Modern Outbuilding | Outhouse Design – Instructions

Outbuildings or “out houses” serves the same purpose it has for centuries. This simple design can function for a utility shed. Design approaches for functioning buildings can include sinks and showers, but for our this project we will not use running water. Human waste has forever been the number one pollutant for man kind. In the end the needs justifies the means. Whether you need an emergency outbuilding on a large expanse of farm land, next to your remote workshop, or just in your back yard for conversation, this little design will serve you well.

Outhouse – A Simple Design

This 4′ x 4′ plan is easily built from materials available at your local lumber store. Septic systems and sewage services dominate the scene today for handling this waste. For our purposes we will use an inexpensive portable type of toilet that is used primarily for camping purposes.

This design is quite portable and if you think you may ever move the outbuilding, then do not permanently attach it to anything. All you really need for the foundation is an 8″ x 16″ block under each corner.

  • Build a frame of treated 2 x 4’s so the outside dimensions are 4′ x 4′. One joist in the center will do fine.
  • Cut a sheet of 4 x 8 x 3/4″ sub-flooring in half and attach one half of it to the 2 x 4 frame.
  • Level the floor on its foundation (an block under each corner).
  • Cut four 2 x 4’s 78″ for the main wall. Assemble them with a 4′ wall plate on each end. Space the studs so 24″ is left in the center for the door.
  • Cut three 2 x 4’s 77″ for the back wall so the roof will have fall to it and nail them inside of 4′ wall plates.
  • The two side walls will have one stud 77″, one stud 78″, and the center stud will be 77 1/2″. The wall plates will be 41″.
  • Stand the walls and nail them off.
  • Repeat step one for the roof top. The other half of the flooring will be a little narrow but it will work fine.
  • Plumb the walls with 4 x 8 siding (such as T 111) cut to fit from the bottom of the floor to the top of the roof.
  • Cut out the siding for door in the center of the main wall and attach hinges to the removed piece. Use a small hinge. The door is very light weight.
  • The metal for the roof will need to be about 4′ 6″ long and cover about the same amount on the length. See How to Install Metal Roof for application details.
Floor plan for modern outhouse

This is as about as simple a floor plan as there could possibly be.

Outbuildings – Things You Should Know

  • The waste from an outbuilding facility should be handled just like the waste from your home. It should never be recycled for any purpose or disposed of by directing into a body of water or a hole in the ground.
  • There are other ways to dispose of waste including toilets that incinerate the waste. These are ideal but expensive.
  • Building codes in most areas require a portable restroom be present at all times and serviced weekly. Some codes are much more severe. The governing officials over these matters typically frown on home built facilities.
  • Even though this about as small and simple as a construction project can be, there are still hazards that come along with building anything.