Adding a bathroom remains one of the most popular home improvements consumers make. In fact, when they sell their homes, they can expect to recoup more than 50% of the cost of a bathroom addition, according to Remodeling Magazine’s 2020 Cost versus Value report. Creating a new bathroom where none currently exists can, however, be among the more challenging home-improvement projects on any plumbing contractor’s plate.
Fortunately, with careful planning and the help of innovative plumbing fixtures, it is possible to add a bathroom to virtually any home.
Where to put another bathroom is a burning question, whether the client’s home is 1,800 square feet or 3,800 square feet. Of course, the question is more challenging for smaller and older homes, but options do exist. Many homeowners find space in a basement, and with finishing a basement among the most popular types of renovation, adding a bath to this space makes a great deal of sense. If the home is built on a slab, other options might include taking some space away from a garage, or adding an upflush toilet system beneath stairs.
Breaking through concrete
There are many pitfalls to consider with this traditional approach. First, cutting into a concrete pad is a costly endeavor and inevitably weakens the structural integrity of the surface. The process creates dust and noise, and you can’t be sure what you will encounter; the slab may be thicker or thinner than anticipated, cracks can develop and a host of other problems may occur. These challenges can be solved with above-floor plumbing, and several options exist.
Plumbing a bathroom addition is, arguably, the biggest challenge of this type of home improvement. Whether you’re building in the basement, beneath a first-floor stairway or in an existing space within the house, finding room for pipes can involve opening walls or cutting into concrete — traditional approaches that can be inconvenient and costly.
Macerating toilet systems can be an affordable, time-saving and convenient alternative. You may be familiar with the concept of “upflushing” toilets, which use a pump to move waste. Macerating toilets incorporate a grinding feature to substantially reduce solid waste before pumping it out, which helps eliminate clogging.
In addition to managing liquid and solid waste, upflush technology easily accommodates wastewater from a bathroom sink and a shower or bathtub in one convenient system.
Ensuring adequate water supplies — both hot and cold — is another common challenge you must consider when adding a bathroom. Before moving forward with a home improvement project, assess the capacity of the homeowner’s water heaters and the condition of existing plumbing within the home. Is the water heater up to the task of serving an additional bathroom? If your customer is adding a powder room, it will require less hot water than a full bath where people will need lots of hot water for showers.
Finally, you will need to inspect the existing pipes in the home, of course. Are they in good condition? Will they withstand the added demands of a new bathroom? Will they work well with the new piping that will be present in the new bathroom?
There’s no arguing that adding a bathroom improves both a home’s value and a family’s use and enjoyment of the space. By addressing some common challenges in the planning stages of a home improvement, you can ensure your client’s new bathroom is efficient, user-friendly and cost-effective.