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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, me and my friend made a cage from OSB, and I have read wood carries dust mites, that is why I am covering it all in felt, then having a fleece liner. My question is, since it has a second level, does the bottom of the second level need to be covered since he will never be in contact with it?
 

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I don't think the felt is going to stop mites from crawling through to the wood. I've only had 1 outbreak of mites in the time I've had hedgehogs, but if you should ever get one clean up can be quite a process.

How are you planning to prevent urine and water spills from soaking through the felt to the OSB? OSB when it gets wet for too long can get soft and eventually the wood chips start to flake off as the glue holding it together loosens. Ever seen a water damanged OSB floor? I watched one crumble into a basement after we removed the vinyl floor that was holding it together. So I can imagine one that gets wet from water spills may have a short life. What is your thoughts on this?

Also what is your plan for cleaning the felt you are using to line the OSB? Hedgie poo squished into felt doesn't seem like it would be easily cleaned or disinfected.

I'm curious to hear more about your plans for your cage, or to see images. I've plans to build one, just need to buy the materials and get it put together.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I don't know if I said it or not, but I am going to put Velcro tabs and strips along certain areas (not naming them all for time's sake). But I am having my mom sew more tabs on 1 side of some fleece and I am going to hot glue the complement on to the felt. So it goes OSB > Felt > Fleece. I have two sets of fleece to interchange between washes, and doing it on a periodic basis should eliminate having the OSB get water damaged. I will for sure post pictures of this because.. it is massive and intricate in ways I never thought I could build anything like this. It will be built by Friday, so expect pics over the weekend or the week after.

Edit: About the water spills, I never really thought about that. I guess the easiest thing to do would be to get a liner for underneath the general vicinity of the water bowl. Any suggestions? Something that would absorb the water and evaporate it?

The great thing about this DIY house is that it only cost 60 bucks to buy everything for it (if you have the tools already, which we did). And this thing just blows any pre-made habitat out of the water. 5'x2' bottom level with a 8"x4' ramp going up to a second level which is 2'x2' with a wheel and litter box on that side, two 4" PVC pipes attached on both sides going across a open area to another side which is 18"x2'. I need to wait for my friend to come back from Chicago for the weekend before I can continue anything else to make it hedgie proof.
 

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you should consider painting the wood with a non toxic acrylic paint or something of the sorts. As stated above mites will go through fleece and felt and get in to wood. Also if you hedgehog doesnt litter train and decides to pee, you will never get that pee out of the board. it is a hassle to clean, and just layering cloth on top of it will not work. (Fleece is hydrophobic and will no hold more than 1% of its weight in water, so and water/urine will go right through it, and if felt stays wet to long it can start to disintegrate as it is pressed not knitted.
 

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Azyrios said exactly what I was thinking... I wouldn't even bother with fleece, honestly... You're really going to want your boards to be coated with something - melamine/acrylic/urethane/resin - something water resistant... And it's going to need to air out until it's totally free of any toxic fumes as well...

Mites or no mites, felt won't last and your OSB will get nasty at some point because, if it's not coated with something waterproof, it'll be near impossible to clean properly.

You'll also want to use some kind of sealant where all the boards come together... From what I've gathered, most people use silicone caulking - again, making sure you leave it to air out for a good amount of time, 'cause I'm pretty sure it has some nasty fumes as well.

My bf and I are about to build a new cage for our little girl and I was thinking about using vinyl wallpaper over melamine coated mdf - and I'm actually considering putting a coat or two of urethane over the wallpaper even, just to make sure it's 100% water resistant and easy to clean.
 

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Mattplusness said:
I wish you two would have reasd the previous posts. Would have saved you alot of typing.
I did, actually...

I agreed with previous posts and added my 2 cents, as well as a bit about my own plans for a custom built cage...

Unless I missed something about the OSB being covered in something other than felt, I still think you're going to want to coat it with something else- unless, of course, I'm horribly misinformed and felt is actually a completely non-porous, mite-resistant, water-proof miracle cloth with an easy to clean surface... When I think of felt, I think of 2 pretty different things - craft felt and pool tables. Pool tables often times have teflon felt these days - and while it may be water resistant, I still don't see it as something really easy to clean and disinfect, which is a concern that Kalandra already mentioned.

It's not just hedgie pee and water bowl spills you need to worry about... While replacing the fleece liners and washing them often is all well and good, you're also going to want to be able to clean and disinfect the cage itself - the walls, floors, etc. - especially if you do have a mite outbreak. (I would think that mites could and would burrow in felt just as easily, if not moreso, than the wood behind it...)

I'm not trying to say that your cage design isn't as awesome as you say it is or anything, just that I really don't know that fleece is your best choice as a barrier between the liners and uncoated wood (or even coated wood for that matter).

Edit: ok, I do see that you responded to a post about coating the wood with acrylic - which is great... but, if you're going to paint it, are you still planning on the felt too? Personally, I would forgo using felt...

Also, if you note the timestamps, you only posted 2 minutes before my original post... As I was still typing, I really had no way of noticing that prior to my post.
 

