Outhouse Construction
version 2.1.0    09Jun2006

finished outhouse front view

Describing the Building of
A Deluxe One-Holer

outhouse pencil sketch outhouse CAD drawing
   Designing started out with a pencil sketch.    This high-tech project of course demanded computer-aided design. I used Ashlar Vellum v2.70.

outhouse base: 4x4s laid out in a square outhouse floor and seat construction
   The base was made from pressure-treated 4x4s glued and spiked together, with pipe clamps taking some twists out while the glue was drying. The longer 4x4s are 72 inches long and the shorter ones are 41 inches, spaced 48 inches apart outside-to-outside, giving a 4 foot by 4 foot base for the superstructure.    Floor and seat area were constructed from 2x12 planks, and the vertical framing from 2x4s, all solid-stained dark green before assembly. The seat is 18 inches above the floor.

outhouse roof framing outhouse siding
   Roof was framed with 2x4s. Roof angle is 30 degrees for a 4-in-12 pitch. I like lots of roof overhang, so this one extends 12 inches in all directions beyond the siding.
   When deciding on the height of the door opening, I didn't know what the building code specified, so I made it tall enough (83-1/2 inches) to suit my tallest friend "Stretch", who is 6 foot 7. The width of the door opening is 24 inches.
   Siding is 5/8 x 5 tongue-and-groove knotty pine stained chocolate brown.

outhouse shingles going on outhouse bottom panel
   I temporarily tipped the outhouse over to give better access to the roof. Seafoam solid-stained 3/4 x 4 planks were nailed on top of the frame, followed by tar paper, then wood shakes that had been dipped in Cabot's Silicone/Teflon waterproofing.    A panel of 5/8 plywood was added to brace and strengthen the bottom. The hole is lined with second-hand composition-coated 1/16 sheet steel pop-riveted into an 18-inch diameter cylinder to protect the wood from splatter.

outhouse icebox-style door hinge outhouse fabricated vent
   Scrounged door hinges look like they originally came from an icebox.    Traditional-looking vent is a 2" rain gutter downspout with a fabricated cone clamped on.

outhouse vintage door latch outhouse star-shaped vent
   I found this door latch in the weeds behind my house. It's perfect and even includes a locking lever.    I decided on a star window instead of a crescent moon after I read on John Loose's outhouse site (link at bottom of page) that a star meant GENTLEMEN and a moon meant LADIES. It seems outhouses with a moon window survived more often because the women took better care of their outhouses. The bug screen is scrounged from a frypan spatter shield.

finished outhouse interior view
   Interior is fitted out with an oak toilet seat, 2 oak towel racks, an oak handtowel loop, an oak bathrobe hook, and an oak toilet paper holder, all bought in a set for $20 new on eBay.

outhouse tied to back of pickup truck
   The finished weight is about 800 pounds. To move it to its permanent location in my back yard, I chained and roped it to the back of my '57 GMC NAPCO. There have to be some Grapes of Wrath jokes here. California or bust!

finished outhouse, front view
   The outhouse in its final resting spot, with a vineyard in the background. Anybody care for a specialty wine? The (deceased) satellite dish isn't hooked up to anything, it's just for fun. The concrete foundation posts are to keep the wood from rotting. Almost every bit of material that went into it was free. Many thanks to Bryce Mittelstadt of Camino, California for most of the wood and for his expert carpentering advice.

outhouse bottom corner caster    Future improvements might include storage shelves, indoor lighting, Christmas lights, and these large removable casters at the four corners to make moving easier.
   Growers in the Apple Hill area around Camino, California are invited to rent this outhouse to lend flavor to their harvest time public events. To stop people from actually using it and getting you in legal trouble, I suggest occupying it with a surprised-looking scarecrow.

Links to other outhouses:
Outhouses of America Tour   John Loose's huge outhouse site
An outhouse inspired by this webpage   Don Podesta and Paul Martino's project
Another outhouse inspired by this webpage   Bryce Wendland's project

Go to Roy Gardner's home page.