How to Build an Outhouse

An outhouse is a small movable structure used as a toilet. It has no plumbing, sewer, or septic system. The outhouse is built separately from the main building or the house, but near enough to provide easy access. It is far enough from the house so that the foul smell will not enter the house. They should be located far from deep wells and water systems to avoid contamination and disease.

Here are steps in building and outhouse:

1. Construct a large box with three horizontal frames:

  • one for the roof part
  • one for the seating system, preferably no more than 14 inches from the floor
  • one for the base

Nail or bolt the frames into four corner posts, which are strong enough to hold the structure firmly, and light enough for it to be easily transferred.

2. Build the seat. Most outhouses have seats with rectangular instead of circular holes. Such holes are often 8-10 inches wide and 18-20 inches long. Attach the seat to the frame.

3. For the walls, cover it entirely with canvass, plywood, or other material that is strong enough to protect the user from the elements. Attach the walls to the exterior of the corner posts and the frames. Do not forget to leave a door opening.

4. A very simple design will do for the roof, as long as the roof beams are stable and firmly attached to the main frame of the outhouse. Ceilings are no longer necessary. Grass can be used for roofing but tin roofs are more common.

5. For the door, construct first a Z frame and cover with canvass, plywood, or any material you see fitting. Attach it to the main outhouse frame. You can put whatever lock you want.

6. Finally, dig a hole to the ground, which is two to three feet deep and two feet square. The ground around the hole should be level. Put the outhouse over the hole, check around for spaces, and cover them with dirt to close the gaps.

7. You can also put ventilation to your outhouse by putting little windows where you can attach a screen or mesh.

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