How to Make a Functional Shower


When things go bad and the world is in crisis, there are still some things people need to be healthy and feel good.

Showers are one of those things, and many homesteaders like to think ahead and figure out ways to add a survival shower to their property.

Along with survival tactics, there are several reasons to gather the information, tools and materials needed for a shower now.

Maybe you want to add a shower to your home, basement or cabin. Along with an indoor shower, you may want to consider building an outdoor shower stall.

Having an outdoor shower may be a necessity if things go down quickly, and you and your family need to maintain healthy hygiene in dire circumstances.

In addition, outdoor showers are an excellent resource even when the outside world isn’t in dire straits.

An outdoor shower is an excellent item to have when you do a lot of outdoor work and do not want the dirt, sand, grit, mud or debris carried into the house. You can construct a functional shower, either indoors or outside, with a few simple tools and easy to get materials.

These are simple shower installations, and probably won’t be the kind you see in an architectural magazine, but they will be functional and useful. In most cases, you can do the job in a few days, and you don’t need to be a carpenter or hire a contractor to get the job done.

Where to Start

The first thing you need to do is find out if there are any building codes in your city or county that restricts the installment of a shower on your property.

Indoor showers are typically tightly regulated and you must understand the various laws regarding electrical areas where water is present and the area is subject to high moisture content.

Outdoor showers are not typically as highly regulated, but will still have to meet zoning set backs or other specific area regulations.

Constructing a Functional Indoor Shower

The most important part of constructing an indoor shower is making sure the walls are waterproofed enough to protect your valuable home.

Whether you are installing a new bathroom in an expensive town home, or a quick shower room in a country cabin in the woods, water is a destructive force that can destroy your home quickly if not controlled.

Decide on the location for your shower. Getting as close as possible to existing drain pipes and water lines will make your job a lot easier.

It can be tricky if adding a shower room to a basement. Draining the water will be an issue if you have to run a drain pipe through existing concrete.

First floor or higher construction is not as difficult because you can run drain pipes under crawl spaces or between floor and ceiling gaps.

Floor surfaces in an indoor shower need to slant toward the drain to keep water from pooling up. Connect hot and cold water pipes to existing home systems, and run into the shower.

Remember that all walls where water may come into contact with the area should be tiled or covered in a waterproof casing.

If you plan on adding electricity for lighting to your indoor shower area, be sure to consult with your zoning officer, or in areas where no zoning regulations exist, with a person experienced in electrical installations to be sure your outlets and light fixtures are in safe places.

Constructing a Functional Outdoor Shower

For a quick and functional outdoor shower, you can easily buy a camping setup, but that won’t do for long-term use, or to help you keep the outside actually outside of the house.

For a quick cleanups outside all you really need for a complete body wash, not just getting mud off of boots, are four walls with a water line, and solid, waterproof flooring.

Outdoor Shower Walls

A quick 2×4 frame covered in plywood is a good base for the room structure. You can use the same type of plywood for the ceiling and base of the floor.

However, while that would be a perfectly suitable outdoor dry room, you need to go one step further when water will be used inside the room.

The walls should be covered with either a solid plastic lining, tile, or, at the very least, waterproof varnish.

The ceiling can simply be varnished and, for an extra touch, painted. The flooring needs to be covered with tile or a cement pad, and a drain installed to allow the water to run out easily.

In un-restricted areas, the runoff can be funneled through PVC piping into a garden area for a great way to re-cycle water and improve irrigation.

Where the Water Is

Getting water to a quick outdoor shower can be as simple as running a hose up the outside of the walls and through an opening into the interior.

That is a fine way to get set up quickly, but most people will want to get a source of hot water set up pretty quickly. There are a couple of ways to go about getting warm water into an outdoor shower.

  • The Modern Heating System: Of course, if things are still going well in the world, you can simply purchase a small tankless water heater and add it to the shower stall for a eco-friendly and water conservation friendly way to get hot water in the outdoor area.
  • Piping from the House: If the outdoor shower is simply an additional home improvement for ease and cleanliness, running pipes from existing hot and cold water sources inside can make installing a consistent flow to the outdoor shower.
  • Real Homestead Shower: If you want a real survival shower on your property in case electricity and plumping all go down the tubes, as it were, then you can go completely self-contained.

Install a rain-water catch system to the roof of the shower stall and add a hose that runs from the container to the shower stall with a nozzle on the end that can be turned on and off.

Again, this will be pure cold water. If warm water is desired, set up a catch system alongside the stall and scoop water out with a kettle that you can warm up on a fire, and then pour into the water container on top of the stall.

Gravity will do most of the work, although pressure will not be extremely strong.

Creative Outdoor Showers

There are also ways to be more creative, and even construct an outdoor shower without dealing with regulations.

Ditch the idea of a standalone room and make a shower stall out of a circular shower rod and curtain. Add a hose and you are ready for a quick rinse.

Some other quick ideas for an outdoor shower include hanging a hose with a spray nozzle on a tree limb, post or fence for a fast way to spray off the family.


About Author

Tami lives in rural Illinois with her husband of 32 years where they raised their two children in the homestead lifestyle and now share their love of living off the land with their grandchildren as well.

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