Types of Cladding for Rabbit Hutches & Sheds
The exterior of your hutch or shed plays an important part in keeping your rabbits warm, dry and protected. There are various style of boarding used of rabbit accommodation; understanding the differences will help you select the best option for your shed or hutch.
Tongue and groove
Tongue and groove is the best type of cladding. The boards have a slot cut in the bottom edge and the top edge trimmed to fit in the slot. This makes the boards fit together snugly forming a good seal. The boards are either flat on both sides or the front may have a slightly rounded edge at the top.
Shiplap boards have a shaped front and notch cut on opposite edges so the top edge of the board sits below the bottom edge of the next board, allowing them to sit flat. Loglap is like shiplap except the front of the board is rounded giving the appearance of logs. In both cases the reverse of the board is flat giving the inside a smooth finish.
A cross between shiplap and tongue and groove is also available, with the front profile of shiplap but a tongue and groove style joint.
Square/Feather Edge (Overlap)
Overlap cladding is used more for sheds/playhouses than hutches. Each board is placed overlapping the board below. Boards vary greatly in quality in quality and thickness. It may have a square profile or be tapered (feather edged). This is the cheapest type of cladding but it is also the least weather proof.
As the boards overlap, there is a stepped finish to both the inside and outside of the cladding. This is very tempting for rabbits to nibble on so the interior may need protection. Lining the inside with plywood will increase the weather proofing as well as protect the boards with chewing.
Plywood is a manufactured wood sheet made from glueing thin sheets of wood together. It's is available in various sizes and thicknesses.
It's commonly used on commercially made hutches. For outside use you need exterior grade or marine plywood and it should be at least 9mm thick (many commercial hutches are just 3-6mm). Thinner sheets are easy for a rabbit or fox to chew through.
Plywood is less long lasting than solid wood and has a tendency to warp. However it is relatively cheap and easy to replace.
Most types of cladding will need regularly treating with wood preservative to stay in good condition. To do this pick a dry day, brush over the hutch to remove any dirt and then apply a pet safe wood preservative to the outside of the hutch or shed.