The Pack Report

Building Your Own Ice House: A Step-by-Step How-To Guide

An ice house is a traditional structure used to store ice, which was vital in the days before modern refrigeration. While we no longer need ice houses for preserving food, they make for exciting DIY projects and can serve as unique storage spaces or even backyard retreats. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the process of building your own ice house.

Materials and Tools You’ll Need

Before you start building your ice house, gather the following materials and tools:


  1. Lumber for the frame and walls.
  2. Plywood or tongue-and-groove boards for the exterior and interior walls.
  3. Insulation material (foam board or fiberglass).
  4. Roofing materials (shingles or metal sheets).
  5. Nails, screws, and construction adhesive.
  6. Hinges, latches, and a lock for the door.
  7. Weather stripping for the door.
  8. Paint or stain for finishing touches.


  1. Circular saw or hand saw.
  2. Hammer or nail gun.
  3. Screwdriver and screws.
  4. Measuring tape and level.
  5. Carpenter’s square.
  6. Insulation cutter (if using foam board).
  7. Paintbrushes and rollers.

Step-by-Step Guide to Building an Ice House

  1. Design Your Ice House
  • Determine the size and layout of your ice house. Consider the intended purpose and location.
  • Sketch a rough plan with measurements for the walls, roof, and door.
  1. Obtain Necessary Permits
  • Check local building codes and obtain any necessary permits or approvals before you start construction.
  1. Build the Foundation
  • Choose a suitable foundation, such as a concrete slab or piers. Ensure it is level and sturdy.
  1. Frame the Walls
  • Cut and assemble the wooden frame for the walls according to your design.
  • Leave openings for windows and the door, ensuring they are properly framed.
  1. Install Insulation
  • Apply insulation material within the wall cavities to maintain a consistent temperature inside the ice house.
  1. Exterior and Interior Walls
  • Attach plywood or tongue-and-groove boards to the exterior of the frame.
  • For the interior walls, you can use plywood, drywall, or another decorative material.
  1. Roofing
  • Build and install the roof structure, making sure it is secure and waterproof.
  • Cover the roof with your chosen roofing material, such as shingles or metal sheets.
  1. Windows and Ventilation
  • Install windows to provide natural light and ventilation. Seal them properly to prevent drafts.
  • Add vents or a small exhaust fan to regulate temperature and moisture.
  1. Door
  • Install a sturdy door with weather stripping to seal the ice house effectively.
  1. Finishing Touches
  • Paint or stain the exterior to protect the wood from the elements and enhance its appearance.
  • Add locks, latches, and any other hardware as needed.
  1. Interior Setup
  • Customize the interior to suit your intended use. Consider shelving, hooks, or storage solutions.
  1. Final Inspection
  • Conduct a thorough inspection to ensure all elements are secure, weatherproof, and up to code.

Building your own ice house can be a rewarding DIY project that combines functionality with creativity. Whether you intend to use it as a storage space, a backyard retreat, or just a unique conversation starter, following these steps will help you construct a functional and aesthetically pleasing ice house. Remember to consider your local building codes, safety precautions, and the intended purpose when planning and building your ice house.

Happy adventuring, friends!

Happy Adventures - Duluth Pack