May 102011

Hey, Jeremy here,

And you’re reading about my battle with the internet as I was looking for good outhouse plans for my cottage outhouse (eventually I won). But note that this is just about my experiences. If you’re looking for actual outhouse plans, then you can skip my story and find the same plans I ended up using (selected out of dozens), when you click here and go to Ted’s Woodworking Plans.

Why am I writing this? Well, when I was looking for quality outhouse plans, there weren’t many useful plans around, so I thought I’d write quickly about my experience to help any of you who are in the same position I was.

Keep in mind that I only have average experience; I did make a doghouse, a couple bird-houses, shelves, and a coffee table. I don’t fancy myself a woodworking-superman, so whenever possible I want the instructions and guides that I use to be as complete as possible. Perhaps you can better work off of limited (or incomplete) information, and if so, you might as well leave my site and just go begin your project, cause I’ll be sharing some of my pitfalls here.

Basically the problem wasn’t finding outhouse plans, it was finding good outhouse plans. I’m still not that internet savvy, and when I was looking for the outhouse plans I remember I spend an entire afternoon searching both on google and yahoo. What I found looked alright…at first glance. I found modern outhouse plans, and got some great outhouse ideas, and printed a bunch of stuff. To be honest, I actually thought that I struck gold with a couple of the ones I printed and decided to try and follow one of them. So I printed the instructions as well, bought cedar at the Home Depot and began working.

My first surprise was near the middle/end of the project when I was making the door. You want to guess what the problem was? Almost. It DID fit, but while the final design was supposed to have it swing outside, following the instructions got it to open inside; hitting the ‘seat’ as it did. Something was clearly messed up…

With a bit of difficulty I remounted the hinges, stopper, and modified the frame and step, and made it work, though I wish I didn’t have to do that extra work.

A couple weeks later I learned just how badly the outhouse needed fresh air, and just how difficult it was to clean the darn thing! So I made up my mind to make another one. I’m not going to bore you with the details, but know that because I had a better grasp of what pitfalls to expect, I was able to catch missing parts in the plans I was about to use. Some looked major, some were minor, but the minor ones (like missing dimensions for the vent’s rain guard) discredited the rest of the instructions.

My wife and older daughter started teasing me, while I myself was getting a bit frustrated with the entire thing, so I went on another search. This time I was willing to spend a few bucks just to get quality instruction. So after careful review of the plans for sale, I ended up selecting those that I thought were the best.

I got 3 great outhouse plans & another 10,000 plans for other woodworking projects. Click here if you want to see them

I ended up using Ted’s Woodworking Plans, because I came across a few recommendations, and because they received the Woodworker’s Association’s Reader’s Choice Award the previous year.

At the end, they were very much worth the $60 or $70 that I spend (I don’t remember the exact price), since in addition to the huge database of plans, I also got access to a private community of woodworkers (they provide great advice and share their projects). Oh! and my lifetime membership gives me access to new plans, which are added regularly.

I made a new outhouse following all the steps, and have no complaints. If not for the actual ‘building’ I bet that even my wife would have been able to follow the instructions.

My only issue with Ted’s plans were that I thought they would all look like this:
what outhouse plans should look like

But the outhouse plans were not in color. Though they were still very clear and all parts were easy to identify in black-and-white too.

Other than that, Ted’s Outhouse Plans offered me very good project instructions, and if I had to buy them again, I would (Even if I didn’t get the other 10,000+ plans that I have now.)

My recommendation: If you want to save yourself the headache of having to redo work, pick those plans that a lot of other independent amateur woodworkers recommend.

I’m sure that there are other good ones, but the ones that I strongly recommend are: Ted’s Plans. Click HERE to get them.

They are perfect for my needs, and I don’t have to worry about looking for good plans ever again. Whatever I need is either in the database, or another member can give me.

(PS And if you do end up joining as one of the members, you can send me a message: my username is redwooder)


Out House
(I still need to take a picture, maybe next time I go to the cottage I’ll take it)

Apr 182011

Hi, Jeremy here,

This is my second site, and I want to share with you what I think you should look for when you select your outhouse plans. When I was searching, I came across lots of information and many plans, but a lot of them were not too detailed. As a result I really spend a lot of time searching, and I hope to save you from that. But then again, if you don’t care, then just search along and who knows maybe you’ll find some modern outhouse plans, will try them, and after making the mistakes I made will come back.

Like I said there are many plans for your shed, porch or outhouse available on the internet. A lot of them look great at first glance, but if you haven’t done many projects, there might be certain elements you may overlook. Whenever you get outhouse plans for you home renovation project you should therefore look at:

  • quality images
  • description for each part
  • step-by-step instructions
  • list of materials
  • estimated project time

All these components will make a big difference for the success of your project. If something from the above list is missing, then it could be a good indication that the plans will be missing something else. For example you can read about my cottage outhouse troubles by clicking here.

Apr 112011

Hey Jeremy here,

If you’re wondering how to build an outhouse I hope to help a bit.

While I’m not going to provide you with any modern outhouse plans, I will go over the basics of outhouse toilet construction.

You need to select the location at least 300 feet from the water supply or running water (lakes, streams etc). The area should also be at least 300 feet from the area where people go and gather. Clear the area and pave it if needed.

Make a Pit
Outline the area for the hole and start digging. Typically the size is 3 by 3 feet. With the depth of at least five feet, though you can always go bigger. When you dig, try to keep the sides as straight as possible.

You have a choice of concrete or wood. Measure twice and cut a hole in the wood, or leave a space in the concrete form that is the same size as the pit.

Make a Cover
While this step is optional, though I recommend that you do not skip it. Using some left-over wood boards. Cut some pieces to make a box-shape, and make a hole in it to use as a cover. You can also modify it a bit to make it into a comfortable seat, but if not, it will have to do. You can also use roll roofing for a pit cover.

Walls, Roof and Door
Perhaps this is the most difficult part of the entire construction. Carefully measuring out your wood, combine the planks into four sections (one of them can be just a frame for the door). Put them in place. and nail or screw them together.

As for the door; fit a couple of hinges on it and fasten it with screws to the frame. You can also add steps when you build an outhouse, especially if you elevate it a bit. A roof can be made from just about any material, but make sure you secure it firmly from the wind.

Make it look good
Finally paint it, and add lighting and a shelf to hold extra toilet paper

This is just the very simplest of descriptions. For detailed outhouse construction I recommend you refer to quality outhouse plans, which you can find on the right hand side, or by clicking here and going to the Plans page.