Building a Cold Weather Winter House

Turtulas-Len

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I started building a new winter house for a couple young, but growing sulcatas. It's going to be 4x8 feet.The first pic is what I picked up to get started. The cost of 4 pieces of 1/2 and 1 piece of 3/4 inch treated plywood was scary.(to me anyway). DSCF1208 copy.jpg

I have used lumber here that will work for the wall framing, just have to cut it to the size I need. This is the beginning of the floor base DSCF1220 copy.jpg

This is a pic of my helper claiming it as his,( see the small wet spot near the bottom ) He wouldn't like it, it's going to be half the size of what he's got now. DSCF1222.jpg

This is the base turned right side up after securing the plywood to the frame.I caulked all the interior joints and seams and secured 3 landscape timbers to the underside. DSCF1227 copy.jpg

Next started the insulation,this is one layer of ASJ jacket 1 1/2 inch thick heavy density fiberglass board. DSCF1228 copy.jpg

Then another layer of same with the jacket up DSCF1230 copy.jpg

Finishing the insulation with foil jacket duct wrap that will squeeze down.and serve as a secondary vapor barrier. DSCF1234 copy.jpg

The main vapor barrier under the 3/4 inch plywood floor is 4 foot wide light weight aluminum that has a sticky back if you remove the paper, I left the paper on DSCF1235 copy.jpg

The last thing done today was screwing the plywood floor down. DSCF1237 copy.jpg
 

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Dbennett561

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Nice job, look forward to seeing the finished product. Curious.. Will you put some type of heat source inside? If so, what will it be?
 

wellington

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Looking good. Are they going to be sharing one box or is it going to be divided into two seperate boxes?
 

Turtulas-Len

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Heavy duty all right! But boy does doing it right pay off ;)
The one I built last year was a test to see how certain design would work, and yes it worked very well, but still can be improved on.
Nice job, look forward to seeing the finished product. Curious.. Will you put some type of heat source inside? If so, what will it be?
It will have plenty of heat from all around,bottom sides and from above Just haven't decided whether to make it up or buy it.
Looking good. Are they going to be sharing one box or is it going to be divided into two seperate boxes?
Right now there are three that like to bunk together and it gets crowded sometimes but the floor is set up where each one can find a warm spot if needed. The new house will have a wild open interior with a very wide door or doors.
 

Turtulas-Len

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I got a little done this week, I framed the 2 doors in, I'm making them 24 inches wide because that is what I widened Walkers winter door to,he is not that wide but after watching him last winter I noticed how far a sulcatas front legs spread out when walking, especially when climbing a slight incline. Since all their houses are up off the ground they all have to climb a little to get inside.Finished caulking the inside joints and put some insulation on the walls,not finished with that yet. DSCF1257 copy.jpg Started working on the roof, It is upside down. The blue insulation is 2inch thick urethane and the white is 2 layers of 1 inch Styrofoam. DSCF1261 copy.jpg Filled the cracks with fiberglass and taped the joints with the aluminum tape. DSCF1262 copy.jpg Then laid a piece of duct wrap to cover the ridged insulation, foil down DSCF1263 copy.jpg placed another piece of duct wrap on top with the foil up, tape the 2 pieces together at the edges to help keep the fiberglass dry over time. For some reason I can't post anymore pics right now,
 

DawnH

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Wow - that's awesome. Talk about insulated! If you don't mind me asking, what is your material cost with this set up? I have thought about doing something like this but taller and an curious on how many children I should sell...
 

mike taylor

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If you drive by new homes being built they all have trash piles by them . Walk up and ask they will give you old short lumber . It's free !
 

Turtulas-Len

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Wow - that's awesome. Talk about insulated! If you don't mind me asking, what is your material cost with this set up? I have thought about doing something like this but taller and an curious on how many children I should sell...
The 4 pieces of 1/2 and 1 piece 3/4 inch treated plywood cost $175.00, and are not rated for ground contact, I could of saved about $10.00 at H D but the wood quality was not as good as what lowes had on that day. 2 packages (56 sq ft) of 1inch thick 1x4 ft Styrofoam was $18.00. So far that is what I bought for this house, everything else I had here already. To finish i will use 2 pieces of 1/2in x 4ft x 8ft foil face urethane insulation that was here but I think they cost around $12.00 each, The vinyl for the doors I got at walmart about a year ago for $1.00 a yard for the 54 inch wide, I actually bought the whole roll, I have a problem passing up a good deal,used 2 1/2 yards $2.50, I get lumber from an amish mill for $.50 a board foot. I get a 1in x 12in x 12 feet for $6.00 each and 1x6x12 for $3.00, I cut these to the size I can use for framing.I have not kept track of how many board feet I've used. Caulking is about $3 to $4 a tube, it may take 4 tubes to complete.I treat.some wood with boiled linseed oil, maybe $8 to $10 worth..The screws, nails, and staples I usually get at auction and not a large cost.All the other insulation's like the foil faced duct wrap the, 3 inch and 5 inch alum tapes, and the 2 inch thick urethane I get free so no cost at all.Sometimes I do (kind of) what Mike suggest, if I come across a demo and I'm in the truck I may stop and ask,They will either say yes or no,They can't take your birthday.I also stop and ask about cactus if I see one that looks different than what I have. I have never been told no on the cactus.and found some great pieces of old growth lumber at demo sites. Around here you can save 10 to15% at lowes if you go to the post office and ask for the welcome packet like you just moved in from out of town.
 

