I know. It’s been a while since I posted anything on building our outhouse.
I know you have been waiting with baited breath to see our next step! 😉
We have been using the outhouse for more than a year now and have a very strong opinion about it…
WE LOVE IT!
Does it smell bad? Not really. Every few days or so we throw in either a sprinkling of lime or a cupful of composted wood chips. This helps keep down smells and also moves the natural composting along. I have heard that you can throw some red worms down into the pit and they will naturally compost the contents, but we haven’t tried that trick yet.
Once we got settled up here, we knew we wanted to finish off the outhouse, especially with some interior walls. I hate spiders and I think every spider within the vicinity of the outhouse set up housekeeping in the corners of the 4 x 4 framing studs! We wanted to use something sturdy for the walls that won’t attract moisture, and decided to use siding! You know… the stuff you put on the outside of your house? It was reasonable in price, sturdy, easily cut and painted very well. We didn’t insulate the walls because, for heaven’s sake, it’s an outhouse! 😉
When we remodeled our master bathroom a couple of years ago, we kept part of the old vanity, and a few modifications made it the perfect fit for our outhouse. The under sink storage would come in handy. The vanity was made from oak and was very sturdy, but had a few dings and scratches in the finish. I could either sand it down, restain the wood and reseal it, or I could lightly sand the glitches and scuff the surface, then paint. I opted to paint. Since I didn’t want to do too much sanding, I decided to use a fairly dark brown spray paint, which would help hide the imperfections in the wood.
Years ago (more years than I care to admit) I worked in a tile store, and was lucky enough get a lot of free discontinued or defective tile. I once acquired 14 cases of 4″ x 4″ beige tile because the manufacturer found that the color was off just the slightest bit! Between the free tile and the left-over tile from many projects over the years, I had saved a lot of tile. Seriously – a lot!
So… what to do with so much tile?
Why, tile the outhouse, of course!
The first thing I had to do was organize my tile. I had boxes and boxes of this and that – beautiful blue 4 x 6 tiles, gorgeous multicolored 1 x 1 tiles, and hundreds of white, off-white, gray, almond, tan, beige, bone, etc., 4 x 4’s and 6 x 6’s. I had end caps galore, along with bullnose and quarter-rounds in lots of different colors.
But, the one thing I didn’t have enough of was floor tile. I really wanted to tile the floor because tile is so much easier to keep clean than bare concrete. We went to our local Habitat For Humanity’s Re-Store and found the perfect tile! I didn’t need many square feet to cover the floor and I found eleven 12 x 12 floor tiles for only 50 cents each! Sold!
After working out the number of tiles I would need for the vanity top and the bench seat, I thought the result would look just a little bland all in almond and white, so I decided to add a band of these brilliant blue 4 x 4 tiles. The blue in these 4 x 4’s brought out the blue accents in the floor tiles! Perfect!
Laying the floor tile was easy. I purchased a simple tile saw several years ago at one of the big box stores for about $80, and it has come in handy many, many times. Since I had more tile than I really needed for the floor, I decided to use the excess as a floor edging, bringing the tile up the sides of the wall. This would make it a lot easier to keep the floor clean because I would be able to basically hose it off! I used thinset adhesive to set the floor tiles because I was tiling over a concrete floor and sides.
When the floor was completed, I began to set the tile on the vanity countertop. First to set
were the edge pieces. Since I didn’t have any corners for the edges, I had to cut them myself, which can be tricky. I messed up on only one piece which was lucky, because I only had one to spare! Whew! Once all the edges were set, I placed all the field tile – that’s the 4 x 4’s on the sink counter and the 6 x 6’s on the bench seat.
Meanwhile, Ray was cutting holes through the outhouse wall right behind the vanity. These holes allowed us to install a couple of hoses, so that we could have running water in the sink! A sink in an outhouse? You betcha!
This sink came from my grandma and grandpa’s hotel. The hotel was built in 1872 and had old sinks, clawfoot tubs, armoires for closets, and pull-chain toilets! Before it was torn down my family was able to get some of the better pieces. Just a little bit of elbow grease and some cleanser and the sink looked almost new again! The old faucet pieces and parts weren’t useable, so we opted to use the hole on the right for a single faucet (only cold water would be supplied to the outhouse) and the hole on the left for a liquid soap dispenser, both of which we bought from a hardware store for less than $20.
A few days after the tile had been set it was time to grout. I had three partial boxes of grout to choose from. One was a creamy yellow. Nope. The other was gray. Nuh-Uh. The last one was a color called “camel”. The color on the box showed a reddish, almost orange-ish brown, which is the color of our dirt! So that was the one – camel!
I decided to grout everything, even the counter-top and bench seat, with the camel colored grout. I knew it would hide our dirt well, and was very pleased with the outcome. Once the grout was allowed to set for 48 hours, Ray installed the sink. The sink is supplied water from our water tower, which was built up the hill from the outhouse and is approximately 20 feet tall (height adds water pressure). Several long garden hoses snake through the forest on our property from the tower to the outhouse, through the hole Ray cut in the wall and up to the faucet. The waste water (which is considered gray water) is drained from the sink with a short hose out into the fern grove we are planting around the outhouse.
Then, what would an outhouse and sink be without a medicine cabinet? My oldest sister, Deana, was remodeling her new home and didn’t want the old medicine cabinet that was in
the bathroom, so I took it. It was a little rough around the edges and had a few layers of paint on it, but I felt that was what gave it so much charm. So, I decided to gently sand off the loose paint and leave the cabinet in it’s charming, well used condition. When Ray mounted the cabinet into the wall, I knew it was perfect!
Now I needed to finish the edges! You see, the tile I used had raw edges. That’s what field tile is – tile with unfinished (unglazed) edges. We remedied that with some left over decorative wood molding. We did have to buy a bit more to finish under the vanity, but all in all, the finish work in this outhouse cost us very little. Now, while we are living in our travel trailer as we build our new home here on the homestead, our family and friends have a decent, functional and (I think) cute place to use when nature calls!
Other than landscaping, painting the outside and building a front porch/stair up to the outhouse, it is pretty much done!
Would you use my outhouse?
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