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PVC or wood for outdoor enclosure frame

Discussion in 'Tortoise Enclosures' started by Maggie T, Aug 9, 2019.

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  1. Maggie T

    Maggie T Member

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    Good morning,
    I’m getting ready to finally build an outdoor enclosure for my turts and torts. I’ve been debating and somewhat agonizing over this. So I’d recently built a catio with pvcs. It’s fairly sturdy in the shade. That gave me the idea to use pvc to build a frame to support the chicken wire I’ll be using for cover. But then I’d read that zip ties I was planning to use to hold down the chicken wire degrades over time under the heat of sun/uvs. I can use galvanized wire to secure it instead, but I’m wondering if pvc can withstand extended outdoor exposure, and how long? I was thinking with pvc, I wouldn’t have to worry about molding and sanding, painting and sealing as I would with wood. We’d been having some hot weather so i wasn’t able to work on the project. Thank goodness the weather’ll cooled down some this weekend, so I’m really eager to get it done. Besides, I have to stick to the deadline this weekend because I’m going to be having some visitors over the next several weeks. I’ve already purchased the pvc, and can see light at the end of the tunnel if I went with pvc. I just don’t want to install the pvc only to have to redo it with wood in a year. I may be moving in maybe 3-4 years. If it can last that long, then I’m fine with that. It’s just that I’m not sure I can finish the project by this weekend if I go with wood.
    Btw, I’m only speaking of the frame. I’m building wood enclosures. While I’m here asking for advice, might as well ask about the enclosure itself. So I have 6 beings, 2 juvenile desert tortoises, 3 juvenile three-toed boxies and 1 adult box turtle. I don’t have a lot of space, so they’re all-except for 1 desert- are going to be in a space of 13’ x 16’, separated. My question is at what age can you tell the sex of box turtles. I’d like to keep my 3 baby boxies together in a 6x16 pen, but I’m not interested in breeding. If I separated them, they would each only have a 2x16’ pen. What should I do?
    Your thoughts, suggestions, advice are much appreciated!
    Sorry for being so wordy.
  2. NorCal tortoise guy

    NorCal tortoise guy Well-Known Member

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    PVC dose brake down with uv exposure. It sun burns and becomes brittle over time. It dose take some time and would more then Likely still last a few years. To just avoid the problem all together spray paint the pvc and it won’t brake down
    Maggie T likes this.
  3. Maggie T

    Maggie T Member

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    Ok, great! Thanks! Didn’t know it could be painted. I got an exterior Rustoleum clear spray I’m using to seal the wood . Will that work?
  4. NorCal tortoise guy

    NorCal tortoise guy Well-Known Member

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    I would use a color you are trying to shade the pvc
  5. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    1. I'd use pressure treated 2x4s to make your frame and doors. No painting or staining. Just cut it, screw it together, and it lasts for many years out in the elements.
    2. Then use fender washers and "Deck Mate" screws to attach welded wire to your frame.
    3. Zip ties won't last more than a few months, and chicken wire will only keep out chickens. Dogs, raccoons, foxes and coyotes will go right through chicken wire. Use 1x1 inch or 1x2 inch welded wire instead.
    4. Be sure there is a visual barrier around the bottom of the enclosure. They should not be able to see out.
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  6. Relic

    Relic Well-Known Member

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    I spray paint all my sprinkler risers in the yard and flower beds to match plant foliage or soil. Hate to see bright white or ugly gray plastic, so I grab green and brown spray paint and go to town. Lasts 3-4 years before it needs touch-up. I even sprayed all the black sprinkler heads, too. Just a tiny bit OCD...

    (Also...the black electrical-grade zip ties last much longer out in the sun than the regular white variety.)
    Maggie T likes this.
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