DawnH

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The 4 pieces of 1/2 and 1 piece 3/4 inch treated plywood cost $175.00, and are not rated for ground contact, I could of saved about $10.00 at H D but the wood quality was not as good as what lowes had on that day. 2 packages (56 sq ft) of 1inch thick 1x4 ft Styrofoam was $18.00. So far that is what I bought for this house, everything else I had here already. To finish i will use 2 pieces of 1/2in x 4ft x 8ft foil face urethane insulation that was here but I think they cost around $12.00 each, The vinyl for the doors I got at walmart about a year ago for $1.00 a yard for the 54 inch wide, I actually bought the whole roll, I have a problem passing up a good deal,used 2 1/2 yards $2.50, I get lumber from an amish mill for $.50 a board foot. I get a 1in x 12in x 12 feet for $6.00 each and 1x6x12 for $3.00, I cut these to the size I can use for framing.I have not kept track of how many board feet I've used. Caulking is about $3 to $4 a tube, it may take 4 tubes to complete.I treat.some wood with boiled linseed oil, maybe $8 to $10 worth..The screws, nails, and staples I usually get at auction and not a large cost.All the other insulation's like the foil faced duct wrap the, 3 inch and 5 inch alum tapes, and the 2 inch thick urethane I get free so no cost at all.Sometimes I do (kind of) what Mike suggest, if I come across a demo and I'm in the truck I may stop and ask,They will either say yes or no,They can't take your birthday.I also stop and ask about cactus if I see one that looks different than what I have. I have never been told no on the cactus.and found some great pieces of old growth lumber at demo sites. Around here you can save 10 to15% at lowes if you go to the post office and ask for the welcome packet like you just moved in from out of town.
Wow - thanks for all that great info!! Great idea about the welcome packet. I always hear of people finding AMAZING things on Craigslist but ours is just not stellar. I am pretty sure all the murders on CL come from our area...lol

Thank you again!!
 

Yvonne G

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Thanks for 'refreshing' this thread, Len. I think I'll pin it so new members have better access.
 

Turtulas-Len

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Here is the last pic of the house that I could find. DSCF1300 copy.jpg This house was never used, I gave the females and Sylvia (a male) away before it was needed. They are all living in Florida. The females spent a couple months here with Walker last summer before the move south and this years first eggs are due to hatch early next month. Sylvia is so deformed he is not capable of mating. Each door has 3 sets of vinyl flaps with a total of 12 flaps for each door secured to a 2 x 12 above the door with screws thru a 1 x1 strip of wood, one on each end and one in the center even with the wall. I was going to heat it with a mini electric oil heater, heated ceramic tiles that I make and I was going to install 3 light fixtures to the ceiling using a rheostat to adjust the wattage of the che's and or incandescent light bulbs.
 

akacurrie

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Does anyone know where to get the plans/blueprint for a sulcata tortoise house or where I can buy one or have one made? In San Diego, CA.
 

Turtulas-Len

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Does anyone know where to get the plans/blueprint for a sulcata tortoise house or where I can buy one or have one made? In San Diego, CA.
I don't know how to post a link but, @Tom, has a thread on building a night box that gives a step by step description of how he built it. it would work great where you live.
 

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CEvans

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Thanks for the post, I had downloaded @Tom blueprint and I just finished mine with help from a neighbor. Still need to get it sealed better but Buzz loves it. Just not sure what temp to set the Kane Mat
 

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Tom

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That looks great! Since the mat will be controlled by a separate thermostat, set the mat all the way up as high as it goes. The thermostat will shut it on and off as needed. If the air temp in the box is below the set point, the mat will be on. If air temp is above set point, mat will be off.
 

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