Do it Yourself – Build an Outhouse

An outhouse is basically a lavatory outdoors. It comprises of a dug out pit over which an enclosure is built. Outhouses have evolved from the dreadful hole in the ground that an enclosure was constructed around. Many persons will,however, find the necessity for an outhouse. For example: going to an area that doesn’t have the luxury of an interior plumbing system or even having a secluded cabin set up somewhere or at camping sites may mean it is economical as well as realistic to build your personal outhouse. This guide will give someone with introductory structural knowledge to follow the step by step instructions to build an outhouse.

Planning for constructing the outhouse:

You will require the following:


Measuring tape

Choosing the right point

An outhouse is required to be be built 300 feet or greater from water supplies or running water (rivers, lakes, springs etc.) It should also be a low traffic spot for people.

Dig the Pit

The average size for the pit is a square about 2 feet in width and approximately 5 feet deep. Excavate the pit with the shovel to these specifications monitoring the depth with the tape measure as you dig.

Building the Outhouse:

Necessary Tools and Materials

2×4″ stock

4×4″ corner post

1×4″ stock

Nails (nail gun cartridges)


Roofing paper & shingles

PVC piping and flange

Hammer (nail gun)

Circular saw/table saw


Tape measure


Instructions to build the Outhouse

Step one: Construct the Footers and Frames

The outhouse will have three horizontal ribs: one at the base, the second on the seating system and the third to the ceiling. Construct the frames and nail them together.

Use the 2×4 as the feet the outhouse will stand on.

Step two: Posts

Use the 4 4×4 corner posts to finish the outside frame of the box. Drill and bolt the frames to the corner supports.

Step three: Seating

The searing rib will be based about 14″ from the ground. The hole of the seat should be rectangular and should measure between 8-10″ wide and 18-20″ long.

Cut out and place the boards for the seats and then attach them to the framing rib, then attach the seat.

Step four: Walls

If the outhouse is going to be utilized seasonally, one alternative is to use a canvas wall and attach it to the frame with a roofing line. This way it can be easily taken up and transported.

For wooden walls, use 2×4’s nailed to three sides of the frame. The side left open will be the one to be used for the door which will be constructed next.

Step five: Roof and Door

Outhouses will not necessitate much roofing support. Measure and notch the lower portion of the roof support beams and then fix the more 2×4 planks on top.

For the door, make a Z frame and affix lightweight wood stock to the exterior.

Install vertical planks between the upper frame and the base frame. Attach this to the open side of the outhouse using hinges.

Tip and Warning:

1) If you are making an outhouse in your backyard (for a woodwork project) be sure to check local construction codes and licenses. If the construction is being done for actual use, check with local land agencies to be sure there are no water sources close by.

Source by Brit Bailey