Tips for Planning a Bathroom Addition

Adding another bathroom to the home is not only an investment in the members of the household but also a smart way to add value to a home. It can free up time in the morning, dissolve daily disputes, and make everyone’s lives just a little easier to handle. According to trends in new home construction, having more than one bathroom in a home is becoming the norm (only 5% of new single-family homes in 2016 featured 1.5 or fewer baths!). Whether a homeowner just has another member of their household who could use their own space or someone who may need additional safety features, there are a few things to keep in mind before finalizing the plans for a home bathroom addition.

Conversion Smarts

Homeowners may be surprised at how easy it can be to turn unused or underutilized space in their home into a bathroom. The attic, basement, and even tucked away corners can all be viable options for a new bathroom. A half bathroom will only need about 18-square feet while a bathroom with a shower will only need around 30-square feet. Corner showers especially are a great way to save space and add functionality to the home. Those who want a traditional bathtub should measure at last 35-square feet.

Some who have plenty of space in their home may want to separate the toilet from the shower. While an attractive idea and suitable for many, a solid wall may make some people feel boxed in. One thing a homeowner can do if anyone in the family is claustrophobic is to place the toilet on one side of the door and the shower on the other side. Or there are privacy panels made of obscured glass that add a style element to the bathroom without taking up much space.

Planning the Plumbing

Ideally, the space a homeowner chooses will be close to existing water lines. Moving around the plumbing will almost certainly be the most expensive line item in a new bathroom, costing $5,000 – $10,000 to move a vent stack (or the line that leads to the main vent.) Homeowners will need the assistance of a licensed plumber to ensure the bathroom is up to code and safe to use.

Homeowners should consult with their plumber to learn more about how they can keep costs down. A plumber may be able to spot a space a homeowner overlooked or redesign the pipe configuration to meet a homeowner’s needs. Homeowners should have a general idea of what they want the bathroom to look like, including where the fixtures and cabinets will go, but they also should be flexible enough to change if it makes financial sense to relocate or reconsider certain elements.

Considering the Layout

Any walls that contain pipes are known as wet walls, and homeowners need to identify these walls when deciding on their layout. Those wet walls can be easily extended to accommodate a new bathroom, which can drastically reduce how much is spent on the addition. If possible, homeowners should aim to add a bathroom on the other side of the adjoining wall of another wet wall. This could mean putting the new bathroom on the opposite side of an existing bathroom, kitchen, or utility closet.

One rule of thumb is that homeowners will get more style flexibility if they choose to establish their bathroom without the help of a wet wall. While a more expensive option, this allows homeowners to plan their bathroom with more space and storage areas. Homeowners who want the sunken Jacuzzi tub, separate shower, and an isolated toilet closet (plus additional cabinets and closets) may have no other options but to install or relocate their plumbing to a separate area of the home.

There are plenty of factors for a homeowner to consider before they decide to add another bathroom, but the good news is that few homeowners regret making the extra effort. Not only will an additional bathroom make everyone in the house breathe a little deeper, it can also be an attractive enough feature to convince a future home buyer to up their offer.


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