Where I live, outdoor showers are a common after-beach
amenity. Real estate agents highlight them in property
listings. Plumbers routinely include an exterior rough-in in
their bids. And local builders have devised a slew of methods
to enclose an outdoor shower, from plain-but-economical
stockade fence sections butted against the house siding, to
more elaborate, custom structures.
I built many enclosures in my day, often replacing the sagging
remains of one assembled from standard, 6-foot-high stockade
fence sections. These sections are typically crudely assembled
and tend to be wobbly when used in an enclosure, especially
when called upon to support a swinging door. Such doors rarely
close, or open, without a struggle. And the posts usually rot
through after a few seasons in the ground, probably hastened
along by the extra watering.
The design I like has evolved over the years. I use
pressure-treated 2x4s to outline the structure, and western red
cedar 1-bys for the walls. Instead of nailing or screwing the
boards to the 2x4s, I float them in a groove dadoed in the edge
of the framing, frame-and-panel style. To eliminate "peepholes"
between boards, I cut a shiplap on the edges.
To assemble the individual panel frames, I use 6-inch,
hex-head TimberLok fasteners (Olympic Manufacturing Group,
800/633-3800, www.fastenmaster.com). Although TimberLoks
generally don't require predrilling, a pilot hole keeps the
screws from going astray in narrow stock. I clamp the 2x4 frame
components between temporary cauls for alignment and use a
12-inch-long, 3/16-inch-diameter electrician's twist bit to
make the pilot holes (see Figure 1).
Figure 1.The author's frame-and-panel method
simplifies enclosure assembly. Edge-dadoed frame members are
butt-joined on the flat, held in alignment with cauls and
clamps (top), and lag-bolted together (bottom).
The latest, dollar-driven evolution of my design was to use
T1-11 channel siding instead of the costlier 1-by cedar boards.
Each sheet yields two solid, 4x4-foot panels. Four feet may
seem too short to screen a body, but there's no compelling
reason to start the enclosure sides at grade, or to make the
panels more than 5 1/2 to 6 feet tall. I start the panels about
16 inches off the ground, which provides users with a full
The backside of T1-11 is nothing special, but it readily
accepts paint, providing an opportunity to introduce some color
inside the enclosure with a couple of coats of glossy trim
paint or exterior stain (Figure 2). I let the "outside" surface
Figure 2.The exterior T1-11 plywood siding has one
"good" face, left to weather on the public side. The rough
backing veneer within the enclosure is painted with
gloss-finish latex trim paint.