Many people look for ways to update their homes to provide a sense of comfort and connection to the outdoors. Outdoor projects are currently flourishing, as people extend their living spaces to feel closer to their natural surroundings.

Outdoor living spaces offer many benefits, such as increased home value, convenience, lower energy bills, and improved hosting and entertaining. Which is why outdoor kitchens, complete with sinks and wet bars, are one of the most sought-after home improvements.

Many also dream of having a bathroom next to their pool or outdoor recreation area to mirror the lifestyles of the rich and famous. It offers more than just the convenience of not walking a great distance to use the bathroom during a pool party: An outdoor bath means tracking less dirt, sand and water into the home.

Sanivite BBQDesigned for commercial and residential applications, the Sanivite is able to discharge gray water away from a variety of fixture types through a pipe run up to 16 feet vertical and/or 150 feet horizontal to the drain line. The unit is small enough to fit inside a cabinet and designed to handle the toughest applications, such as a sink, dishwasher, shower or urinal. Image courtesy of Saniflo. 

To demonstrate just how popular these outdoor home additions have become, Saniflo USA explored the internet, surveying search and social media metrics. The company found that the outdoor kitchen trend inspires more than 49,500 monthly Google searches of the keyword "outdoor kitchen" in the United States alone. In addition 558K posts use #outdoorkitchen on Instagram. Outdoor bathroom receives 2,900 monthly Google searches in the United States, and 11,000 posts use #outdoorkitchen on Instagram.

While these metrics are eye-opening, for the average consumer, such luxuries have typically been out of reach, costing thousands of dollars to install conventional plumbing to accommodate drainage for an outdoor sink, toilet or shower.

Often, these additions start with an existing concrete, or brick patio or wooden or composite deck. Traditional plumbing would require a contractor to break up patio material or cut into decking to connect pipes to the house's sewer access pipe. But, above-floor plumbing makes it possible to easily and efficiently install a fully functional outdoor sink, dishwasher, toilet or shower without the need to disturb existing outdoor structures. When adding a new structure, above-floor plumbing can also help save time and money.

The actual expense of cutting concrete depends on the size and complexity of the job, as well as local labor availability and rates. In some parts of the nation, the per-foot rate may be $1,000 or more.

Seeing these costs, some plumbers outsource the work and are content to make little or no markup on their sub's charges. Others, preferring to keep the job in-house, absorb the time and cost of renting the cutting and hammering tools and lugging them on and off the jobsite; or, if they choose to buy, the cost of maintaining and replacing these tools, as well as depreciation.

SanishowerLike the Sanivite, the Sanishower is designed with a vent output on the top of the unit to meet plumbing codes that require a vent system. Image courtesy of Saniflo.


Perhaps the most painful expense of all is the "lost-opportunity" cost. With above-floor plumbing, creating an outdoor bathroom or kitchen where none exists usually takes a day, maybe two at most, to install the basic plumbing. Go the busting-through-concrete route and contractors will be on the job triple or quadruple that amount of time and likely more.

What other work could they be doing all those extra days — more profitable work that they like much better and are really good at — instead of wrestling with broken concrete and all the hassles it brings?

Above-floor plumbing solutions put contractors in a better position to offer their customers an alternative to breaking the floor to run plumbing lines, especially if it does not meet the client's budget requirements.

Outdoor kitchen

Eating alfresco is wonderful for sharing meals, but cooking alfresco takes outdoor living to a whole new level. As the outdoor kitchen increases in popularity, many people are customizing patio spaces with a grill, hearth or pizza oven, refrigerator, and even a sink.

All of these features work together to create the most functional outdoor kitchen. The only caveat is that a combination of these features can be very costly, especially if the homeowner wants the added convenience of a sink.

However, adding a sink to an outdoor kitchen within budget is entirely possible if you opt to install a drain pump. Typically, for proper drainage, you would need conventional, below-floor plumbing. But above-the-floor, drain-pump options make it possible to add a sink and more where no drainage currently exists.

Some drain pumps on the market today make it possible to easily and efficiently install a fully functional sink without the need to disturb existing outdoor structures. When adding a new structure, above-floor plumbing can help reduce costs and construction time for sink installation.

Outdoor bath and showerEasy to install, the Sanishower is small enough to fit comfortably inside a cabinet or vanity or even under a raised shower base. Image courtesy of Saniflo.


Outdoor bath or shower

Having an outdoor bathroom can be a huge plus for people with a pool, spa or detached workout space. However, as with an outdoor kitchen sink, it can also be costly and time-consuming to create one separate from the main home using conventional plumbing methods.

Dino and Beth Gregorich found a fast and affordable way to convert their storage shed into a stylish outdoor bath and changing room using the Sanicompact.

The dual-flush feature was particularly appealing to Gregorich. “You can use light flush with less water [1 gallon per flush] and a full flush with more [1.28 gpf],” he explains. “In San Diego, we pay a fortune for water, so we try to save as much as possible. Ultra-low-flush, high-efficiency toilets are very important here.”

Installing the Sanicompact took less than a day, Gregorich recalls. “After a couple of weekends fixing up the shed, installing all the components and adding all the delicate touches, our swimming pool half-bathroom room was ready for use.”

Sanicompact one-piece toiletThe Sanicompact one-piece toilet features a dual flush with a built-in macerator for quick and easy installation in small areas. Image courtesy of Saniflo.
Outdoor showerImage courtesy of Saniflo.  


Outdoor showers are also gaining popularity. A study by the respected John Burns Real Estate Consulting firm tracks a wide range of home topics through interviews with homeowners. The findings that relate to outdoor spaces from their most recent reports point to outdoor showers gaining popularity. The firm's 2020 Annual Survey of Architecture forecasts indicated that 20% of outdoor residential projects in 2020 included outdoor showers.

A proper drain pump can pump drain water away from various fixtures in residential applications such as a shower and sink. Housing a pressure chamber and motor, the unit is capable of pumping discharge waste up to 12 feet vertically and/or 100 feet horizontally. In the past, adding a kitchen and full bathroom to your outside space might've seemed impractical. But above-floor plumbing options makes achieving some of the most valuable outdoor improvements easier. The technology is a cost-effective way to create the ultimate outdoor oasis by allowing you to add any improvement that calls for plumbing.