good anyway, on what is a fairly complicated roof (scroll down album for image of three separate parts). I wouldn't be able to cut them to size anyway. What can I do here that most resembles the look and materials on my house?


Also, ideas for what to actually do with the doghouse, considering that my dog is very much an indoor dog, are welcome.
posted by halogen to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (21 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
For the porch, I would cast it - it's an easy square mold, then mix together basic plaster of Paris with vermiculite (common soil additive, look near gardening supplies) for a mini-aggregate look. A little bit of color (paint or dye) would replicate the gray tone of your concrete. Once it is dry, you can sand down the top layer to a super-smooth finish.

(That doghouse is hilarious and I love the fact that you've committed so fully to it. Just keep it in your yard as a mini-me house - your house's pet house? - even if your dog doesn't use it. Everyone passing by will smile.)
posted by ella wren at 1:29 PM on September 28, 2012 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Would plaster of Paris be sufficiently weatherproof to be left outside?
posted by halogen at 1:35 PM on September 28, 2012

I don't know the answer to the material question but I love your doghouse.
posted by cairnoflore at 1:46 PM on September 28, 2012 [7 favorites]

You could use the styrene model sheets and layer heavy-duty food service grade aluminum foil over them (something like this), then seal with some kind of clear sealant or varnish.

It's hard to tell exactly what shape the corrugation (is that a word?) is on your house. Is it round? Pointy? This pleated window shade might work. You could harden it by painting or spraying with some kind of varnish, and then layer aluminum foil on it and seal.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 1:54 PM on September 28, 2012

Response by poster: Yes, round/smooth/wavy.

I looked at honeycomb window shades in the local hardware store, but didn't find anything that seemed like it would work well. I also bought a wide flexible HVAC pipe which I thought I could unfold, but it cannot be straightened.
posted by halogen at 1:57 PM on September 28, 2012

Response by poster: Actually, it's not that wavy – more pointy. But it doesn't matter too much. How would one go about hardening and coating a honeycomb window shade?
posted by halogen at 1:59 PM on September 28, 2012

I don't know anything about building, but if you put your dog's toys and blankies in there and give him treats when he goes inside, he'll probably get the picture and make it his own. You might want to try feeding him in there too.
posted by radioamy at 2:04 PM on September 28, 2012

Amazon has corrugated plastic sheets that'll work. They're for model building but I made a small backsplash out of them. Try brand names plastruct and evergreen scale models.
posted by fshgrl at 2:06 PM on September 28, 2012

For the roof, what came to mind is aluminum siding with some ridged metal weather stripping. They do make metal for shed roofs and things like that but maybe you could imitate it using siding or things from the gutter department.

Here's a tutorial on crimping. He's got more. That's got to be sturdier than a window shade.

If you get it done soon, you can enter it in the Barkitecture contest. Or one near you...
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 2:06 PM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

I was looking at plastic faux-tin kitchen backsplash tiles, hoping to fine something pinstripe-grooved, but this is the closest I could find. (it comes "nickel" as well as "bronze").
posted by aimedwander at 2:08 PM on September 28, 2012

For the corrugated metal, can you make a form by gluing a row of properly-scaled dowels together and then using a tool (pipe?) to press heavy aluminum foil (maybe salvaged from aluminum foil cookie sheets) into the grooves?
posted by carmicha at 2:11 PM on September 28, 2012

Let me amend that: glue half dowels (round or pointy) onto a board to make the form.
posted by carmicha at 2:13 PM on September 28, 2012

Plaster of Paris would be too soft to leave outside, but there are various grades in between plaster and concrete. Your local paint store (or paint department at the hardware store) should be able to help out. But, really, concrete is just a hard plaster. Go spend $2.50 on a sack of ready-mix, toss in some stones that are slightly larger, polish it as ella wren suggested above (or let it harden for half an hour, to an hour) wet the top, hit it with a rag to take off some of the concrete an expose the rocks a little bit more. That sack of concrete will give enough material for several passes at it 'til you get it right.

For the corrugated... I'd be either looking towards a way to bend it out of aluminum flashing, or use a router to cut grooves in a plywood, fill it with a plaster or hard putty, and paint it with a metallic silver paint.
posted by straw at 2:33 PM on September 28, 2012

This might work - single faced corrugated plastic sheeting (scroll down to see the picture); I am not sure the scale is right though.

Krylon Fusion metallic spray paint for plastic comes in an aluminum-y color too, I think.

Maybe you could get a bonsai dogwood to put on top of it?

I love the house and the doghouse - what a great project!
posted by faineant at 3:11 PM on September 28, 2012

You can spray paint the plastic corrugated stuff to look almost exactly like metal btw.
posted by fshgrl at 3:31 PM on September 28, 2012

Buy a few of these washboards.
posted by HuronBob at 3:36 PM on September 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

Take your photos to a sheet metal shop and provide measurements - they can duplicate the standing seam crimps at any scale you request for a nominal price. It's like custom made gutters and downspouts (which they bend on-site during installation) and not really expensive. They probably will also have a rotary crimper which will produce the corrugated in one pass at that width.

Superb doghouse, by the way.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 7:31 PM on September 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

Seconding the sheet metal suggestion. My family was in sheet metal, and got off-the-wall requests like this quite frequently. They loved working on these type of projects (I guess it was more interesting than yet another gutter job). If you really want it to match, take a small sample of the real metal to the shop with you -- they may be able to match the color (different lots of sheet metal have different colors, just like dye lots of yarn).

That dog house (and your real house) are amazing.
posted by OrangeDisk at 7:54 PM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

A little labor-intensive but relatively cheap... for the corrugated metal, a router with some appropriate wood. Someone else already said it, but I wanted to point it out in more detail.

There's a wide variety of router bits available, especially if you try Rockler or other similar shops. You would probably want to make a jig to help you keep it all aligned. Basically, you figure out the scale at which you need the corrugations, make precise marks along your material at that interval, and have a precise mark on your jig. Every time you make a cut with the router, you advance the material to the next mark. You end up with very even looking finished material. It's easier to have excess material and cut it to size once you're done with a table saw.

For the metal look, use a quality SPRAY PAINT primer compatible with wood, and then pick out a good Rustoleum product (even if not strictly designed for wood). It'll look awesome if done right, and it has the potential for lots of durability compared to some of the other suggestions.
posted by jgreco at 8:55 PM on September 28, 2012

I would live in your doghouse.
posted by imjustsaying at 2:31 AM on September 29, 2012 [3 favorites]

To match your corrogated metal siding try Lysaght mini -orb if its available where you are. The corrogations are 6mm deep if that's in proportion to your kennel.

I have seen this used is all sorts of cool places - as a shower screen instead of tiles, on ceilings, as actual cladding.


It is lovely to see a house that has the cladding in a vertical direction. It is cheaper to install horizontally - but then dust and dist accumulates.
posted by insomniax at 7:37 PM on October 1, 2012

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