Author Topic: Designing/Building an Outhouse on the Cheap  (Read 4291 times)

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Offline Adam Roby

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Designing/Building an Outhouse on the Cheap
« on: May 21, 2014, 04:01:43 PM »
Buddy of mine has asked me to design an outhouse for him with some pretty tight restrictions.  The siding must be limited to 1x6 treated fence board (5', 6' and 8' lengths) and the framing has to be treated 2x4's.  He wants the design to allow for the walls, floor and roof to be built at home, then assembled at the site like a puzzle.  I started working on this design but am fearing it may not hold up so well.  It must be 4' wide and 5' deep, figuring with an 8' front wall and a 6' back wall to shed the snow.  It will either have a 50 gallon plastic drum 1/2 buried in the ground or have a removable bucket that can be emptied (he wants me to account for both possibilities).

I will post some preliminary drawings tomorrow night, I forgot to send the sketchup plans home and I can't post from work (the server blocks me). 
He said I can go 6" on center for the floor (using 2x4) but absolutely does not want anything bigger (I suggested 2x6).  He is a pretty heavy guy, probably doubling my size and I am near 200 lbs.  We will have 4 post blocks holding this thing up... and I think he wanted to cap the budget around the $250 mark, but I think that will be bust.

Anyone ever design and build something with such constraints?  It will be a challenge for sure, but I think I am up to the task.  I would hate to go through all that work for it to fall apart though.  The wood must be bought this weekend so I am in a time crunch, we are supposed to do the build next weekend and go up to install it in the country the weekend after.

Offline rich2Vermont

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Re: Designing/Building an Outhouse on the Cheap
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2014, 12:34:39 AM »
I once considered building this Cottage Life outhouse (http://cottagelife.com/files/2011/05/Privy-Plan.pdf), which looks awesome. But their estimate of material cost is $1000. I think that might be in 1999 dollars (but may be Canadian dollars). Maybe using recycled materials would keep the cost down. We opted for a "temporary" shower tent instead, now going on 4 years.

Offline Adam Roby

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Re: Designing/Building an Outhouse on the Cheap
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2014, 01:13:41 PM »
The road to hell is paved with good intentions...  this stupid design/plan went south and turned the friendship upside down.  Why do people ask you for help and then criticize every single decision?  I worked my rear end off for hours on end, and was met with comments like "is it the tool you are using that sucks or are you just using it wrong".  He wanted it to be strong but refused any members larger and 2x4, wanted to waste the least amount of wood possible, and wanted it to be built in sections that could be easily assembled at the land because there is no power.  I made it so the wall framing would double as the "girder" for the floor joists, making sure the joists ran the width of 4' rather than the depth of 5' (to not waste cuts of wood).  His reply... "don't put wood on top of each other like that, it is a stupid way to build".  Meaning he thinks butting the ends of the 2x4s up to the sides of the wall using nothing more than the nails themselves would be stronger... he weights probably more than 400 lbs.  Insisted that putting the joists on the 5' run would make more sense because the 3' pieces could be used "somewhere else".  He insisted on screws and when I showed him at 80% complete that there was already over 400 1 1/4" screws and 180 2 1/2" screws he freaked... something to the tune of "you only need 1 screw at each end of the 1"x"6"x8' plank, who taught you how to build - someone that has too much money and insists on wasting as much as possible?"

So friends, if anyone ever asks you to design them something, make sure they have their heads screwed on tight before you start because it could mean the end of a friendship.  I doubt we are at that critical of a point, but you better believe I won't be helping him build this thing - which means it will probably never get built.  It will probably be a few months before we even talk to one another again.  So much for parking a trailer on his land this summer.

Offline MountainDon

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Re: Designing/Building an Outhouse on the Cheap
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2014, 02:05:07 PM »
I suppose the good thing is it wasn't a larger project. ???   Gotta find the silver lining...  Hope you're not out any cash.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2014, 05:22:54 PM by MountainDon »
Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn’t mean it is good design.

Offline Don_P

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Re: Designing/Building an Outhouse on the Cheap
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2014, 05:06:00 PM »
If it helps, I've got a list of those a mile long.  Life generally offers us the test repeatedly until we learn the lesson  d*.
"Never assume malice when stupidity will suffice".

Offline Adam Roby

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Re: Designing/Building an Outhouse on the Cheap
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2014, 05:32:02 PM »
I suppose you are right... live and learn.  I am just glad I did not purchase that trailer at the beginning of the week, would have been stuck with it now.  I have turned my attention to purchasing a parcel of land a bit closer to home as a result. 

Offline hpinson

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Re: Designing/Building an Outhouse on the Cheap
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2014, 06:08:47 PM »
If you had built it, good thing it would not have had a deep hole. I can just picture a 400# guy falling  through rotten 2x4 supported flooring into a six foot deep hole-in-the-ground.

I think mine cost around $750. That was mainly for the cement, some treated 2x6's, cedar posts, the plywood skin, the linoleum flooring, the fiberglass throne, and the metal roofing which I also used as siding.  The door came cheap at a Habitat for Humanity sale for about $10.  The hardest and most time consuming part was digging the 6' hole by hand.

I think it will last awhile so feel it was worth the expense.




 

Offline Adam Roby

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Re: Designing/Building an Outhouse on the Cheap
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2014, 06:36:12 PM »
That is my take on any build I do... why not make it last?  It may cost 20% more, but if it lasts 10x longer it is win win.  This guy has some strange ideas, thinks anything more than 1/4" ply on a roof is overkill... there is no reasoning with someone like that.

If you all will indulge me... this is my 100th post!  I feel like I am part of the family!  :)

Offline hpinson

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Re: Designing/Building an Outhouse on the Cheap
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2014, 06:45:45 PM »
Well, to celebrate your 100th:

The Outhouses of America Tour!

http://www.jldr.com/ohindex.shtml

And

http://www.jldr.com/sitemap.html


 

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