- How to keep chickens at home




Building a Chicken Coop: Choosing the Right Roofing Material 


corrugated roof sheetingOne 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.  

Part of the process in achieving this is selecting the right materials to use in the chicken coops construction. 

You may 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. 

One of 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 finished construction. 

Apart 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. 

Ease of 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. 

So, depending on your circumstances you would be wise to consider some of these following options when building a roof on your chicken coop: 

·          Mineral felt 


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. 

·          Torch on felt 


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 roof. 

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. 


·          Corrugated metal sheeting 


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 surroundings. 

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. 


·          Cedar Shingles 


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 project. 

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 the elements.  

For this reason, a layer of tar paper is usually used to waterproof the roof structure before the shingles are applied. 



Of 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

 chicken coop plans