So you’re thinking about adding another bathroom to your home. There are many reasons to contemplate this project, ranging from an elderly parent moving in, to your teenagers’ constant fights over the current bathroom, to wanting more space to accommodate guests. Whatever your reasons, adding a bathroom will enhance your home’s resale value and provide increased comfort and convenience in the short term.
According to a 2003 cost-versus-value report from Remodeling magazine, you could make up to 94 percent of your investment back on a $15,000 mid-range bathroom addition. That is even more than the 80 percent this report cites for a major kitchen remodeling job.
Finding Space in Your Existing Home
The good news is that most homes offer sufficient space for another bathroom. The first thing to do is scour your home for possible locations; you’d be surprised at how much extra space you have in your house if you’d just look for it. Consider the basement, attic, under the hallway stairs, an enclosed porch or even an empty corner of an existing room. Maybe you would even be willing to give up a linen closet or space in a guest bedroom to accommodate a new bathroom. Look around and see what is available and what makes sense.
Planning the Room
Once you’ve taken the plunge and decided to move ahead with the room, start by checking your local building codes to determine minimum room size. In general, a powder room should be at least 18 square feet, a bathroom with a shower no smaller than 30 square feet, while a room with both a shower and tub should be no less than 35 square feet. You will also need the proper permits from your city before beginning the job.
Next, get a feel for the room by using masking tape to lay out where the fixtures will be located. A standard size toilet is usually 30 inches in width with a clearance of two feet in front. Don’t forget to map out the sink area and a tub or shower if that is in the plan, too.
If the new space you have targeted shares a wall with an existing bathroom or kitchen, you can save hundreds of dollars by not having to extend the plumbing, according to Garry Gage, a 20-year West coast plumbing veteran and consultant for FlowGuard Gold pipe and fittings. “Plumbing also will be less expensive if the area beneath the new bath is a basement or crawlspace without any obstructions,” says Gage.
Another tip for keeping the plumbing costs low is to locate the room as close as possible to the main waste drain, or the stack. Gage also advises homeowners to ensure that all drains are vented by routing them to an exterior wall or the roof to prevent sewer gas from entering the house.
Most critical is to ensure that the area is structurally sound, especially in an older home where floor joists may need reinforcement in the process of adding the bath.