How to Build a Single-chamber Bat House

Build this wall-mounted bat house to foster bat habitats on the farm.

by Dani Yokhna
PHOTO: Cape Serotine Bat by Bernard DUPONT on flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

Bats in the U.S. can be extremely helpful to farmers wanting to control pest populations around their crops. Offer these flying miracle workers a place to stay on your farm by building and installing bat houses.

Illustration courtesy Bat Conservation International
Illustration courtesy Bat Conservation International


  • 26½- by 24-inch piece 1/2-inch AC, BC or T1-11 outdoor-grade plywood (backboard)
  • 5- by 24-inch piece 1/2-inch AC, BC or T1-11 outdoor-grade plywood (landing area)
  • 16½- by 24-inch piece 1/2-inch AC, BC or T1-11 outdoor-grade plywood (front board)
  • 1 pint dark, water-based stain, exterior grade
  • 1 1×2 pine furring strip in 24-inch length
  • 2 1×2 pine furring strips in 20½-inch lengths
  • one tube paintable latex caulk
  • 20 to 30 1-inch exterior-grade screws
  • 1 pint water-based primer, exterior grade
  • 1 quart flat, water-based paint or stain, exterior grade
  • 1×4 board in 28-inch length (optional, but highly recommended for roof)
  • black asphalt shingles or galvanized metal (optional)
  • 6 to 10 7/8-inch roofing nails (if using shingles or metal roofing)


  • table saw or handsaw
  • caulking gun
  • variable-speed reversing drill
  • paintbrushes
  • screwdriver bit for drill
  • hammer (optional)
  • tape measure or yardstick
  • tin snips (optional)

Step 1

Roughen inside of backboard and landing area by cutting horizontal grooves with a sharp object or saw. Space grooves 1⁄4 inch to 1⁄2 inch apart, cutting 1⁄32 inch to 1⁄16 inch deep.

Step 2

Apply two coats of dark, water-based stain to interior surfaces. Do not use paint, as it will fill grooves.

Step 3

Attach furring strips to inside of backboard using 1-inch screws, caulking first. Start with 24-inch piece at top and space each additional strip at 3/4-inch intervals. This will be the roost chamber.

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Step 4

Starting with the top furring strip, attach front board to furring strips using 1-inch screws (caulk first). Leave 1⁄2-inch vent space between top and bottom front pieces.

Step 5

Caulk all outside joints to further seal roost chamber.

Step 6

Attach roof (optional, but highly recommended) with 1-inch screws.

Step 7

Apply three coats of flat stain or paint to the exterior. Use primer for first coat.

Step 8

Cover roof with shingles or galvanized metal (optional) using roofing nails.

Step 9

Mount on barn or other farm structure. South or east sides usually work best.

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