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Basement Bathrooms

Install a Half, Three-Quarter, or Full Basement Bathroom For Improved Home Value and Convenience

Installing a bathroom in a finished basement transforms the area from a subterranean hangout to a fully functional living space. And while this small creature comfort adds big home value, it also presents some unique construction challenges that, if not properly planned for, could cause costs to skyrocket.

Basement Bathroom Installation Challenges

Most bathrooms in the home are located above the entrance to the sewer line and their plumbing (water and wastewater) receives assistance from gravity. Bathroom plumbing, however, enjoys no such gravitational advantage when it comes to exiting water and sewer lines. It’s possible to compensate for this by tying bathroom plumbing into the line below the concrete slab (contact your water and sewer provider to determine whether this is feasible). Unfortunately, this will require tearing up part of the basement floor, which is a costly and time-consuming endeavor.

If the thought of floor excavation has you reconsidering a new basement bathroom, fear not: there are alternatives that can save you thousands of dollars in labor costs. They include:
  • Installing an Alternative Toilet: An “upflushing” toilet uses an onboard pumping system to overcome the water and sewage ejection problem unique to basement plumbing. Some upflushing models additionally have sink and shower tie-ins that accommodate wastewater flow from these fixtures, a feature that can further slash labor costs. An upflushing toilet might also include a macerating unit that breaks down waste into smaller pieces, thereby alleviating clogging concerns. Another option is a composting toilet. These self-contained, low (or no) water toilets aren't the best choice for squeamish homeowners, but they're eco-friendly and can effectively address basement plumbing issues.
  • Adding a Sewage Ejector System: A sewage ejector system – usually free-standing but also available in other styles – functions as a mini septic tank. Allowing all of a bathroom’s wastewater to flow through it, the system effectively negates the need for underfloor plumbing.

Basement Bathroom Considerations

  • Keeping the new bathroom as close to water and sewer mains as possible will save you money on plumbing materials as well as labor.
  • Adding a ¾ bath (toilet, sink, and shower stall) or a full bath (toilet, sink, shower stall, and tub) to a basement is always advisable from a house value standpoint, as they increase home value more than the addition of a ½ bath (toilet and sink).
  • Upgrading to a ¾ or full bath allows for the installation of such luxurious feature as tiled walls with a shower/tub unit. Or, nix the tub and design your dream bathroom with a large walk-in shower and a remote-controlled shower faucet system.
  • No matter what size a new bathroom is, it presents a plethora of finishing options. Choosing between dozens of bathroom countertops, floors, lights, sinks, and faucets can be exciting as well as overwhelming. Homeowners who want professional input might consider hiring an interior designer. HGTV.com also has some inspiring bathroom design ideas.

Basement Bathroom Costs

The following prices should be used as a general guide only; actual costs vary from state to state and according to specific material choices. These figures assume no underfloor plumbing work and basic materials. Installing plumbing underneath concrete and/or choosing high-end materials will dramatically increase costs.
  • A relatively conservative estimate for installing a ¾ or full bathroom in a basement is $8,000 to $12,000.
  • Installing a ½ bath in the basement might cost as little as $5,000.
  • A scenario that requires removing concrete floors and installing plumbing could add $2,000 to $5,000 to the total project cost depending on how much of the floor needs to be removed and how far the plumbing must go.

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