There are several reasons why building a basement bathroom is worth it. For one, you can transform an often dreary space into a warm and usable living area. Also, you will likely see a decent return on your investment.
Adding a basement bathroom can increase your home’s resale value by 10%-20%. It also can turn a wasted space into an enjoyable addition to your home. The average basement bathroom will cost $3,000-$25,000, depending on the existing plumbing and condition of your basement.
This guide will walk you through every question you might have about installing a new bathroom in your basement. Take time to read through each point and ask yourself these same questions. We’re sure that by the end of this article, you’ll be ready to break ground.
4 Reasons Why a Basement Bathroom Is Worth It
A basement bathroom is worth it for more than just a few reasons. Check them out below:
Installing an additional bathroom anywhere in your home can raise the resale value of your home. Half bathrooms generally increase the value of your home by 10%, while full bathrooms can raise your home’s value by as much as 20%. An added bathroom anywhere in your home can raise the resale value by as much as 20% but, in a basement, that value is even more concrete. Check out this report from the National Association of Home Builders.
No one wants to spend time in a cold and dingy basement. If you’re only using your basement as storage space, you’re not getting much use out of that extra square footage. Renovating your basement and adding a bathroom can transform your basement into a warm and welcoming living area, similar to a second living room or a den.
Likewise, no one likes running up and down the stairs every time they need to use the bathroom. Adding a bathroom to your basement makes it more convenient for your family and friends.
After you and your family get years of joy from your renovated basement bathroom, potential buyers will love the addition of a renovated basement with a bathroom.
How Much Does a Basement Bathroom Cost?
The total cost of installing a basement bathroom will depend on the overall condition of your basement.
Do you already have a small room cordoned off from the rest of the area? If so, you can install plumbing and fixtures for around $2,000-$3,000.
But if not, you’ll have to renovate your basement to create a small room to house the bathroom fixtures.
Here’s what Basement Guides says:
The overall cost for adding a bathroom in a basement will range somewhere between $3,000 and $25,000. The variance in this cost comes from whether you build in an existing space, or whether the bathroom is an extension to your existing basement.
And according to Angi.com, the total cost to install just the plumbing for a typical basement bathroom can cost $10,000-$15,000.
The cheapest option is to install a basic half-bathroom with just a toilet and a sink. But if you’re willing to spend a little extra, though, a full bathroom with a tub and shower can greatly increase the value of your home.
See our post THIS Is What a Bathroom Is Worth on Appraisal for much more detail.
How to Find the ROI for a Basement Bathroom Remodel
What if you already have a basement bathroom, but you’re thinking of remodeling it and possibly enlarging it? Will it be worth the investment?
Consult the tool that remodeling.hw.net offers called the cost vs value tool. It explains how much of their remodeling investment buyers recouped at the sale of their homes, by year and region of the country.
For example, in 2021, the tool shows that nationally in the US, homeowners who did a mid-range bathroom remodel spent $24,424. They define a mid-range bath remodel as updating a 5×7’ bathroom and replacing all fixtures.
According to the tool, this investment added $14,671 to the resale value of the home, meaning the owners recouped 60.1% of their investment at the sale.
If you are considering a bathroom remodel, be sure to sign up for my FREE pdf full of genius designer hacks that can literally save you thousands of dollars on your bathroom remodel.
What You Need to Know About Zoning
Finishing a basement and installing a bathroom are no small jobs. You’ll have to install new plumbing, extend electricity to new sections of your home, and even possibly build new rooms.
All of this must be done under the authorization of your local municipality. Therefore, be sure to contact your local zoning office to learn about permits and deed restrictions.
Most states have specific permits for finishing a basement with additional walls and electricity. Some also have permits for added plumbing. While this may seem like more of a headache than it’s worth, understand that zoning laws help protect you and your property.
By working and constructing a bathroom under local zoning laws, you’re guaranteed an efficient and safe environment.
Although it may take a little longer, your bathroom will be built to code, ensuring quality and safety. Every state and municipality has its own zoning laws, so be sure to contact your local office directly. You can find more about state codes here.
How Will Drainage Work in a Basement?
More than anything else, drainage should be your main concern when building a bathroom.
Upstairs and ground-floor bathrooms have the luxury of using gravity to drain away sewage and water but a bathroom built below ground cannot rely on the slope of gravity to move away waste.
That said, you may have to dig deeper into the ground to create enough of a fall for water to drain away.
