Build a Dog House

Building the Bowser: Floor and Roof

Intro | Walls | Floor and Roof | Finishing and Assembly


The dog house has a raised floor that sits 2-1/2" above ground level. It fits into slots routered into the two side walls which add a little extra structural integrity and make it easier to assemble the house.

To lay out the floor slots, assemble the four walls and run a pencil down each insider corner to mark the side walls. These marks define the length of the slots. Disassemble the house, lay each side wall on the work surface, and draw a line 2-1/2" parallel to the bottom between the two vertical corner lines. This indicates the top of the floor. Draw another line below the first that is offset by the thickness of the plywood, in this case, 5/8". Actually, make it slightly thicker than the plywood - the extra wiggle room will be helpful during assembly.

Using a router with an edge guide, remove the material between the two layout lines extending from corner line to corner line. I didn't cut the slots all the way to the corners and ended up notching out the corners of the floor - not sure why I did this but I suggest cutting from corner to corner.

Cut out two pieces from the 2 x 4 that are 18-3/4" long. Screw them to the underside of the floor, one across the front and one across the back. These pieces will make the floor more sturdy and facilitate assembly.

Rufff, I mean Roof

The roof on the Bowser is designed to be quickly installed or removed thanks to pairs of locking "sliders" positioned near the corners of the roof. Each pair consists of a top slider that attaches to the underside of the panel, and a side slider that attaches to the inside wall of the enclosure. The basic idea is that the roof is placed on top of the walls projecting a few inches forward of its final position and then slid towards the back of the house to engage the sliders. When fully seated, each pair of sliders will be in full contact with each other and the roof will be secured in place. Because the roof slopes backwards, gravity will help to keep the roof in the locked position. To remove the roof, you simply pull it towards the front of the house until the sliders are disengaged and then lift it straight up.

To build the roof, first cut the roof panel to size, allowing for the desired wall overhang - for this house, I made the overhang 4" in front, 2" in back, and 3-1/2" on the sides.

Next cut the four pairs of locking sliders. Each slider is made from a piece of plywood 2" wide and 6" long with the curved portion extending about half it length. To layout the curve, I made an angled line in the middle of the slider and used a large washer to establish curves extending from each end of the line to the top and bottom. The slider is then cut out on the bandsaw or hand-held scroll saw and sanded smooth with a sander. I used an oscillating drum sander but a basic drum sander in a hand drill would also work.

Screw the four bottom sliders to the inside walls of the house as shown in the photo. The back sliders can go flush against the  back wall but the front ones need to be offset a sufficient distance from the front wall to allow the top slider to slip down into position.

Reassemble the house with the floor removed and place it upside down on the underside of the roof. Shift the structure around as necessary until the desired overhang is established on all four sides. Reach down and position each roof slider so it fits snugly into its mating wall slider and mark its position by tracing along two of the sides. Once all four slider positions are marked remove the house frame.

Align each roof slider against the trace lines and temporarily affix it in place using double-sided tape. Using two screws per slider, attach the two sliders on each side of the roof to a 2" wide by 22" long piece of plywood, placed on the inner side of the sliders. This support piece adds extra rigidity to the roof and also prevents the sliders from accidentally getting snapped off.

Turn the roof over with the sliders resting on the work surface, mark the center of each support piece and attach it to the roof using two deck screws. The sliding mechanism is now complete.

Next: Finishing touches and assembly ->



Dog house floor layout
Figure 1. Floor fits into slots cut into side walls.

Locking sliderfs
Figure 2. Close-up view of a pair of locking sliders used to hold the roof in place.

Locking sliders attached to underside of roof.
Figure 3. Sliders attached to underside of the roof.


Sliders attached to inside of house.
Figure 4. Sliders attached to inside of side walls.


Roof sliders with side support attached.
Figure 4. Side view of roof sliders.


Sliding roof ready to be assembled.

Figure 5.Finished house with sliding roof removed.

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