Many basements could become a lot more than just being used for added storage.
Converting a basement to a habitable area is priority for many homeowners, but they rarely consider a basement bathroom addition.
As scary as it may be to complete a basement, it’s mostly even more intimidating when plumbing is thought of.
Yet, this doesn’t have to be so.
Sometimes plumbing the area can become stress-free and cheaper than you imagine.
Much time and effort can be saved by “upflush” toilets and sewage removers in most instances.
Basement Bathroom Addition: Planning and Design
Similar to any project involving renovation, it is most essential to begin with an accurate budget.
Things will quickly add up, and renovation of a regular basement (including excavation for new drainages) will cost you an average of $10,000 at least.
Gather many quotations for each job category you would contract out, and research on fixtures and materials.
You might find awesome deals, as well as quality alternatives, on high-end items if you research well enough.
To also fix your budget, you must determine your preferred layout.
The most stress-free (and usually cheapest) location for your basement bathroom is right underneath a present bathroom upstairs.
It won’t be very challenging to connect to the existing plumbing of the home.
A basement bathroom addition commonly contain a sink and toilet only – being that the space is usually limited.
Adding a shower comes with demands – waterproofing, separate drain, improved ventilation, etc.
Many opt for a corner shower just to save space.
If it is to be beside a toilet, then you must refer to your area plumbing code.
Consider a separate room for the toilet, if the space is available.
Basement Bathroom Addition: Drainage
If there is a floor drain and/or connections for a sink or washing machine, then you’re off to a good start.
The location of the drain is suitable for the bathroom, you may only require minimal excavation.
Although you can trace the main drain line of your home, it is advisable to contact a plumber.
They can inform you on how deep the city sewer line is for your house, in order to know if gravity is sufficient to drain your basement bathroom of if a pump would be needed.
You can also collect this information from your department of public works.
The 1/4” standard slope would have to be maintained by your basement fixtures drain lines in order to guaranty proper drainage by gravity.
City sewer mains are typically deep enough to permit this.
However, flat and concrete basement floor may not offer adequate fall.
A typical solution would be to dig up a trench to slope the pipe, and fill it back again.
Though expensive, this provides the best solution.
Where possible, a drain system which is adequately designed and connected will always be better than pump alternatives.
If your basement bathroom addition is going to drain by gravity, a backflow preventer may be required by code.
This is to stop wastewater from getting into your home should there be a sewage flood or backup.
It is likely that this will need a permit, so ensure you enquire beforehand.
A qualified backflow technician may also be required to install or test it.
All of this may appear awkward, but it is absolutely beneficial.
Basement Bathroom Addition: Ventilation
Vents are required by each fixture, and this can be difficult in a basement.
There may be some plumbing already done in the basement of newer homes, as well as a vent which can be hooked up through the roof.
Else, many options and solutions exist – of which yours will be guided by local codes.
You should contact a qualified plumber for this, unless you have some experience with ventilation and local codes.
We advise you allow the DWV system design of the basement to be done by a qualified plumber.
This will help pass inspection and avoid any issues.
Apart from venting the fixtures, a basement bathroom addition also requires proper ventilation.
This helps to eradicate moisture which can result in huge problem in the long run.
Most especially when there is a shower, but is useful regardless.
Local codes will mostly accept a window as the least ventilation requirements.
However, it’s better to have an exhaust fan – typically horizontally vented.
Basement Bathroom Addition: Excavation Options
Just in case you cannot consider digging out a new drain line, there are various excavation options available to you.
Note that in any case these options still require venting in line with code (mostly through the roof).
Sewage Removal Systems make use of a pump and holding basin/tank to drive wastewater from all fixtures in the basement to the main drain line of the home.
From there, gravity sends it alongside that of the home to the city sewer.
Conventional underground models require the basin to be inserted in a pit and the waste pipe in a trench.
Detached above-ground models require the fixtures to be positioned above the ground so as to drain to the basin.
Macerating toilets are directly connected to unique pumps which macerates or grinds up the waste through it.
Thus, the movement of waste to the main sewer line of the home becomes easier.
The catch here is that no digging is required by these units, as the pump and toilet are installed above the ground.
And though the toilets are a bit costly, not needing excavation will save you a lot of money.
Composting toilets offer a more eco-friendly solution to adding a basement bathroom addition.
Instead of using water and plumbing, they rely on electricity-generated heat as well as a fan system in order to extinguish waste water content (most designs store liquid waste distinctly for disposal).
Waste enters a tank and rotated by cranking a handle after every use.
When full, the tank has to be emptied manually; its contents can be composted further in a bin for subsequent use in a garden, or disposed.
Check out our article on Energy Efficient Bathrooms next.