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Mattplusness said:
I wish you two would have reasd the previous posts. Would have saved you alot of typing.
I did read. And I had no idea that you were closed to all opinions and options. I was merely giving an alternative suggestion, since it seemed like you were still planning on using the felt. Wet fabric laying on wood, no matter how well protected and painted, would wear the coating down quicker.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I think what I'll do is make the fleece the only liner, but will water proof paint the OSB and then put some kind of deck varnish on the paint. Then do the fleece.
 

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Apologies for my late posting, but as far as I know, neither MDF and OSB is suitable for a hedgehog cage for the reasons already mentioned (a higher risk of harbouring mites as well as absorbing and retaining moisture including urine making the cage less sanitary). However, the more serious issue is both OSB and MDF boards are known to emit low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including formaldehyde due to the adhesive agent used to bind together the wood chips and flakes in the products. Formaldehyde can be toxic, allergenic, and carcinogenic.

While the emission levels may not be high enough to pose any serious or long-term health risks in human (although some environmental organizations argue against this), they may well ruin your hedgehog's health irreparably.:(

So if you insist on using wood, go with solid wood and use non-toxic water-based coating to protect the surface from mites and moisture. I used water-based, non-toxic, clear Urethane on a solid pine bookshelf board for a loft floor. I applied more than 6 coats and lightly sanded between the coats. It's a good idea to spend extra time for drying and off-gassing in direct sunlight after you apply each coat too.
 

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hedgieMate said:
Apologies for my late posting, but as far as I know, neither MDF and OSB is suitable for a hedgehog cage for the reasons already mentioned (a higher risk of harbouring mites as well as absorbing and retaining moisture including urine making the cage less sanitary). However, the more serious issue is both OSB and MDF boards are known to emit low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including formaldehyde due to the adhesive agent used to bind together the wood chips and flakes in the products. Formaldehyde can be toxic, allergenic, and carcinogenic.

While the emission levels may not be high enough to pose any serious or long-term health risks in human (although some environmental organizations argue against this), they may well ruin your hedgehog's health irreparably.:(

So if you insist on using wood, go with solid wood and use non-toxic water-based coating to protect the surface from mites and moisture. I used water-based, non-toxic, clear Urethane on a solid pine bookshelf board for a loft floor. I applied more than 6 coats and lightly sanded between the coats. It's a good idea to spend extra time for drying and off-gassing in direct sunlight after you apply each coat too.
Oh wow, I did not know that about formaldehyde in MDF... Of course, that's why I posted a thread about acceptable materials a while back... I would never have thought to use particle board/OSB myself, but I didn't realize it was toxic either. (I, myself, have horrible skin allergies if I come in contact with anything containing formaldehyde - and often times with treated lumber as well.)

Of course, I was planning on using MDF with a melamine coating, sealing the edges with silicone and then re-coating everything with urethane as well... but if there's any risk of harming my little girl, I'll gladly use something different. (I haven't bought the materials yet anyway, thank goodness.)

Do you mind if I repost your post in my "acceptable building materials" thread?
 

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ana said:
Do you mind if I repost your post in my "acceptable building materials" thread?
No, I don't mind it at all.:) If I had known you were asking about good and bad building materials, I could have mentioned what I've read about MDF board and formaldehyde; sorry that I missed the thread.

Just to be sure, I quickly referred to Wikipedia on MDF board before posting my last comment, and here's an excerpt from what they said about it:

  • "...Formaldehyde resins are commonly used to bind MDF together, and testing has consistently revealed that MDF products emit formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds that pose health risks at sufficient concentrations, for at least several months after manufacture. Whether these chronic emissions reach harmful levels in real-world environments is not yet fully determined."
Since MDF and OSB disintegrate over time as Kalandra pointed out in this thread, I would be leery of using it, even if a sealer such as non-toxic Urethane is applied, just because we really don't know the adverse effects of those VOCs even on humans, let alone how they affect our quilled babies.:?
 

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hedgieMate said:
ana said:
Do you mind if I repost your post in my "acceptable building materials" thread?
No, I don't mind it at all.:) If I had known you were asking about good and bad building materials, I could have mentioned what I've read about MDF board and formaldehyde; sorry that I missed the thread.

Just to be sure, I quickly referred to Wikipedia on MDF board before posting my last comment, and here's an excerpt from what they said about it:

  • "...Formaldehyde resins are commonly used to bind MDF together, and testing has consistently revealed that MDF products emit formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds that pose health risks at sufficient concentrations, for at least several months after manufacture. Whether these chronic emissions reach harmful levels in real-world environments is not yet fully determined."
Since MDF and OSB disintegrate over time as Kalandra pointed out in this thread, I would be leery of using it, even if a sealer such as non-toxic Urethane is applied, just because we really don't know the adverse effects of those VOCs even on humans, let alone how they affect our quilled babies.:?
Great, thanks! :) I'm going to try to start consolidating info I have sometime tonight for an acceptable/unacceptable list. :)

I'm glad I didn't go out and buy a bunch of MDF! :eek:
 

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Sorry if this idea isn't wanted, but I couldn't help but think of this as I was reading.

Besides water-resistant painting the wood, why not under the fleece liner put a liner of water-resistant material, such as something used in a rain coat. That way you have that fabric layer protecting the wood as well as the paint.
 
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