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Putting a Bathroom in a Basement

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 19 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Bathroom Basement Cellar Damp Drains

Putting a bathroom in a basement might sound like an odd idea but with the pressure on space in the UK and the growing fad for a bathroom for every bedroom, it's an options that more and more people are exploring.

Basement Conversions Increasing in Popularity

Probably the most cost-effective extension is a loft conversion, certainly in terms of the return on investment. This is because you can add a bedroom and bathroom without any expensive work making foundations, walls and the roof. But a basement comes a close second, although the work require to make it damp-proof can be expensive.

Using basement or cellar space for living quarters is becoming more popular, particularly in urban areas where conventional extending is frowned upon or a property has already used up it's permissible quota of extension work. In this article we'll look at the practicalities of installing the plumbing for a basement bathroom and put to one side the issues of damp-proofing, tanking and otherwise sealing the cellar or basement.

Plumbing and Ventilation for Basement Bathrooms

The two main problems that you face putting a bathroom in a basement are ventilation and the sad fact that water is not keen to flow against gravity. There's a reason why most bathrooms are upstairs and it's because it's much cheaper and easier to get water and waste out to the sewers and drains.

So if your bathroom is below ground and, more importantly, below the soil and waste pipes for the sewers and drains then it's time for pumps to come into play. One of the easiest ways of dealing with waste is to fit a toilet with a macerator.

Macerator Toilets

This literally minces toilet waste up into small chunks so that it can be carried out of the house with small bore piping rather than having to put four-inch waste pipes all over the place, something that can be difficult and expensive.

The pump fitted with the macerator can also be used to push waste water from the sink, bath and shower out through the same outlet, so you solve all the plumbing problems in one go. It goes without saying that a great deal of attention should be given to sealing joints, pipework and plumbing fittings.

Shifting all that Condensation

Ventilation is far more important in a basement bathroom than an upstairs one because damp can cause real problems in any room that's underground. And of course a bathroom is going to create a lot more water vapour than any other type of room.

Look to site the bath and shower somewhere close to an outside wall so that you can easily fit a fan that will remove the condensation. If this isn't possible, don't rely on a fan in a wall or window that's nowhere near the bath or shower. Put ducting in to place the fan's suction power as close as possible to the sources of condensation. This might cost more but in the long run it's a real saving.

Have a Go

This might all sound like quite a lot of hassle but don't let that put you off. Have a chat with some architects and plumbers, preferably ones who have previous installed a bathroom in a cellar. If you can add another bathroom to your home the increase in it' value should offset the cost of the work.

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