If you use your basement regularly — or even semi-regularly — a bathroom in your basement would certainly make life easier. Maybe you want a basement bathroom near a guest room so guests can enjoy a more convenient and private stay. Or maybe you have a media room and would love for family members to have easier access to the bathroom during family movie night. Maybe the basement is your crafting or building domain, and you’re tired of trekking upstairs right when you’re in the middle of a project.
Whatever the reason, a bathroom in the basement definitely enhances the use of your home, while increasing the home’s value. Consider these things as you think about installing a bathroom in your basement.
Get Permissions in Order
Make sure you understand deed restrictions and zoning ordinances in your area. Contact the local building authority to make sure you’re allowed to build the bathroom you intend to build.
Find the Right Location
The easiest bathroom to add is one in which you can use existing plumbing and electrical wiring. This is less expensive and less of a hassle. If you can install a basement bathroom directly beneath a bathroom on the floor above, you’ll be in better shape.
Determine What You’ll Need to Do for Drainage
The plumbing that is found in bathrooms above ground uses gravity to drain away wastewater. This advantage is often missing in a basement bathroom, but with the right plumbing depth and pipe size, you can make it work.
You’ll need to make sure any existing pipes are the correct size and that the drainage lines are deep enough.
A contractor will inspect your plumbing depth to ensure it’s deep enough to create fall for drainage. If it’s already deep enough, you’re in luck. The installation will be much easier and less expensive. If the depth is not enough, you have to use alternative options mentioned below.
The contractor will also inspect your pipe size to make sure it’s big enough. If it’s too small, you’ll need to have larger pipes installed. This, of course, requires some heavy duty demolition, as basement floors are made of concrete.
A plumber will also need to consider the flow rate and if it’s sufficient to remove waste. Be aware that you’ll need a backwater valve installed if your home is on a city sewer line. This keeps sewage from backing up into your toilet.
What if your drainage lines aren’t deep enough to create enough fall? Plan on excavating the ground below your basement floor. This still may not be enough for your home. In that case, you’ll need specially designed equipment.
If your basement already has a floor drain, or if you already have the piping for a washing machine or utility sink hookup, this gives you an advantage. The floor drain may not be in the right location, however, so you’ll have to hire someone to jackhammer into the concrete floor to install a drain.
Equipment to Consider
In some cases, you may want to consider installing a sump pump to push the wastewater to the level of your household drain. This may get you out of needing to dig to install a new drain pipe.
Upflush toilets, composting toilets, and sewer ejector systems can also be installed to prevent you from needing to break into the foundation of your home.
Stranman84 , from Wikimedia Commons
An upflush toilet is a self-contained unit. It sits on the floor, removing the need to excavate concrete. The plumbing lines go through the wall and up to the basement ceiling, connecting to a sewer or septic tank line.
A composting toilet uses very little or no water, and turns waste into compost.
A sewer-ejector system pumps sewage up to the sewer or septic tank line. It holds waste temporarily, and you can find them in above ground or below ground options. Above ground is a good option, because you don’t need to excavate to install it. And the sink and bathtub can also drain into the sewer-ejector system tank.
Designing Your New Bathroom
Photo by Bryan Ochalla
Once you’ve figured out all of the above, you now get to turn your attention to the fun part – designing and building your bathroom! The contractor you work with will likely be able to recommend a professional bathroom remodeler that can assist you with the design, materials, and installation.
Installing a bathroom in the basement is not normally a job for amateurs or DIY enthusiasts. Though it can be done, it’s almost always wiser to hire a contractor and plumber to ensure the proper steps are taken to avoid a disastrous mess.