SIOUX CITY -- The dog house Charlie Pike built for the S.T.A.R.S. (Special Troopers Adaptive Riding School) fundraiser on March 3 turned out a bit bigger than he had anticipated.
It's 4 feet wide, 6 feet long and about 5 feet tall with the cupola.
"I think it's enough for any size dog to be," Pike paused, "comfortable."
Pike's association with the project came through good friends Bert and Deb Welch. Over the years, Deb Welch has been a part-time employee, board member president and now volunteer with the S.T.A.R.S. family.
"For fun, I made a scale model of the S.T.A.R.S. building last summer. They liked it enough to ask if I could do a full-size dog house for the fundraiser," he said. "I have worked with wood, I'm a member of Siouxland Woodworkers, so I thought it was something I could do. Besides, I like to make projects and give them away."
Pike started work on the project in November with four-by-four runners. Then, he nailed two-by-eights solid as the base floor. Next, Pike put in two-by-fours laid flat around the edge that would be one-and-a-half inches high. He installed one-and-a-half inch blue foam insulation to insulate the floor. As the final floor, Pike used sanded one-side plywood that had been sealed to keep the moisture out.
"Because of this extreme base, the unit can be moved with a forklift or pushed or pulled under any terrain without hurting the frame," he said.
Pike used two-by-fours for the framing and three inches of blue insulation in the walls and ceiling. The interior is finished in one-half inch, sanded, one-side plywood. Pike added an accoutrement not often found in a dog house.
"During construction I added one GFI two-plug outlet in one of the back corners," he said. "It can be powered by an electric cord run from any 110 volt outlet. Use for this would be for a heat pad, but I would not use a heat bulb for safety reasons."
The walls and roofs are sheeted with half-inch plywood as an underlayment, then 3 inches of blue foam insulation. Pike finished with a wood-grained composite sheet with vertical grooves to give it a barn appearance.
"The trim is a wood-grained, plastic board," he said. "It will never need painting -- will never rot."
Pike constructed the roof like a regular home, with sheeting, followed by tar paper, followed by asphalt shingles.
"The shingles appear to be smaller than regular, but that is because I laid them narrower to make it look more natural to the size of the building," he said. "They are, in fact, regular house shingles bought at Lowes."
The front door of the house is a regulation dog door, Pike explained.
"It has a heavy plastic swinging door flap that is magnetic at the bottom to stay closed in a wind, but with very little pushing with the dog's nose, it opens," he said. "The entire door assembly can be removed by taking off the outside trim and sliding out if replacement is necessary in the future. Also, the trim is installed with screws, so that's not a problem."
Pike constructed this dog house with a back door is a unique design.
"The center section remains 'in' during the cold months. It is, of course, insulated, but it can be removed during the summer months for air flow," he said. "There is a grated metal covering on the inside to keep both the dogs in, and other animals out, when the center section is removed."
In the back, Pike installed a vent above the removable door that is permanent for air flow at all times.
"The house is so tight that the body heat from a dog, or dogs, could create moisture during the cold months, so a little air flow is good," he noted.
The finishing touch is red paint, which is not the usual barn pain, Pike noted.
"It was purchased at Diamond Vogel in Sioux City and goes under the name of Special Red," he said. "What makes it Special is the addition of Linseed oil to the paint mixture. This oil not only protects the wood from the outside, but it soaks in to the wood itself and protects it from rotting. I have this same siding and paint on my saw shop on the farm and it went through a hail storm this summer without a scratch or dent."