Small Houseboat Bathrooms - need head space for toilets on house boats?

by Tim Conley
(Des Moines, Iowa)

Houseboat Bathrooms - so small and tiny.

Houseboat Bathrooms - so small and tiny.

When it comes to small houseboat bathrooms, we really need more space for a head, or a toilet on house boats. I am thinking of knocking out a wall and transform it to a larger bigger bathroom. I'm looking for any construction tips or ideas?


I am 2nd year owner of a 1984 Crest houseboat and love the boat. My only disappointment is the bathroom is so tiny and small. I have a storage closet that has a common wall with the bathroom, and thought about removing the wall to enlarge it.

I was wondering if there are any other Crest owners that have attempted this, or if anybody has any ideas to get a man's sized bathroom.

Thank you all, Tim, Des Moines, Iowa



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Reply - Answer
Well Tim, welcome to the houseboat forums, and sorry to hear, and see your small bathroom. I see the size, and hope you're not a big guy...

I have often wondered if the houseboat manufacturers of smaller sized boats, actually hire engineers and designers, that during the prototype stages leave their desks, and take the time to really "test" their bathrooms. If they do, they must pee standing up :)

I remember on one houseboat that had such a tiny bathroom, my left shoulder would be squished against the wall, and my right foot had to be "in" the bathtub. Good thing my wife never took a photo of that.

But joking aside Tim, you should definitely take the time to investigate the layout and design. You could easily change the space and size, especially since you say that the storage closet is on the other side. You should first have a look to see if the closet wall is a structural support wall for the ceiling and roof.


Lastly, hopefully some of our readers will share and post comments about their construction tips, enlarging houseboat bathroom experiences. Feel free to use the "Click here to post comments." link found near the bottom of this page.


Thanks again for sharing, IAN from all-about-houseboats


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Comments for Small Houseboat Bathrooms - need head space for toilets on house boats?

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Think outside the box. Or closet.
by: Amelia

That is quite a good-sized toilet. And presumably, you have to allow space for plumbing,a holding tank, not to mention time for the nuisance of pumping out. If you get rid of all that mess, you might consider something with a much smaller footprint, but still comfortable, like a C-Head. (Years later, we still like ours very much.)

If you take that closet out, and install the little composter head, you'll have room for a tiny enclosed shower beside the sink where you have the shower plumbed already, maybe hang a little circular shower curtain that could be opened out of the way, and yet not have to wipe down walls.

To replace the storage space of that enclosed closet, do you suppose attractive clothing hooks or Shaker pegs on the other side of the new wall would work well? Closets get so cluttered, and often aren't very efficient uses of space.

I'm not convinced buyers need something with a factory look. Visitors sure seem to like our oddball homemade boat, with its custom native cypress tongue-and-groove paneled walls, for instance. We've turned down several offers to buy it, oddly enough. Whatever you do, do it well, not cheap or crude, and resale may not be a problem.

Improve on what you have, make it work well for you, and it becomes a feature, not a bug.Resale value is only a problem if you have a house-flipper mentality. If you mean to keep the boat for a good while and use it, then your own comfort and efficiency is what matters, right?

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Question about bathroom?
by: Anonymous

I am renovating a 20' x 16' shed into a 'guest cottage' and am thinking about designing a bathroom with shower head like on boats that when the door is closed you can use the shower head in the room without the water leaving that room. Any suggestions about where I should look to get started??

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Houseboat Bathroom Inserts - where to find fiberglass insert
by: Anonymous

My question is this, can anyone tell me where I can find a new fiberglass insert with the molded sink for the head for a 1980 Crest Houseboat.

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Enlarging 1981 Crest Houseboat Bath
by: Doug in Virginia

I saw your question and have no idea when you wrote it but I have a 1981 Crest houseboat with the same bath and I am in the middle of tearing our the closet wall and making the whole space (a huge 5'x 3' compared to the original 3'x3').

One thing for sure is the Crest people put this thing together to stay - have spent almost 2 days tearing out the metal propane area (no longer use propane on the boat), the walls, and the fiberglass bath (built to withstand an atomic bomb, BTW).

Since my house boat is old, I have spent more time repairing rotting walls and floor pieces than rebuilding the bath at this point. I am about ready to put a new floor down and will wait for warm water as I am moving the toilet to the center of the space against the rear wall.

However, even torn up, the space feels much bigger and I am anticipating being very pleased I did all this work. Tear out definitely calls for reciprocating saw and respirator and lots of time and effort. I will write later if you are interested and maybe submit a before and after.

Doug in Virginia...

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Dry composting toilets for houseboats
by: Bluzeman

Dry composting toilets have come a long way, no flush water, no black water, and minimal space requirements. Grey water is all you have to deal with, much easier than all that sewage.

Check them out, Bluzeman

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Ideas for a Bathroom Remodel.
by: Anonymous

Plans for our remodel include installation of a shallow vanity with closed storage below and our second bathroom is being converted into a food storage pantry with stacking washer and dryer. As future liveaboards with 2 growing boys, both are necessities.

Chez in St. Paul

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A word of Caution.
by: Old Houseboater

A too small bathroom or head is certainly a PITA (pain in the a**). However a couple of comments before you start.

1. you are going to sell the boat someday. Prospective buyers tend to like a boat with the stock factory look. If you enlarge the head can you do it so that it will look factory?

2. Your boat doesn't have that much cabinet storage, can you afford to give up any? Can you use half the storage width?

3. You have lived with it for 2 years. How much longer before you move up?

With all that being said, I spent $1500 in materials to put a tub in my KingsCraft because I don't like showers.

Let us know what you did, and be sure to send us before and after pictures. GO FOR IT

Old Houseboater.

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A Bidet Sprayer for the Bathroom
by: Anonymous

It's a great and inexpensive addition to any bathroom, and it also makes it much easier to clean is the Bathroom Bidet Sprayer.

You can shower, clean yourself, the toilet, the tile, even diapers if you have any. This is a must have for any modern bathroom, and it helps the environment by cutting down the use of toilet paper.

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