When You Have To Have Another Bathroom!

When You Have To Have Another Bathroom!

Having fewer bathrooms than would comfortably accommodate the members of a household is a recipe for discontent.

"I have to get in there!"

"You've been in there forever!"

Unbearable whines of less-than-happy siblings or family members likely keep bathroom renovation experts in business.

Deciding to add an extra bathroom to any home is a big project to take on. However, done right, it's a project that will add property value, even in a slumping economy, as well as convenience and livability.

"Most people want at least two bathrooms, so if you only have one bathroom in your house it's almost always worth it to have a second," says Eric Bell, owner of Bell Construction & Remodeling in Medford.

"It's mostly a matter of convenience for the homeowner. And from a sales perspective, most people buying a house don't want a house with one bathroom unless you're talking about a really low-end house."

The decision to add a bathroom is most often related to household need. Perhaps an elderly parent is moving in or several teenagers reside under one roof. Maybe the adults of the house have long wanted their own private bathroom.

An increasingly popular trend in recent years, more and more homeowners are even adding third bathrooms or even scaled down "powder rooms" with just a sink and toilet to ensure guests are well accommodated — and spared the sight of more heavily used family bath areas.

There are a few considerations, says Medford contractor Derek Bates. Sacrificing a bedroom in a larger home — with at least five bedrooms — is more feasible than in a home with only two or three bedrooms. Adding an extra bath at the expense of a much-needed bedroom could hurt the value of the home.

First things first, scour the home for possible existing locations, giving consideration to primary living areas and the plumbing of the home. Adding a bathroom within existing roofing and foundation is 30 to 40 percent less expensive than adding to the footprint of a home, Bates says.

Look for wasted space to convert, such as an elongated bedroom, walk-in closet or an area beneath a flight of stairs. Maybe a linen closet could be sacrificed to accommodate an small powder room.

In terms of plumbing, adding a bathroom is easiest when plumbing is less than 15 years old or easily accessible by a crawl space or access panels.

Keep in mind, if the planned space will share a wall with an existing bath or kitchen, hundreds of dollars can be saved by not having to extend plumbing from elsewhere. Don't put a bathroom in a less than usable space, however, simply for plumbing access.

Once the "if" and "where" has been worked out, planning the space is the most time consuming. Use duct tape to outline possible locations of various fixtures. Hiring a qualified contractor will ensure work is done properly and local standards for room size, plumbing requirements, permitting and fees are met.

In outfitting a planned restroom, consider making the new room energy efficient and modern as well as addressing necessary plumbing upgrades in adjoining areas of the home.

"If you're in an old house with galvanized pipe, they have a limited life span anyway, so when you look at remodeling and discover pipes are bad or rusty or need to be re-plumbed, plan on replacing old pipes at the same time," Bell suggests.

Issues such as ventilation, wiring for lights and reinforced flooring (for full tubs) will need to be addressed as well as use of space. For smaller bathrooms, consider space-saving amenities such as small-based pedestal sinks, corner showers and an on-demand water heater to avoid strain on existing supplies. Pocket doors are also a popular alternative in cramped quarters.

Whether you add a full scale master bathroom with dual vanities or a tiny, beneath-the-stairs powder room for dinner guests, an extra bathroom is one of the most desirable spaces that can be added to any home.

"It adds value and it makes the home more livable," Bates says. "And it's a good investment in the long run."

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