If you have a finished basement, a bathroom may or may not be necessary. How you use the downstairs space, the current layout of your house and the location of the sewer line are important considerations that can affect the scope and cost of a bathroom renovation project.
Reasons to Install a Bathroom in the Basement
A downstairs bathroom can be convenient, especially if you use the lower level as a family room, office or bedroom for a family member or for guests. If you use your basement to work or to relax with family and friends, a half bathroom may be a better choice. If you have a downstairs bedroom, a full bathroom makes more sense. It can offer convenience, make visitors feel at home and help you avoid lines and frustration when you have guests.
The benefits that you derive from a basement bathroom can also make it appealing to potential buyers. Adding a bathroom in the lower level may boost your home’s value and help it stand out among similar houses that don’t have an extra bathroom downstairs.
Challenges Associated With a Basement Bathroom
Adding a bathroom downstairs may be more complicated than installing one above ground. It may be easier and less expensive if you build a new bathroom directly below an existing one. That may or may not be possible, depending on your home’s design.
If the sewer line is located above the basement level, water will have to be transported down to the basement and back up so it can exit the house. It may be necessary to tear up an existing floor to run plumbing.
Basements can collect moisture, so the lower level will have to be well sealed before you can add a bathroom. You will also have to make sure there is an adequate irrigation system that can direct water away from the house so it won’t leak into the basement.
The fixtures you choose for a basement bathroom will heavily influence the cost. Carefully consider your options when it comes to the toilet, sink, vanity, shower or tub, flooring, tile, and other components. Select fixtures that can resist mold and mildew.
Also think about lighting. Since basements are below ground, having a window in your downstairs bathroom won’t be an option. Choose light fixtures that will provide plenty of illumination.
How to Select a Contractor
Creating a bathroom in a basement may be much more complex than building one above ground. Make sure that you hire a contractor who is up to the challenge. When you interview contractors, specifically ask about their experience installing bathrooms in basements. Contact references and make sure that the company you hire is licensed and insured.