I own a large dog kennel, daycare, grooming, and training operation in the Pacific Northwest. We have 12 acres and 30 different yards for our guests to romp around. I have a large staff and honestly, they are the best people I could ever hope to work with. Because of my amazing staff and unique set up we have won the 'Best of the Northwest' for 5 consecutive years.
To say it rains here is beyond the understatement. While we do have 2 indoor play rooms, our dogs usually prefer to stretch their legs in the fresh air with room to run. My staff are troopers and never complain about working in the rain. That said, I have received a wish list of rain/shade shelters from them pretty constantly over the last couple years. In my mind, I thought it would be a very difficult, expensive, and time-consuming project.
Well since the Covid-shutdown we have found ourselves with some extra time. Many businesses like mine were lucky enough to be granted the PPP grant from the government. This meant I now had a bunch of "free" labor with not many dogs. The kennel "honey-do" list got very real. I decided this was the perfect time to make my staff's dreams come true and build some rain/shade shelters for them and the dogs to enjoy. After researching and looking through my spare wood piles, we created 3 new shelters and it was surprisingly easy to do. I'm going to outline how we did it and what materials you will need to get these made.
The materials you need will depend on the size of shelter you are planning on building. Our shelters are 20 feet long by 10 feet wide. These are the materials I used for our shelters:
4” X 4” X 10 ft long treated posts 3 of them
4” X 4” X 8 ft long treated posts 5 of them
60 lb Bag of Cement 8 of them
2” X 10” X 10 ft long boards 9 of them
2” X 10” Metal Bracket 2 of them
2” X 4” X 10 ft long boards 8 of them
2”X4” Metal Bracket 32 of them
3 Foot X 10 Foot sheet metal 7 of them
Sheet Metal Flashing 60 feet
½” X 3” Lag Screws 32 of them
Sheet Metal Screws 1 box
Penny Nails 1 box
* Auger or Post Hole Digger
* Cement Mixer
* Measuring Tape
Before you start digging holes it is important to measure and plan out where your posts will go. Like I said our shelters are 20 feet long and 10 feet wide. You will want to make the “front” of your shelter higher than the “back” of your shelter. This will create a slope making sure water and snow easily flows where you want it to go. In the front of my shelter I made the spacing between the posts 10 feet and in the back of the shelter I made the spacing 5 feet. I want to make it stable but not have too many posts in the way of dogs playing.
I first measured out where to dig my posts and marked them on the ground with spray paint. I then used my auger to dig holes 2 feet deep. You can use a hand post hole digger but I used a 1 or 2 person auger which made digging these holes much easier.
Use your lag screws to screw your 2” X 10” boards into your 4 X 4 posts. I used 2 screws on each side of the boards. Start by screwing the boards around the perimeter of your shelter. Next screw in your cross boards. When screwing in your cross boards you will be able to use your front three 4 X 4 posts for the of the boards. You will have 2 extra back posts with no connection to the front. You will use your 2” X 10” metal brackets to connect to the front boards for the two 2” X 10” boards that don’t have front 4 X 4 posts to screw into.
First, you will want to saw your 2 X 4s in half so they are 2 X 4 X 5 feet long. You will use your 2” X 4” metal brackets to attach your 2 X 4s into the 1” X 10” boards. I attached these 2 X 4 cross boards every 2 feet. You will want to attach these cross boards so they are flush to the top so that your metal roofing will lay flat.
Now that your frame is fully built that last part is to screw in your metal roofing. You will be screwing on every 2 X 4 with 6” spacing between each screw. The sheet metal fits easily on each other so it’s easily put together. After your sheet metal is all screwed in, you can screw in the flashing around the perimeter. This will make your project look finished and clean.
This project looks more intimidating than it is. Once you measure out and sink the posts, the rest goes fast and is pretty simple. Stop putting this off and improve the quality of time for your staff and guests.