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If you’re planning to finish your basement, you are likely considering adding a bathroom. Weighing the pros and cons of adding a basement bathroom may be a bit overwhelming. It is a huge undertaking, and the cost of doing so can be pretty high due to the complexities of adding plumbing to an underground space.
It is likely something you will need to hire a professional to help you with, which will also add to the price and inconvenience of the remodel. Before adding a basement bathroom, you will need to determine if the time and investment that goes into the addition are worth it.
Although it may be an expensive and time-consuming process, adding a basement bathroom is worthwhile and comes with many benefits. Not only are basement bathrooms convenient, but they also add value to your home. The money you invest in a basement bathroom will recoup its value when you sell the house.
How Will The Remodel Cost Be Recouped
Adding a bathroom to your finished basement can typically run anywhere from $5,000-$25,000.
The bulk of this cost comes from running a water line and plumbing down to the basement and back out since it will require the assistance of a licensed professional who will jackhammer through the concrete floors in your basement.
You have some options available to simplify the process and avoid breaking your foundation. You could use either an up-flush toilet or a composting toilet.
The up-flush toilet will increase the running costs of the finished bathroom since it needs a pump that will need to be serviced and replaced. They are also known to clog more easily compared to conventional toilets.
This assumes that the install is done correctly and high-quality materials are used. You will need to be careful to stick to a budget if you are concerned about recouping your money when you sell the home.
Using the absolute highest quality materials may not give you a dollar-for-dollar return. At the same time, using cheap, out-of-style materials is also not appealing to potential home buyers.
Keeping your design on-trend without breaking the bank will help you get the most bang for your buck.
What Do Buyers Want To See
Whether they intend to use your basement as a game room, man-cave, or a guest living area, buyers will be overjoyed to see a full bathroom.
Having the extra space and privacy is a major draw and one they will likely pay extra for. A basement bathroom does not have to be a focal point of the house, and it is okay to keep the design somewhat simple.
Still, buyers would like to see a walk-in tiled shower and some modern finishes.
On the other hand, many homeowners want to make their basement bathroom bolder than other areas in the house. You could add a bright wallpapered accent wall or a unique light fixture to add character to the bathroom.
When building a bathroom in the basement underfloor heating is definitely something that should be considered. It’s a worthwhile investment that won’t cost much yet will increase the comfort level drastically.
Basement floors tend to be very cold and uncomfortable.
Especially if you decide to tile the floors, it will be unbearable to walk there barefoot. This is where underfloor heating shines, it will make the floor warm and toasty without breaking the bank.
Electric underfloor heating mat (amazon link) is relatively cheap to install if you do it during construction.
Basically, the only additional costs will be the heating mat and 1-hour extra labor for laying it. There won’t be any additional running costs if the bathroom is being heated anyway.
Here is an helpful calculator that helps you figure out how much electricity it will use and how much it will cost.
Buyers may also like a themed bathroom that fits in with the use of the basement, like including sports paraphernalia in the bathroom if the basement is used as a game room.
If the basement is more of a “man cave,” you could continue the masculine design into the bathroom. However you decide to design it, just remember that your bathroom could be the deciding factor over another home that does not have a basement bathroom.
What Will Get The Best ROI
Not all remodels are the same. If you want to maximize your return, you should consider the following variables:
- Where You Live – Some real estate markets favor basement bathrooms more than others. A finished basement with a bathroom is a common part of a house and will be expected in some larger cities. In one of these areas, your bathroom will be expected to be more than just functional; buyers will expect higher-end finishes.
- Your Materials Selection – Adding a bathroom will increase value to a certain point. If you are using extremely expensive materials, just know you will not get a dollar-for-dollar return. You don’t want to go cheap either. Use average materials which are on-trend and look appealing to save money on the install and increase your ROI.
Should You Consider DIY
Building a basement bathroom is no easy task, and you will be faced with some unique challenges. While some parts of the process can be done yourself, it would be wise to hire a contractor for most of the work.
A large part of the expense of a basement bathroom install comes from paying the contractor, but incorrectly installing these items yourself will cost you more money. It’s not worth it.
Some of the work you should hire a contractor for are:
- Toilet – This can be tricky, especially if you don’t already have a drain for sewage. Your contractor will have to create a drain in your basement floor and connect it to the main waste pipe. Probably not something you’d like to attempt to do yourself.
- Exhaust fan – Ventilation is necessary to remove moisture. The contractor will likely tie into an upstairs vent which can get messy. They will have to repair drywall and possibly roofing to do this, which takes a lot of time and hard work. (If the bathroom is adjacent to an exterior wall, you could vent the exhaust fan through the wall instead. This involves no ductwork and potentially leaky roof vents)
- Plumbing – Your new bathroom will need plumbing to be installed, which could first require them to run a plumbing vent to the roof. Once that is complete, they would have to install water supply pipes from existing pipes to the new shower, sink, and toilet. If this sounds confusing and difficult, you should hire a contractor to do it.
- Lighting – Basement bathrooms don’t usually have natural lighting, so installing the proper lighting is very important, but wiring below ground level is complicated. Doing this wrong could cause injury or even fires.
There are easier cosmetic projects that you could do yourself during the remodel. Installing a tile floor or the tile in the shower could be done yourself since they are fairly straightforward processes that do not contain a lot of risks.
This could save you some money off the project’s total cost if the budget is something that is worrying you. Overall, a licensed contractor should do most of the project since it will save you time and reduce the risk of something catastrophic happening.
Is It Worth The Time And Expense
After hearing how much work and money will go into the project, you may be asking yourself if it is even worth it.
I spoke to a Realtor who has experience in selling homes with and without basement bathrooms.
Their answer? It’s always worth adding a bathroom in a finished basement. In fact, they’ve never heard of a buyer thinking a basement bathroom was a negative attribute to a home.
Before you begin your project, you could get in touch with a local real estate agent who could give you an idea of how much value your basement bathroom will add to your home.
They could look at recent market trends and even show you photos of homes with and without basement bathrooms so you can compare your project to theirs.
Overall, finishing a basement and adding a bathroom is absolutely worth the time and expense.
Just make sure it is done properly to avoid any potentially dangerous situations. You will not regret it.
Related article: Pros and Cons of Basement Bedrooms
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