Concrete forming tubes in DIY cat project?

luananeko

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I have to burn some vacation time this summer, so I decided to "Catify" my house to give my 4 kitties cat shelves/tunnels/etc to play on. I'm going with a Mario theme since I'm a huge video game nerd. As part of this project, I'd like to add a cat tunnel/walkway along the wall/ceiling on a hallway leading to my laundry room where the cat litter box is, but I'm not sure what the best solution would be... I want it to look nice, but keep costs reasonable. Seeing as how I have the Mario theme, I was thinking of having the tunnel look like a warp pipe :)

I've seen other people mention using the cardboard concrete forming tubes you can buy at Lowes/Home Depot/etc in their DIY cat scratching posts, but all the product reviews mention how thin and flimsy these tubes are. I'm worried that if I just attach them to the wall without any support underneath them that they'll deform under the weight of a 16lb cat running down them. But if I add a wood board under it for support, then it seems like it'd be cheaper to top the wood with fabric/carpet and use that as the walkway instead of bothering with a tube...

Has anyone used these concrete forming tubes in a DIY cat project before? Are they flimsy compared to a cats weight when used horizontally like I'm planning? Any other suggestions on what I could use for a reasonable cost DIY tunnel? Thanks!
 

cinqchats

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Hrm, I've purchased some at Menards before and I wouldn't say they were flimsy at all. Perhaps there are different grades of tubing? Of course if you're thinking of a really long run you'd need some extra supports in the middle anyways, anything will flex if long enough without enough supports.
 
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luananeko

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Hrm, I've purchased some at Menards before and I wouldn't say they were flimsy at all. Perhaps there are different grades of tubing? Of course if you're thinking of a really long run you'd need some extra supports in the middle anyways, anything will flex if long enough without enough supports.
Do you recall the brand of the tubes you used? From what I've read, Sonotubes are super sturdy, while the product reviews I've read have been for Quikcrete and Sakrete.

The hallway is 10ft long, so I was planning on having supports every so often in addition to where it would attach to the wall. Having a board run the entire length under the tube is what I'd like to avoid. 

About how often do you think I would need a support?
 
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luananeko

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A tunnel to look like those green pipes in the Mario games?
Here's something you may be able to adapt: http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/32752674?utm_source=Houzz&utm_campaign=u759&utm_medium=email&utm_content=gallery0 It uses Sonotubes.
Yep, that's almost precisely what I had in mind :D Sadly I'm having trouble finding a Sonotube supplier in my area (Portland Metro area, Oregon), which is why I was second guessing whether it was possible with any ol' concrete forming tube... Lowes and Home Depot both only stock Quikrete and Sakrete.
 

cinqchats

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Do you recall the brand of the tubes you used? From what I've read, Sonotubes are super sturdy, while the product reviews I've read have been for Quikcrete and Sakrete.

The hallway is 10ft long, so I was planning on having supports every so often in addition to where it would attach to the wall. Having a board run the entire length under the tube is what I'd like to avoid. 

About how often do you think I would need a support?
Ah, I purchased the sonotubes. I'd guess a support every 3' or so would be plenty, depending on if you attached it to the stud and how much weight the supports are rated for.
 
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luananeko

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Rats... Parr Lumber only carries Newark forming tubes. I can't find any equivalent performance metrics between Newark and Sonotube to see if they're comparative in strength 
 
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luananeko

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Sadly I've seen that already, and it only compares the strength of Newark tubes. There's no equivalent report on Sonotubes so I can compare results. Parr lumber only carries what they have and can't think of other options for sources that I haven't already tried (Home Depot and Lowes) :(
 
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luananeko

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Well, so far I've gotten zero response from Sonotube on what distributors they have in my area... I found another concrete supplies place down in Newberg (Delano Supply) that has them listed on their products list on their website so I've tried messaging them to see if I can get a quote. Here's hoping!
 
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