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Humidity in Homemade Enclosures

Discussion in 'Humidity' started by purplemuffin, Feb 9, 2011.

  1. purplemuffin

    purplemuffin Elite Member

    So this is a question about humidity in homemade reptile enclosures. The people I talk to back home who build stuff tell me that even sealed, my enclosure will not be able to hold up against the humidity forever and will warp. Is this true? Are there precautions I can take?

    And is there any material that can stand up against humidity better?

    I know I see animals like rainbow boas in homemade enclosures, so I know it can be done, but I keep getting people telling me otherwise! Would like a straight answer :)
  2. andys3ballpythons

    andys3ballpythons Elite Member

    well my enclosure is all wood, i didnt treat any of the wood, been six months or so and no dammage yet.
  3. ThatMan

    ThatMan Member

    I am currently building an enclosure for my new Nile Monitor, I am using heat treated wood. I have had success with that, building decks and patios as well as repairing outdoor furniture.
  4. JoeMasturbaby

    JoeMasturbaby Well-Known Member

    depends on the materials used and the overall layout of the custom enclosure.

    i built a custom enclosure for one of my crested geckos out of a 40g breeder tank. I put it vertically and made a custom door/panel for the front. (The one on the left in this image:

    The tank holds humidity incredibly well (a constant 82) though i still spray for the geckos to drink and to get the plants some more water. I would say if you turn a normal tank into a custom enclosure like I did its most likely going to hold the humidity because most of the tank is designed to hold water without leaks. Also if a screen top is used it most likely will lose humidity very quickly.
  5. warneri

    warneri Elite Member

    im pretty sure melamine holds up better than plywood
  6. Rob

    Rob Elite Member

    Melamine in my experience warps after a couple years. Yes after awhile wood will warp. I havent been building them long enough to find out how long and my one cage is alsmost 10 years old. If you wanted it to be 100% water proof you would have to use a 2 part marine grade epoxy. THey dont come cheap though.
  7. Flint

    Flint Elite Member

    Yes I have a custom wooden enclosure for my BRB, and it is very humid in there at all times. And I just have to accept that my snake will probably outlive his enclosure. The enclosure is incredibly sturdy, made with baltic birch 13 ply plywood and a solid maple face frame, and sealed with several coats of outdoor primer and a final coat of outdoor paint. But, it won't last forever. But we build wooden enclosures because they are exactly what we want, they look nice, and they are cheaper than premade enclosures. In the future, I will use melamine. In the even later future depending on how large my collection grows, I will turn to vision cages or breeding racks. Plastic cages can stand the test of humidity. But they aren't as pretty in a living room.
  8. purplemuffin

    purplemuffin Elite Member

    Hmmm okay, that's good to know, you've given me stuff to think about. I really would like a cage to last a while, and I love those showcase cages, I could one day save up the money to maybe purchase one someday for an animal that requires more humidity--I love the look of them anyway, maybe I'm just looking for an excuse, lol!

    Thanks for all the posts guys, I appreciate your feedback :)
  9. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    Just to clarify,
    Melamine will NOT hold up better to moisture than plywood.
    Melamine is actually a paper that is laid up on particleboard.
    While it is a higher grade of particleboard than your common chipboard it still is composed of ground up wood chips laid together and pressed.

    I purchase melamines, plywoods at work all the time. We use a high grade of melamine for cabinets that you cannot purchase in the store as it is a commercial grade. Still it is far inferior to using a sealed plywood.
  10. gapeachkatie

    gapeachkatie Elite Member

    If an enclosure is properly sealed and maintained, it can last, but not forever. It took 20 years for a wooden orchid terrarium to warp. If something I make will last that long, I would be okay with it since it will allow for me to build something even better. :)
  11. schlegelbagel

    schlegelbagel Frog Lover Premium Member

    For your purpose, a plywood coated with a few layers of a polyurethane will hold up just fine. I might worry if you were putting eco-earth soaked in water directly on the wood, but you aren't. If you are really worried, you can cut plexi to fit the bottom section (where you keep the substrate) and caulk it in place.
  12. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Building cages is a bit different than your standard mainstream building. We tend to take our sealing much farther since we know we will be dealing with a humid environment.
    Properly built and sealed the wood will last a long time. My Green Iguana cage is over 10 years old and just as square as the day I built it.
    Where most people get in trouble is scrimping on the wood. They try to make a light frame and then use thin plywood.
    I use 3/4 inch cabinet grade plywood!
    Melainine doesn't stand up. If the surface is scratched and humidity gets to it, it molds and deteriorates
  13. purplemuffin

    purplemuffin Elite Member

    Well, thanks everyone! I feel a lot better about this. Good point, the sealed enclosures built here are different than just another piece of furniture....

    ..Also, melamine is HEAVY!

    The thought came up when I was looking at monitor cages, so thats how I started wondering about how long an enclosure--say for a rainbow boa--would last!

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