My first outdoor heated Redfoot house

Twiggz

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5 Year Member
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Jun 19, 2013
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33
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N. Ca
Hello everyone, I posted a few pics of the Redfoot house I built and got a few questions about it. Ill post some pics and add info as I finish it. I have three Redfoot tortoises, 2, 2, and 3 years old. So I built it large enough that I wont have to alter it for a few years.

I ended up with some scrap wood from my friends garage clean up. He took down one of his work benches, and gave me the framing wood. 2x4s are a little heavier than what is needed for a tort house this size. But free is a great selling point for me.
I used metal L brackets and stuffed about 3" of insulation in the base and sealed it with expanding foam. Yes, way over kill.

I added a 1/2" thick board across the top to hold the two ceramic light fixtures. I was looking for a power cable to use. The black one turned out to be way too thick for the inside.


I originally wanted to use cedar siding, but the local lumber yard only had pine on hand. It was cheaper, so I went for it. 45deg cuts on the ends so they butted up cleanly.



Inside look at the door frame. 1.5" x 1.5" wood used.



Inside power outlet. You can see the yellow wire I used to connect the two Light fixtures in parallel.


A better shot of the fixtures


Hinged top assembled, and power inlet. I went a little over kill, but I know it will never leak. I didn't get pics of the assembly of the top since I was winging it. I cut the frame freehand, so I don't know what the actual angle it is.



This is the side that will be facing my house. Its hard to see, but I added a small red 120VAC LED in the middle of the center board. Its wired in parallel to the light fixtures, so I will know when the heater is on at night



Here is a shot of the thermostat I'm using. I later added a rheostat, so if the thermostat fails, and has the heat on all the time, it will not go above dangerous levels for my torts. I still have more testing to do before I start using it.


A big jump forward, I added a few coats of natural colored water seal and some other finishing touches to make it look better. Added 1" of insulation to the top, and later covered it with another piece of plywood.
Put 90deg trim along the edges to clean up the corners, and was bored with the door way so I came up with some trim.


For the doorway I wanted it to look clean, and be somehow tortoise themed. I had some thin project wood that is soft and easy to work with. I cut and sanded it to shape, sketched a design on it, used an exacto knife to carve out the design. I didn't have any paint at the time, so I used a fine tip sharpie to make the lines stand out. Then added a few coats of the water seal front and back since it was such soft wood.



Added tar paper to the roof. Folder it arounds the edges and used a combination of staples and shingle adhesive to hold it in place.



Made a smal door and a ramp. Used scrap wood to reinforce it on the underside. Good thing too, because my 5yo son likes to stand on it. I bought a shingle roll and cut it to hang over all the edges. So far no water has leaked inside.


Dug a foundation and place bricks into the dirt. That way it shouldn't sink into the mud during rainy season. Had this rubber mat laying around, and cut it to shape. Used my redfoot Vega for traction tests and it passed fine.



Added the rubber mat to the doorway too



I still have some things I want to change. I need to add more insulation to the sides before I let them stay out side in winter. I am also thinking of changing the location of the CHE. I don't want my tort to sit directly under it all night and cook itself. I'm still not sure where Ill put it, but I'm thinking pointed horizontally will be best. As of now, they like to go inside once they've had enough sun. I take them inside once the temp goes down, but soon Ill try letting them stay outside all night once I'm confident in the heating system.
 

Yvonne G

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This is great! What an accomplished carpenter you are. You put all my junk habitats and sheds to shame.
 

Dbennett561

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Joined
Jun 20, 2014
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21
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Tampa
Wow. Looks great. Excellent craftsmanship. I'll need to keep this in mind as we get closer to winter.
 

mike taylor

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Oct 28, 2012
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It started off with free wood ,so how much has it cost you so far ? My projects start free then end up cost hundreds . haha Looks awesome .
 

Twiggz

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5 Year Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2013
Messages
33
Location (City and/or State)
N. Ca
It's been an ongoing project for a while, so I don't remember the exact cost. The siding was the biggest hit all at once. If I remember correctly it was under $80. Then the roll of shingle material. The whole roll was around $60

Then it was the small stuff that adds up. The random plywood, insulation, trim, screws, thermostat ect. I'd guess around $200
 

mike taylor

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Oct 28, 2012
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That's funny how free wood cost two hundred bucks in the end .
 
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