Building/Buying Pros and Cons Dilema


New member
Hi, I have my adult beardy in a 40-gallon breeder and he desperately needs an upgrade. I am in the process of deciding the pros and cons of building versus buying an enclosure. It seems that building it myself would be cheaper by far and would allow more design choices, but I do not know what material I should use. Plywood is the easiest material to find, buy and build with; however, it is not waterproof, prone to rot if wet, heavy, and holds smells. This is the same for melamine except with the addition of formaldehyde fumes. My last option was PVC which is hard to find AND expensive, but is lightweight, easy to clean and has been regarded as the best material overall to build enclosures with if you can find and afford it. I was planning on going this route until I found out that PVC can produce toxic gas as it degrades over time.
I tried looking into buying an enclosure, which I understand would be more expensive, however, would be made out of materials that aren't harmful to my boy. If I were to go down this path I am stuck between Animal Plastic and Kages. Both have been regarded as quality but it is not exactly what I want in terms of aesthetic and design.
I'm looking for your opinions on enclosures, what you would do, or any questions/information I may have overlooked. (I would appreciate if you don't say "X is better because I have one" that doesn't really help)

Claudiusx Sicko
Staff member
Corsteromo":1ld5ucvp said:
Plywood is the easiest material to find, buy and build with; however, it is not waterproof, prone to rot if wet, heavy, and holds smells.
Hi there, I've built quite a few enclosures in my time. I highlighted in red the negatives you pointed out about plywood that are not true. I'll give you the heavy one though, that one can be true hah.

While ply isn't waterproof, you are expected to seal it. This in effect does waterproof it, protects it from rot, and prevents it from holding smells. Whether you are sealing it by simply painting it, or by staining and then using some form of clear coat on it such as poly or varnish.

That being said, unless you have the tools already, it usually isn't cheaper to build your own tank. I don't know why it always ends up this way, but what it ends up costing on paper, some how never is what it ends up actually costing to build lol.
I enjoy woodworking, and I have a fully stocked shop, so it is cheaper for me to build tanks. If you have to buy/rent tools, hardware, screws, glue, etc, it gets expensive quick.

We have a DIY section and I made a sticky at the top of it with links to some build threads of members here throughout the years. Feel free to check it out if you haven't yet. It might help you decide.

My best advice is, if you have the tools, and you actually enjoy building stuff, go for it. Even if it ends up costing more or the same, you had fun doing it. If you only care about just getting a tank, save yourself the headache and frustration, and buy one.


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