How To Add A Half Bath Without Adding All The Trouble

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If you have an older or smaller home, you may find yourself in a house with too few bathrooms. This can dampen not only the practicality of the home but also its value. Adding a full bath might be out of the budget, but adding a half bath (usually just toilet and sink) can still help solve both problems. According to estimates by the National Association of Home Builders, a half bath may add 10.5% to the value of the home. 

If the installation of a powder room or half bath is right for your home, here are 4 steps to finding the best location for it. 

Estimate Your Real Needs

When looking for a suitable half bath location, understand how much space you really need for a functional powder room. Thinking you need more room than you really do can lead to overlooked opportunities. Measure the width of a standard toilet style you like, adding at least half a foot to each side for maintenance and repair. This is the minimum width of your bath. Figure enough space to comfortably move around between the toilet and a sink or vanity (usually a couple of feet at minimum). A pedestal vanity can reduce the size requirements of a half bath if necessary, as can the use of a pocket door which retracts into the wall instead of out into the room. 

Locate Existing Plumbing

One of the best ways to simplify the addition of a half bath is to minimize how much you need to extend the house's existing plumbing. For this reason, take a look at all the places in your home that already have plumbing installed. This could include existing bathrooms, a laundry room, kitchen or garage. If the new powder room can share a wall with established plumbing, you'll have a lot less work ahead of you. Alternatively, look for ways to make adding pipes easier, such as on a main floor over a basement. A qualified plumber may be able to help you find good places to add to the plumbing. For more information, contact Plumbing and Heating by Technicon Industries or a similar company.

Think About Privacy

Adding a bath to your living area, kitchen, or sleeping areas can be problematic if too much sound can be heard between the two rooms. If you want to put the bath close to entertaining spaces, prevent bathroom sound bleeding through by adding insulation between the studs when you put up walls and/or wrap pipes with insulation.

Privacy is also a consideration for people entering and exiting the bath. Try to place a door where it will not lead directly into a living room, kitchen or dining area. Placing the door to one side may be a simple solution. If you can't control where the door is, look for ways to shield the view -- such as a room divider, lush potted plants or pieces of furniture.  

Learn Building Requirements

Adding a bathroom can be a little more difficult than adding many other types of rooms. Because water is involved, electrical requirements may be more stringent (such as the inclusion of a ground-fault circuit interrupter to protect from shocks). If working on your own design, sketch out an accurately-scaled plan for the half bath as well as surrounding rooms. Consult with your city's building codes department or a qualified contractor to see if your idea will need modification to meet requirements. Ventilation is also necessary, so if you can't include a window in your design, you may need to add some ducting and a ventilation fan. 

Following these 4 steps will help ensure you choose the perfect location for your new half bath. With good planning, you can come up with a place that's functional, aesthetically pleasing and as inexpensive as you can make it.