1,000 Year Doghouse





Introduction: 1,000 Year Doghouse

Ferrocement is incredibly strong yet inexpensive and easy to build with. In this doghouse, I know my dog will be safe from hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and small tonnage nuclear detonations.

Step 1:

Assemble a dense wire mesh in the shape desired. The surface must curve in two planes, as on a sphere or an egg. Flat plane, cylinder, or cone surfaces will not be strong. Use at least 4 layers of hardware cloth and/or chicken wire. The finished wire mesh should be mashed or laced to less than 3/4 inch thick with no holes large enough to stick your little finger through.

Step 2:

Slap on the concrete, working it thoroughly into the wire mesh, removing all voids. Excess concrete will fall through the mesh to the inside. Scoop it up occasionally and use it on the outside again. When the wire mesh is completely filled and covered, smooth the inside and outside surfaces so the concrete layer is less than 1" thick from inside to outside. Apply all the concrete in one session, to avoid a weak seam between old and new applications. Keep the concrete damp for a week by covering it with wet towels and plastic. (28 days for maximum strength).

Step 3:

Now Frisky will be safe and secure. When Armageddon comes, I'm heading for the doghouse!



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ferrocement is not waterproof. You can add waterproof agents to the mix before applying, or you can use housepaint, or roofing paints or sealers to seal it. But as it stands? This little guy will be really wet if it rains. :) Nice job building the wire frame, and mudding it. Looks great.

Here is an excellent article on ferrocement


I seriously doubt the water will pour through an inch of concrete. If the house were submerged it would wick through, but I'm sure mr frisky will be just fine in the rain.


lol. Actually, rain will pour through 3 inches of concrete.  Lookat any road, driveway, carport etc.  Concrete is porous. You mightlike to do a google search on ferrocement, there are several excellent sites.

It needs a sealer of some form.  Because the house is curved, therain will run off, but if it rained for a week, it will  obsorb thewater, and sooner or later the saturation point will be reached andwater will run through.

It has tiny fractures throughout, over time if not checked, they grow,turning into hairline cracks, then big cracks.  Any wire insidewill rust, and expand the cracks more.  etc etc.

Sealants are required.  Just do a test, try it yourself.

Even cement walls on a house must be sealed on the outside if you wantan fha loan. Why?  because they will do the same thing, absorb therain, water from sprinklers and then transfer it to the inside.

And in the case of a sprinkler? It doesnt take days, lol. I tried this one too.  It was fun to watch and see that thepattern on the inside was the same as the outside.  I nice curve.  

Thanks for the LOL, but you missed my point: this is a dog house, not a containment pond or a driveway. It won't leak any more than a clay planter will. Maybe after a few years of freezing and thawing it will have hairline fractures, but this isn't a boat, it's a doghouse. Let's not overcomplicate things, hmm?

I made a rain barrel from ferrocement; no sealant, no leaks.


The permeability (an cracking) of the cement/concrete depends on the ratio of the mix and the type of binders/fibers/reinforcement used. Also cements include more than the common Portland type that most people think of. Magnesium oxide based cements are far more moisture resistant *and way more expensive on a per lb. basis.

If you want to ENSURE impermeability you will want to use the right ratio of the correct ingredients (including and acrylic latex binder) and then paint or coat with a flexible elastomer paint (like the EPDM paint used on RV roofs now). Over kill perhaps, but a good guarantee.

The cement used in driveways, sidewalks, etc, is only poorly porous, which is why run off from developed areas is an ecological issue. But due to cracking and poor ingredient ratios it also doesn't keep the ground under it dry enough to prevent life forms from living under it...

I love the FidoDome, DomeHead! You did a great job and the Master looks tail-wagging happy! Depending on what area you live in you could probably get by without sealers. With ferrocement/ferroconcrete and the dome shape the most will happen is rain will slowly absorb and then it will follow the path of least resistance. Downhill around the edge. It would be a rarity for it to leak at the top and as long as you don't have to worry about a wet FidoDome freezing then you could probably bypass sealer, but sealer would be a good thing.

It is ferro-cement not ferro-concrete. The wire replaces the stone aggregate in concrete. Also to space the layers of wire some people make little slugs of cement to use as spacers between the layers. Ferro-cement can be super strong to say the very least. It is a wonderful medium and the world is just catching on to it. Homes can be built with this method.

Maybe this will help