Wednesday, March 9, 2011

In the Doghouse

By Gaius Hennin, P.E.

We have been installing structural insulated panels (SIPs) for years (24 to be exact). When we first started, we would cut the window and door openings on site. At the end of each job, the customer would usually ask "What can I do with all these pieces?" referring to the large stack of window cutouts. Somewhat tongue-in-cheek, I'd reply that the scraps would make a heck of a doghouse.

Well, Amy and I now have three sons (6, 11, and 12), and I am always looking for a good project that the four of us can work on that allows me to impart the vast knowledge of carpentry my Dad has shared with me. Last spring I had a pile of SIP scraps taking up valuable real estate in our shop, and I found myself saying, "What can I do with all these pieces?" Then I found myself thinking "These scraps would make a heck of a doghouse."

A project was born.

Our dog, Rex, was beside himself when he heard he was getting a new house. He needed a little guidance during the design phase, though. As a Wheaton Terrier (an Irish breed) he was thinking stone walls and a thatched roof. After a lengthy discussion about r-values, the physics of heat transfer, and New England architecture he came around to my way of thinking. I could tell because he walked off to the front lawn and started digging a hole.

As you can see from the photos, the boys and I had a great time making a structural insulated panel doghouse. The walls are 3 1/2" core foam which gives an R-17 to the floor, walls, and roof.

Rex wants to install a Vermont Castings wood stove, but he'll have to wait for Christmas.

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