A common addition to many beach homes, outdoor showers—and baths—can be as simple or as luxurious as desired. The sensation of water combined with nature is both invigorating and enjoyable. It also offers an extra bath area for homes that host many visitors in the warmer months. We’ve researched the topic and have some tips for outdoor showers and baths.

Shower enclosure — As part of a log home exterior, you’ll first want to ensure that the shower or tub enclosure does not splash excess water on the exterior wall of the home. The shower or tub should have an enclosure or barrier separating the shower or tub area from the actual exterior of the log wall. The barrier should extend above the showerhead by at least a foot to provide the best protection.  

Drainage – Many outdoor showers drain directly onto the ground beneath the shower or bath enclosure. It is essential to engineer drainage that directs the grey water from the shower away from the building foundation. This grey water can flow into a holding tank or directly into the septic or sewer system. Because it is only soap and water, the local codes may have different regulations for an outdoor shower or tub. You’ll want to work with your plumber to install the appropriate drainage.

Shut-off valve for cooler months — Showers and tubs in cooler climates are often closed down during the winter months. Your shower and tub should have a shut-off valve inside the home that can be closed to avoid damage from freezing pipes.

Location – Situating the outdoor shower or tub can depend on many factors. Identifying the door nearest to the bedroom areas and keeping it within a few steps will keep traffic to and from the shower away from other public living areas. Outdoor tubs and showers don’t necessarily need complete coverage, but this should be assessed based on the parties expected to use it. An adjacent screened dressing area with hooks for clothing or terry robes, places for towels, and a dry mat and storage spaces for shower sandals will make the experience more enjoyable. Screening with privet or other fast-growing hedges can offer some visual cover and protection from wind.

Hot water – Some homeowners opt for a tankless water heater for their outdoor showers that offer quick on-demand hot water. Many opt for a tie-in to the homes existing hot water tank or system.

Materials – The area around the shower or tub should be resistant to water damage, using treated lumber or woods that work well in wet applications, such as teak or cedar. Tiles or smooth stonework will also complete an outdoor bathing area. Make sure you apply sealing material over grout to prevent water damage.

Pathways — Don’t neglect the pathways to and from the bath or shower area. Clean level paving stones make it easy to make one’s way to the area, and return without getting feet dirty.