The Waraas.Com Logo - Click To Go To The Waraas.Com Homepage

How Much Does It Cost to Build an Outhouse in Idaho?

Thumbnail image for How Much Does It Cost to Build an Outhouse in Idaho?

By Jon Waraas - First Published: June 7th, 2024

Correction: How Much Does It Cost to Build an Up-to-Code Outhouse in Idaho?

If you were to start a cabin on a freshly bulldozed plot of land, what would be the first thing you built?

I had to make that decision last year, and I was wrong. I picked the cabin first, which was a mistake. I should have started out with the outhouse!

Since there are five of us in our little family, not having an outhouse is a big pain in the bum.

Here I talk about the costs associated with building an outhouse in Idaho, and want to give a little reminder that you should probably build an outhouse BEFORE the cabin :)

A Little Background:

Beginning in 2020, I started buying up lots in the old ghost town of Gilmore, Idaho. I love history, and figured building a cabin inside a ghost town would be pretty kewl.

Last year, in 2023, we hired someone to bulldoze the ground, and after we got to work. We were able to finish the following last year: cabin foundation, Amish built cabin delivered, driveway, 2x swales, 2x ditches, and some other misc work such as the firepit.

On June 7th, 2023 we broke ground at Gilmore, Idaho.
^ Above: On June 7th, 2023 we broke ground at Gilmore, Idaho. Here is a photo of the very first bulldozing.

Yet we didn't have a chance to start work on the outhouse.

Why you may ask? Because of the the cost. We spent a lot of mula last year, and had to save up over the wintertime to build the outhouse. They are not as cheap as you think they would be.

Our outhouse will be up-to-code in the state of Idaho as well, which increases the costs substantially for the outhouse. The permit is one of the biggest costs.

If I were to do this over again, I would def start off building the outhouse first. It's a huge pain not having a place for everyone to go potty.

The Outhouse So Far

As of today (6/7/24), I have paid the $800 permit, dug the hole 24" deep so far, and started building the wood foundation of the outhouse.

The $90 Bauer hammer drill is working good, but it still takes a bit of hard work to crush the boulders.

This side-by-side photo shows how much progress is made in 3 hours.
^ Above: This side-by-side photo shows how much digging is accomplished in a 3 hour time. The left-hand side photo shows the hole when I first started working, and the right-hand side photo shows the progress after about 3 hours.

The hole is taking a bit to make, since there is a lot of big boulders after roughly 15" down. I have to break each of the rocks that are in the way, and then haul them out by hand. It's taking a few days to dig.

My goal is to get the hole dug, install the clay dirt foundation, then have it inspected. Then once that aspect is done, I will drag the heavy wood foundation over the hole. Once the foundation is over the hole, I will start framing the actual outhouse structure.

I'm building the thing on skids, so later on I will just drag the outhouse to the next hole. But for right now, I don't have a way to drag it around. So I have to build the thing on top of the hole :/

I have the foundation mostly done and ready to go. It actually took me an extra day to build because I reinforced the frame part of the foundation to handle the Gilmore wind bursts.

This week I'm just finishing up digging the hole, which will take another day or so, then I can get the hole inspected by the state of Idaho.

This is how much we accomplished in 1 day with the pickaxe.
^ Above: This is how much we accomplished in 1 day with the pickaxe.
This is the first phase of the frame.
^ Above: This is the first phase of the frame.
Here is the second phase of the frame, with a single decking placed.
^ Above: Here is the second phase of the frame, with a single decking placed. Note that later on I reinforced the frame even more to handle the Gilmore, Idaho wind gusts.
^ Above: Here you can see the reinforced frame that I hope can handle the epic Gilmore, Idaho wind gusts.
This shows the decking being placed.
^ Above: This shows the decking being placed, and the bad a$$ DEWALT drill that I got :)

The Outhouse Costs

Below I will list the outhouse costs so far, and the future projected costs. Note that I am still in the process of building it, and the costs might go up over the next few weeks. Ill update this blog post with any cost changes.

1. The Permit - The permit was the biggest single cost, at $800.00. Here in Idaho, the outhouse permit is the same permit you get if you want to build a whole septic system. I hope they change that someday, but until they do, it's $800.00 just for the permit cost.

