How to build an outhouse with plans

Written by lisa bass
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How to build an outhouse with plans
A well-designed outhouse is an efficient part of many properties around the country. (Well Preserved Wooden Outhouse-Bodie,Ca image by Tahoe Bearables from

When moving to a remote homestead with no plumbing, an outhouse quickly moves from a quaint decoration and conversational piece to an absolute necessity. Contrary to popular myth, a sturdy, well-designed and maintained outhouse is not a dingy latrine. You should check with local zoning or building codes before constructing an outhouse to determine permit and design rules.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Shovel
  • Cement mix
  • Lumber
  • Toilet seat
  • Hinges
  • Door latch
  • Tin roofing

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  1. 1

    Find a level area not too far from your home for your outhouse. Locate it on the edge of a slope, if possible. The slope will make it easier for you to rake out its contents every one or two months.

  2. 2

    Build a concrete platform for the front two-thirds of your outhouse. The concrete platform should be about 6 inches high. Use steel reinforcing bars in the concrete to make sure the platform doesn't shift or crack. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to allow time for the concrete to dry and cure.

  3. 3

    Follow the plan design to build the outhouse toilet and frame. Use thick boards nailed over plywood sides to add insulation to the outhouse. Position the roof where it overlaps the entire outhouse. Be sure the rear of the outhouse has an 18-inch-high, hinged door for waste removal and that the plan includes a vent.

  4. 4

    Adapt plans if necessary to leave room in the outhouse for an airtight, covered bucket or two to store wood ashes and lime. These materials will prevent the waste from smelling. Keep a rake in the outhouse to remove waste from the rear, hinged gate every month or two.

Tips and warnings

  • There are dozens of online free plans for outhouses. Don't reinvent the wheel -- or the outhouse, in this case. Not all plans call for a concrete platform, but don't be afraid to tinker with the design to build a more functional, sturdy outhouse.

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