Building an Outhouse

If you're establishing a homestead in a remote area, building an outhouse is something you'll probably want to do in short order. A properly managed privy is at least as healthful for people and land as a septic system.



building an outhouse - surface outhouse
You can choose between pit-style or surface style when building an outhouse. This is a surface outhouse.
ILLUSTRATION: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
building an outhouse - dig pit
For the pit outhouse, dig an excavation that measures 3 1/2 feet x 3 1/2 feet and is five feet deep. This hole may later be cribbed in, but the cribbing is not absolutely essential.
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building an outhouse - forms for concrete
Build a wooden form in which you can pour a concrete ring sill that is four inches thick, with outside dimensions of 4'10" X 4'10" and that has a hole in its center measuring 3'8" X 3'8".
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building an outhouse - ring on pit
Center your concrete ring atop the pit. Next, build a second form in which a slab of concrete four feet square and 2 1/2" to 3" thick may be poured. If this slab is poured flat, a wooden riser box with cover will have to be constructed and mounted on the slab later. The riser may also be made of concrete and poured as part of the stab. All concrete should be suitably reinforced with steel rod, with eye and anchor bolts embedded in the sill and slab as needed.
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building an outhouse - plans for seat
This illustration shows a suggested seat and lid for either the wooden or concrete riser.
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building an outhouse - side vents
This version of the outhouse had screened, adjustable side vents for air flow.
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building an outhouse - frame and roof vent
The outbuilding should be framed in with 2 x 4's and a vent built for the pit. This vent may extend above the roofline as shown, or merely run out the back of the house.
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building an outhouse - texas department of health4
An outhouse frame as presented in the Texas Department of Health's now out of print Texas Community Sanitation Handbook. Note the door space is offset rather than centered.
TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
building an outhouse - texas department of health3
Form for casting concrete slab. From the Texas Community Sanitation Handbook.
TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
building an outhouse - texas department of health2
Three quarters view, from the Texas Community Sanitation Handbook.
TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
building an outhouse - texas department of health
Cross-sectional view of the Texas department of health outhouse.
TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
building an outhouse - texas department of health3
Plans for the riser from the Texas Community Sanitation Handbook.
TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH











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