For a wholly functional outhouse upgrade, cast your eyes belowdecks, to the bulkhead in front of the seat of ease, where you should see an ingenious fixture. I call it the urine shield. You can call it a rain stopper or a whiz diverter or anything you wish. Traditionally made of sheet metal or asphalt roofing, it keeps wayward liquid deposits away from the wood framing where they rot the wood or soak your Birkenstocks.
Don’t have a urine shield? Then you must act at once. Mine was rusted to pieces so I replaced it with a sheet of 1/8″-thick high-density polyethylene, also known as puck board, attached with galvanized roofing nails. Non-corroding and impervious to moisture, puck board is perfect for the job. Other options include metal highway signs (don’t ask) and winter’s cheap and cheerful slider, the Krazy Karpet. Clever cottagers I know in Thunder Bay, Ont., cut the top third off a large plastic garbage container and screwed it to the underside of the deck, keeping things dry down below.
We’ll have more new ways to fortify your outhouse in the future.