Building a Chicken Coop: Choosing
the Right Roofing Material
One of the most interesting and exciting aspects of
building a chicken coop at home is coming up with a design that is not only practical to use
and maintain but also looks good in the garden and makes an interesting and attractive feature to look at.
the process in achieving this is selecting the right materials to use in the chicken coops
already know how you would like your chicken coop to be laid out and constructed or perhaps you’ve opted to
purchase pre drawn chicken coop plans to get you started. Either way, it still leaves you with a range of
options for the type of materials you use to build and finish your coop.
the most important considerations should be your choice of roofing material since the roof not only serves one
of the most important functions but is also one of the largest and therefore most visible components of the
from the obvious visual considerations in choosing your roofing material, you will also need to keep in mind the
availability, ease of use and cost aspects of choosing the correct material.
use and handling will also depend on the size and type of tools you have available to use when building your
coop. For instance, metal corrugated sheeting might seem like a good option for speed and durability but it’s of
little use if you only have basic diy tools and not the heavy equipment needed to cut it.
depending on your circumstances you would be wise to consider some of these following options when building a
roof on your chicken coop:
This is one of the most common
materials used for small outbuildings and chicken coops as it is readily available and is relatively cheap and
easy to use. It consists of a bitumen based sheet material which is coated with a green mineral finish like tiny
pieces of grit bonded to the hot bitumen layer.
It is easy to cut with a utility knife
and can be nailed or glued to the roof with bitumen paint.
It has a lifespan of around ten years
which should be ample for most chicken coop projects but on the negative side it can be easily damaged once in
place, particularly if there is movement in any of the roofing components.
This is a similar product to the
mineral felt in that it’s made from the same bituminous material but without the mineral finish. The main
difference with this type of material is in the application.
To use torch on felt you must first
apply a layer of bitumen primer to the roof surface. Once this layer is touch dry the torch on felt is heated on
the underside with a blow torch and carefully rolled onto the roof surface while it is hot.
Once cooled the felt is bonded to the
entire roof surface to give a durable waterproof finish.
In areas of strong sunlight the torch
on felt is usually finished with a silver paint to reflect the UV rays and prolong the life of the
This type of finish is less pleasing
to the eye and does require a little more skill in its use and application but overall, it is a much more
durable option than mineral felt so in harsh climates it is well worth considering.
If you want a roof in a hurry that
will last a lifetime in all weather conditions then corrugated metal sheeting is a perfect
choice. The metal is usually galvanised to prevent rusting and
while it isn’t the most attractive look when applied it can easily be painted to blend nicely into its
It is lightweight and easy to handle
but does require a bit more effort to cut and apply since the metal will need to be securely fixed down and this
will mean drilling to fix it with screws or nails. Most suppliers though, are happy to cut the material to size
for you if you provide them with a cutting list.
Another problem with using metal
sheeting is its tendency to ‘sweat’ in cold weather. Condensation can form on the underside of the metal in cold
weather so a moisture membrane will have to be added before the sheeting is fitted to the roof.
One of the most common forms of
roofing in North America and possibly one of the most attractive and practical to use on a diy chicken coop
Being made of wood and therefore a
natural material a cedar shingle roof will blend seamlessly into the garden surroundings.
Shingles are also readily available,
not very expensive and simple to cut and use.
Shingles in themselves are not
waterproof and are used more as a weatherproofing measure to protect a waterproof membrane from degradation by
For this reason, a layer of tar paper
is usually used to waterproof the roof structure before the shingles are applied.
course, you might even want to try something a bit more adventurous and build a chicken coop with a living roof. Whatever you decide to do,
choosing the right type of roofing material for your project makes practical sense and you will reap the
benefits for many years to come.
See also ~ Choosing a wood preservative
for your chicken coop