Q: We have a nice built-in swimming pool and have been thinking for years about adding a cabana. We don't want anything fancy; we just need a basic cabana with a toilet. We're ready to make a move because our house is taking a huge toll with wet footprints everywhere. Can this cabana be a simple job, or is it more complicated than we think?        

Q: We have a nice built-in swimming pool and have been thinking for years about adding a cabana. We don't want anything fancy; we just need a basic cabana with a toilet. We're ready to make a move because our house is taking a huge toll with wet footprints everywhere. Can this cabana be a simple job, or is it more complicated than we think?


A: Installing a cabana with a toilet is usually not a simple job.         


In most cases, you have to pull building permits and submit design plans to local officials for approval before you can start the job. Check with your building inspector for guidelines.         


Also, this is not normally a do-it-yourself job and may involve several contractors. You basically need to think of this as a new addition to your home, complete with a bathroom. It can be freestanding or attached to your home. If you can attach it to your home, this may be less costly.         


Now, to make things a little more complicated, this type of bathroom also needs to be set up so you can drain and winterize the plumbing when colder weather comes in. All this can add up to a big job, and I recommend working with a licensed general contractor to obtain price quotes before you commit to anything.         


Another bit of advice: You may want to explore alternative ideas rather than to build a full cabana. For instance, I've seen houses where a separate door was cut in, leading directly inside to an existing bathroom.


Bottom line: If you don't plan and budget the job carefully, cabanas can drive you bananas!                   


Ed Del Grande, master contractor/plumber and LEED green associate, is the author of "Ed Del Grande's House Call" and hosts TV shows on Scripps Networks and HGTVPro.com. For more information, visit eddelgrande.com or write eddelgrande@hgtvpro.com. Always consult local contractors and codes.