2. The Foundation - According to the code, I have to have at least 20" of level ground from the end of the outhouse building. Because of this, I have to buy some clay road dirt, and build up a "foundation" that the outhouse will sit on when finished.

Since the building is built on a slope, I can't use normal top soil as the foundation. The clay holds up under mother nature better than top soil. The cost to have the clay road material delivered is $200.00 per truckload, which is about 13 cubic yards.

I'm thinking I will use about half of that, so roughly 6.5 cubic yards for the outhouse foundation.

3. Wood Costs - I'm making a normal outhouse structure with a slightly bigger than normal deck.

The outhouse itself will be 4' x 4'. The deck part of it will be 6' x 8'.

I will be using pressure treated 2x6s for the decking part, and normal 2x4's for the framing aspect. The siding will be T1-11 with some trim. The roof will be metal.

Below is the estimated wood costs. I am starting the actual work tomorrow, and I will update the costs when I'm done with this project.

Lumber Needed

  • 4x4x8 Pressure Treated - 2 ($13.58 each) = $27.16
  • 2x6x8 Pressure Treated - 30 ($10.38 each) = $311.40
  • 2x4x8 Pine - 40 ($2.98 each) = $119.20
  • T1-11 Siding - 4 ($49.64 each) = $198.56
  • 15/32" Sheathing Plywood - 1 ($24.51) = $24.51 (for the roof)

4. Screws & Nails - So far I've had to buy 3 boxes of nails, and 2 boxes of screws. So I have roughly $27.00 in that.

My guess is that I will spend at least another $38.00 on more nails and screws. They have always been expensive :/

5. Tools - In order to build this outhouse, I had to buy some special tools for the boulders in the ground.

There are a bunch of medium sized boulders in the way, and we need them removed.

We had to decide between renting a jackhammer for $250 (for 2 days), or buy a brand new tool for $90, and muscle it out the old fashion way. We decided on the latter.

We went with a $90 Bauer hammer drill from harbor freight. We also picked up a 5 piece masonry drill kit for $15, and a rock hammer for $20. So for roughly 130, we can buy everything to break the rocks out of our way. Plus we own the tool, and can use it for later projects. I'll see if this plan works in a few days :)

6. Roofing - It looks like a 12' sheet of metal roofing is $38.00, and I'm hoping of getting away with just one sheet. I checked the prices on shelf taping screws, and it looks to be about $16.00 a box. Roof felt paper looks to be around $35.00 a roll right now.

The Finally Tally

After adding everything up, the total is right around $1,859.83 for my outhouse. They are pretty spending when doing it up to code. This price doesn't even include finishing the inside such as insulation.

Below is a breakdown of the costs:

Outhouse Construction Cost Breakdown

  • Permit = $800.00
  • Clay Foundation Dirt = $100.00
  • Wood Costs = $680.83
  • Screws & Nails = $65.00
  • Tools = $125.00
  • Roof = $89.00

Chart showing a outhouse construction costs breakdown for Idaho
^ Above: This chart shows the costs associated with building an inspected and approved outhouse in Idaho.

I hope this blog post helps you better predict how much you're going to spend on your outhouse here in Idaho. If you have any questions, feel free to ask it in the comments :)


No comments yet. Please contribute to the conversation and leave a comment below.



This totally free tool will ping your website to Google, Bing & others to give it a little extra boost.
(Results will be emailed after completion.)

Ever since building my first website in 2002, I've been hooked on web development. I now manage my own network of eCommerce/content websites full-time. I'm also building a cabin inside a old ghost town. This is my personal blog, where I discuss web development, SEO, eCommerce, cabin building, and other personal musings.

Recent Comments:

Brett : Very cool to get the back story and will be neat to watch the progress. Hoping eventually to so do something the similar on the west coast of Canada somewhere. Amazing that in 2006 I first found your site for it's myspace page information and how to build PHP site header/footers for resale. How times change hah. Anyways, keep up the great posts, looking forward to the updates.

Posted on: April 11, 2024

Feedburner Image