Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How to Build an Outhouse


Not everybody enjoys the benefits of indoor plumbing. There are third world countries where plumbing is non-existent and there's a need for outhouses. There are instances when you may have to build an outhouse. For example, if you purchase a cabin on a campsite and there's no sewer system on the site, you'll need to build an outhouse to avoid health issues that can arise otherwise. You will now learn how to build an outhouse.

Materials needed:

Here's what to do:

  1. Choose the right location. Choose a spot away from where people may congregate. It's preferable that the outhouse is near running water, such as a stream or lake so you can fetch some water to clean out the pit.
  2. Dig a pit at least 3 feet-by-3 feet (91.4 centimeters-by-91.4 centimeters) and 5-feet (152.4 centimeters) deep.
  3. Make a floor. The floor can either be wood or concrete. If you use wood, cut a piece of plywood larger than the hole. Cut a hole the same size as the one you dug in the center of the plywood. If you make a concrete floor, make two wood frames on the ground around the hole with 1-by-2s. One frame should be about 3 feet (91.4 centimeters) away from the hole. The other frame should be directly around the hole. Pour the concrete in between the frames. Let the concrete dry for 24 hours [source: Mighty Guide].
  4. Place a toilet on the floor over the hole [source: Do It Yourself]. This step is optional.
  5. Build a small shed out of plywood around the pit. Remember to cut a door in one of the walls. Hang the door with two hinges [sources: Mighty Guide, Do It Yourself].

More to Explore