If you have a basement that’s doing little more than serving as a dumping ground for old furniture and boxes, you may want to consider adding some value. Remodeling estimates the return on investment to be as high as 72.8%), to your home by transforming it into a bathroom. That said, it’s not the kind of project you want to jump into without proper forethought- underground plumping is tricky, even for those experienced in the art of DIY. If you’re determined to do the work yourself rather than putting it in the hands of the professionals (which, for most people, is probably the most recommended course of action), at least have a consultation with a plumber before you get too heavily invested – they should be able to guide you as to whether the project is something you should even attempt on your own, or whether it’s really something you need to leave to the pros. They’ll also be able to guide you as to whether the cost of adding the bathroom (which can sometimes be significantly more than you’d expect) is going to be worth it in terms of what you recoup on house value and the convenience of having a further bathroom. Once you’ve checked in with the professionals, you can get on with the planning.
Plan and Design
Before you do anything else, check in with your local building authority to confirm whether there are any deed restrictions or zoning ordinances to consider. Once you’ve got the green light, take a walk around the basement to plan things out in your head. It’s usually recommended to add the new bathroom directly below your existing one to keep the plumping needs (and costs) to a minimum, so bear this in mind when it comes to planning your layout. Also, take a really good look at the potential of your basement; if it’s got a poor layout, low ceilings, or poor ventilation, you may be better off investing your dollars somewhere else. Decide what you want from your bathroom: do you want a full three-piece bathroom suite, or would you rather limit things to a sink and WC? If you do opt for both a shower and bath, is your basement well heated enough to avoid things getting too chilly for comfort?
Unfortunately, a basement bathroom comes with more things to consider than just the color of your bathtub. Proper drainage is key, and you’ll want to make sure that the plumbing depth and size of your existing arrangements are equipped to handle the extra strain of your new bathroom. If not, you’ll need to tackle the job before even hitting the shops. Some basements were built with the possibility for bathroom conversion in mind, in which case you should be able to get away without too many substantial adjustments. If not, you may need to consider the additional costs for floor excavation and replumbing in your projected costings.
If your basement leans towards the chilly, bleak side (with a cold-concrete floor to match), you’ll need to consider reflooring. Wall to wall carpeting will add instant warmth with minimal expense, but check that your bathroom is dry and moisture-free beforehand (the last thing you want is to install a carpet only for it to grow damp and moldy within weeks because of inadequate ventilation). As Realtor recommends, easy to replace modular carpeting tiles may be a great option if your basement is prone to flooding. As a general rule of thumb, you can expect to add around $1,000 to your costs for carpeting a 250-square-foot space.
If your bathroom veers more to the toasty than the chilly, other popular flooring options include ceramic flooring or vinyl (the latter being the most cost-effective of all the options). Remember to factor in installation costs on top of the actual costs of materials (unless you plan on doing it yourself, of course). As an average, Basement Finishing University recommends you allow around $200.00 to $425.00 for labor costs.
There’s no point in decking your basement out in the finest bathroom suite your budget will stretch to if the lightening is too poor for you to see it. if possible, invest in an egress window to allow some natural light to permeate through. Expect to spend about $500 if you can install one yourself, or up to $3000 if you need to call in the professionals.
Unless your basement is one of the few to benefit from an excellent ventilation system, make sure to choose your paint wisely. Inhaling fresh paint fumes is unlikely to do your health much good, so opt for a non-toxic option. Milk paint is ideal, and has the added benefit of being able to cope with a bit of moisture (a common problem in basements) without flaking off the walls.
One of the biggest issues you’ll likely encounter when transforming your basement into a bathroom is mold. As well as smelling sinful and looking worse, some kinds of mold can release harmful spores into the atmosphere, which, unless you’re happy to develop some pretty nasty lung conditions, aren’t something you want to be breathing in. Fortunately, there’s a range of options to keep mold under control, including mold-resistant paints, finishes, dehumidifiers, and moldicides (although be careful of using the latter around pets).
Is a Basement Bathroom the Right Move?
A basement bathroom is undoubtedly a great choice if you’ve got a reasonable budget and a basement with a good layout, good ventilation, and appropriate plumbing. If you have all of these in abundance, you can easily add a heap of value onto your property with a conversion, while benefiting from all the convenience a 2nd bathroom affords. Just be aware that not all basements are suited for the purpose, and that proper planning is essential unless you want to flush a good portion of your wages down the drain.