Have you ever tried to put up an outhouse before? Me neither. But my man has! I’ve been observing his progress and have learned a thing or two about how to build a redneck outhouse. Just recently, I got to thinking that perhaps you might benefit from my vast knowledge on the subject.
Not that I built it. But anyway, here’s what I know!
Choosing The Location
When considering where to place your outhouse, choose a location that is private but also some distance (and primarily downwind) from your home.
That’s the first step.
If you have neighbors close by and plan to do outhouse runs in your whitey-titeys, be sure to choose an outhouse location that puts vegetation between you and them. Some neighbors get up at odd hours of the night. And they don’t always turn on the house lights. Particularly so, if they’re taking a moment to stargaze and soak in the beauty of the night.
Nature has many beautiful works to display, but you in your underwear aren’t one of them.
So choose a location for your outhouse where you can discreetly make the trip.
Also remember to keep your outhouse away from streams, creeks, dugouts and wells, or you may discover waste seeping into them. And no one wants that stuff in their water. Especially if you or your neighbor are drawing water from the creek/reservoir. It’s not only disgusting; it’s a health concern.
You and your outhouse might be redneck, but that’s no call to risk someone else’s neck…or bring a lawsuit down upon yourself.
And if you live in a community, be aware that some areas have bylaws regarding such things. They aren’t always welcoming to redneck outhouses. So check into it before moving ahead.
Digging a Hole
All redneck outhouses start with a deep hole. Meaning at least 4 feet down. It doesn’t matter how you dig it: shovel by hand, use heavy duty equipment or make use of a stick of dynamite. Just be sure it’s deep because 1.) you’re going to be filling it up with waste, 2.) you’ll likely add soil, wood ash or sawdust to keep smells and flies under control and 3.) once it nearly fills up, you’ll want to cover the hole with a hefty layer of soil and move the outhouse to a new location.
So dig it deep if you’re actually planning to use it!
Preparing the Outhouse Foundation
A lasting structure begins with a good foundation. And a redneck outhouse is worth doing right. You’ll be especially grateful for this when time comes to move on, leaving greener pastures behind.
You’ll need a pallet or two for your outhouse frame to stand on. If you want get fancy, you can even put a pallet just outside the front door…if you have a door, that is. In the winter months, it’s nice to step up onto a ‘porch’ before entering your outhouse building.
But that’s only for prestigious rednecks. If you don’t consider yourself to be in that league, you’d better not. The others might feel you’re trying to live above your means.
Place your first foundational pallet down. Make sure the back end is several inches past the cavity in the ground. Using the hole as your guide, cut a round circle from the pallet. Your “toilet seat” will sit directly above this.
Constructing the Outhouse Frame
Anything will do for a redneck outhouse, so long as it offers protection. However, in the ideal situation, you’d use the old lumber lying around. You’ll also need oddly shaped bits and pieces of plywood. Know those pieces you couldn’t use for anything else? They’re perfect for this job!
You’ll want tin for the roof. The more colors you can find, the better. And if you have an old, unused chicken house on the property, it’s door will do just fine!
Once you’ve collected supplies, take your boards and frame in four walls, the doorway and a roof. There’s no need to frame in windows. Redneck outhouses have plenty of airflow and light without them!
Important note: if you have a few pieces of rotten lumber, use them on the walls. You don’t want the roof falling in! That would be an insult to your handiwork.
Once the frame is up, begin siding it with your random plywood shapes. Redneck outhouse walls never fit together perfectly. There are always gaps somewhere. Try to keep the majority of them above waist height.
Piece together the tin roof and hang the door. Make sure it’s missing at least one hinge. That’s how you’re suppose to style it. It’s called “shabby chic-neck.”
Oh, and be sure to save two pieces of plywood. You’ll need them to construct a seat. Unless you don’t want to be comfortable while spending time in your new building….
Crafting the Outhouse Seat
Take those two lengths of plywood. Try to use pieces that haven’t start rotting yet! Unless of course, you like adventures that include falling into deep, dark holes.
Somehow, find a way to fasten horizontal and vertical piece in the form of a seat: one to sit on and one to hold the seat up. If you have screws, it helps! And don’t ask me for specifics on how to do this. Rednecks never ask for detailed instructions. They wouldn’t follow them, even if they could.
Then, cut a hole in the horizontal seat piece, directly above the earthen hole.
If females will be using the outhouse, you should also cut off the end of a 5 gallon bucket and fasten it to the underside of the hole in the plywood seat (again, don’t ask me how). That way, everything will be channeled where it ought to go.
Preparing the Seat for Business
In the summertime, you can put up with just about any kind of seat. But if you’re using the outhouse in the winter, you’ll want something that doesn’t absorb the cold. Because bare bums don’t like cold seats. Neither do the people that belong to them.
Instead of being uncomfortable all winter, take a square of Styrofoam insulation (don’t use the fiberglass stuff) and, measuring off the seat, cut a hole in the approximate location needed. Put it down and your winter experience will be less numbing.
If perchance the roof drips water all over the foam, you might want to keep an old toilet seat in your cabin or whatever you’re living in at the time.
Take it with you when you go and bring it back when you come. It’ll keep your skin off the ice that forms when the ceiling drips water.
Complete With Finishing Touches
If you have electricity, put up a heat lamp. If you raise birds of any kind, you’ll have a heat lamp on hand. Shove the cord through one of the holes in the outhouse wall and fix it above the seat. It won’t really warm you in winter temperatures, but it’ll keep you from getting frostbite.
Continue with the finishing work by driving a nail into the wall. There, you can hang a roll of toilet paper where it can be easily accessed.
Add a few crocheted doilies and a stack of magazines if you’d like!
And then? You have a fully functioning, redneck outhouse. It’s something to be proud of, really. You’re the owner of a unique, one-of-a-kind building. You can rest assured there isn’t another one like it on the planet.
Besides, there’s nothing like owning a building that screams your name. And if you’re redneck, that is something to be proud of.