Do She Sheds Have Bathrooms?

Do She Sheds Have Bathrooms?

She-Sheds have become women’s equivalent of a man’s cave.  While a man’s cave usually occupies a room, attic or basement of the house, a she-shed is a stand-alone building separated from the main house but somewhere on the property. 

She-sheds are usually small compacted rooms that can serve a multitude of functions, from art studios, crafting rooms, potting sheds, reading libraries, private hangouts, girls retreat, you name it!

One of the biggest questions I hear regarding a she-shed is, can you put a bathroom in it?  The answer is not as simple as you would think, because there are several things to consider.

Regulations And Laws …

Fixing up a small shed or purchasing a prefab one to use in the backyard can be very therapeutic and rewarding.  You can decorate it as you please, making it warm and cozy or bright and airy, bringing in all of the materials needed to make it your sanctuary. 

However, adding a bathroom may require a little more research.  Every state and/or county may have different laws and regulations.  

You should check with the local planning department about the various codes and to see whether permits are required.  

Some areas consider a shed with a toilet a “detached living unit”.  This could become an issue, since some areas do not allow two living units on one land area or address.

Adding a Bathroom …

If your local planning department does not consider a shed with a toilet a “detached living unit” and you want to proceed with adding a half-bathroom, then make sure to follow all the codes and requirements.  Installing a half bath requires running water, drainage and ventilation. 

This is really not a DIY job, especially if you do not have any experience in plumbing.  

To do this, the best bet is to hire a professional and let him deal with the permits, building regulations not to mention plumbing and drainage requirements.  

A professional, due to his knowledge of your house’s existing water system and sewer connections, will know:

  • the easiest way to attach the water pipes
  • which pipes to branch off from
  • purchase the correct underground-quality water pipes
  • the difference between drainage soil pipes and waste pipes
  • connecting soil pipes to the sewer point
  • digging trenches if needed
  • Yes, this is a lot of work and it can come with a hefty cost.  This is not even including the framing of a wall partition to house the half bath (sink and toilet) or the purchasing of fixtures.  However, if this is something you truly need or want, and you don’t mind the expense, then go for it!

    Another Alternative …

    If you think this is just too much – pipes, work, expense, etc. or it is just not permitted by county laws, there is another alternative.  Individuals who live off grid are very familiar with the benefits of Waterless Composting Toilets. 

    These toilets:

    • Use no water

    • Does not require a connection to a sewer system

    • Is portable (can move to different locations)

    • Are easy to install 

    • Some have an NSF International Certification

    These waterless composting toilets use a combination of liquid, solid and carbon additives to break down the solid waste to material that is easy to dispose of.  There are several brands out on the market that offer various features.  Here are just a few:

    Self-contained Toilet by Nature’s Head – This model is known for containing smells or odors by using coco coir and peat moss as the bulking material.  Liquids and solids are separated; the liquids need to be emptied weekly, but solid waste can last between 60 to 80 uses. It features: 

    • stainless steel hardware
    • a hose to the outdoor 
    • a powered built-in 12-volt fan 
    • spider handle that operates the agitator and mix materials
    • Made in the USA
    • 5-Year warranty

    Villa 9215 AC/DC by Separett – This is a pricey, odorless model that looks like a standard toilet and can function as one with the addition of a filtration system.  It features:

    • Lightweight model – 34 pounds
    • Parts to direct vent/tie liquid drain
    • Noiseless electric fan to remove gases (includes adapters 110V and 13V)
    • Easy to install
    • 5-year warranty against all manufacturing defects
    • Install a proper greywater filter – you won’t have to deal with liquids

    The Bottom Line

    Yes, a she-shed can have its own bathroom, if it’s allowable by your county’s laws, regulations and planning department.  But just a reminder, there are other alternatives out there, like waterless composting toilets that are eco-friendly, portable and cost less. 

    Not to mention, half and full baths in your own home, which may or may not be within walking distance depending on the location of your she- shed.  If you really feel the need to have a she shed half bath and you are not concerned about the amount of work or cost, and it meets all planning requirements … then by all means, go for it!  

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