Speak with your contractor or plumber to establish how they’ll effectively build drainage. They will have to consider these two points:
- Depth – If your home was built with deep plumbing lines, you may not have to dig deeper into the ground. Your plumber will assess how much fall your plumbing has and, if it’s sufficient, they will simply install new lines. If not, you may need a sewage ejector or deeper plumbing.
- Size – The size of your current pipes will also affect how quickly a new bathroom drains away waste. If the pipes are too small, your plumber will have to install wider pipes to help ease the flow of sewage.
Checking the Lines
If your existing sewer lines are deep enough, they may work based solely on gravity. Speak with your local sewage company to find out how deep the lines run and if your bathroom will work without much intervention.
But if your home is connected to a septic tank, you’ll also have to check how deep the septic lines run.
Are the lines are deep enough? If so, your plumber will first determine how quickly the sewage drains from your bathroom. In the case that your home is connected to city sewage, your plumber will also install a backwater valve to prevent sewage from flushing back into your lines. This may require additional permits so speak with your local municipality beforehand.
However, if your drainage lines are not deep enough to work solely off gravity, your plumber will have to remove part of the floor and dig deeper into the ground.
This is usually enough to create the necessary fall to drain away wastewater but, if not, you’ll definitely need a sewage ejector to flush away waste.
Where to Build Your Basement Bathroom
For the sake of easy plumbing, you should install your basement bathroom directly below the upstairs bathroom.
This way, your plumber can directly link the lower plumbing with the main plumbing without installing intricately twisted pipelines. Your plumber will finish the installation process much faster, saving you a lot more money during construction.
Installing bathrooms one on top of the other also helps with electrical wiring. As with plumbing, if your bathrooms are directly above or below each other, your electrician can simply feed the same wiring down into your basement. This will save you time and money since your electrician won’t have to install intricately twisted interior wires.
How to Design Your Basement Bathroom
Since your basement bathroom is completely separate from the rest of the house, you can design it however you want. It doesn’t have to match the same design as your other bathrooms. However, you may be limited by one important factor—size.
Considering that you likely won’t have as much room to work within a basement, you’ll have to get creative.
Three-Quarters and Half Baths
If you’re installing a bathroom in a smaller space, consider building a three-quarter bathroom with a sink, toilet, and a standing shower. If that’s too ambitious, stick to a simple half-bathroom with a sink and toilet.
Design Tricks to Make a Small Bathroom Look Bigger
Limited space doesn’t mean you can’t spruce up your design. Mirrors, smaller vanities, and lighting can create the illusion of space even in a smaller bathroom. Read my post on 18 Ways Tile Can Help Your Small Bathroom Look Bigger.
Soft lighting and monochrome colors widen the area by creating contrast and drawing the eye deeper into the room. You can also make more space by building shelves or cabinets around the toilet or vanity to open up more of the room.
Consult Sizing Guides
Check out our sizing guides for help with designing a proportional space:
The Complete Bathroom Vanity Size Guide
What’s the Perfect Size Bathroom Mirror for Your Vanity?
What’s the Perfect Size Bathroom Sink for Your Vanity?
Install Radiant Heated Floors
One energy-saving idea that can greatly increase the use of a basement bathroom is to install underfloor heating. These systems provide uniform heating not only on the bathroom floor but in the air as well. Read about the many benefits in my post Are Heated Bathroom Floors Worth It?
How to Avoid Mold in a Basement Bathroom
Basements are more susceptible to dampness and humidity than other areas of the house. Poor air circulation and a lack of natural sunlight make it harder for basements to dry out and this is especially true in a bathroom. So how can you avoid a dangerous and potentially costly bathroom mold problem?
Pick Flooring Carefully
Avoid using flooring materials that will absorb water.
Wood, linoleum, and laminate floors might look nice in an upstairs bathroom but they will likely warp and rot within a year if installed in a bathroom in the basement.
Instead, stick with tile, stone, cement, or ceramic flooring. If this sounds boring, try to find exciting tile patterns or beautiful stonework to liven up the area.
Install a Smart Bathroom Fan
And consider adding a smart bathroom fan with a humidity sensor. These fans will automatically turn on when the humidity rises above a preset level. (See this post for my favorite smart bathroom fans.)
So Is a Basement Bathroom Worth It for You?
Installing a basement bathroom might not be easy but it’s certainly worth the investment. A new bathroom can increase the value of your home and transform your basement from wasted space into an enjoyable living area.
Before you break ground, though, secure all the appropriate zoning permits, assess your home’s existing plumbing and wiring, and speak with a licensed contractor to create an efficient and stylish design.
Tags: basement bathroom, bathroom remodel, cost, real estate, value on resale