How to Build a Bathroom in the Basement

Installing a bathroom in your basement will include applications you will use in no other home remodel or construction project. While challenging, the project will not present any obstacles that cannot be overcome with careful planning and preparation.

  • Tape measure
  • Level
  • Pressure treated wood
  • Piping
  • Upflush toilet
  • Sink
  • GFCI electrical devices
  • Drywall
Frame in your bathroom using pressure treated 2-by-4s on 16-inch centers. Anchor the frame to the cement floor and any exterior walls with cement screws or nails. Drill the studs in preparation for your electrical wiring as well as all plumbing.

Rough in the electrical and plumbing lines. Run your hot and cold lines to the sink and shower/tub areas. You will need only a cold water line to the toilet. Depending on the code in your area, the piping can be either copper or PVC. Tie into an existing water line using a 'tee' fitting. Be certain to turn off the water supply first and be prepared for some drainage from the line when you cut into it. The drains from the shower and sink need to end at the toilet area. All electrical devices need to be GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interruption) devices to meet code and to offer maximum protection for you and your family. Site in your outlet and switch boxes and wire the devices, leaving the face plates off. Note: In some locations, local laws and codes require electrical work and plumbing to be done by licensed contractors. Check the rules in your area with your local code enforcement office before you start doing the work yourself.

Hang the drywall using drywall screws. Begin in one corner and hang all full sheets of drywall first. Carefully measure, cut and hang all partial pieces of drywall, cutting out for all electrical outlets and piping.

Install the appliances. In order to allow yourself the maximum room possible to maneuver, install the shower or tub enclosure first. You can then install the sink and toilet. Finish plumbing in the water supply and connect the drain lines to the upflush toilet. The better toilets will have inlets for both the sink and tub, which will mean you need only one pumping device to remove all waste water from the bathroom. The toilet, depending on the model you have selected, will either plug into an outlet or be hard wired to provide power to the pump.

Paint the drywall and add final decorative touches. Mud over the screw heads and seams and, after allowing the mud to dry, sand the surfaces smooth and flat. Paint the drywall, applying two coats. You are then ready to install the electrical face plates, towel rods, and other decorative items. Your bathroom is now ready to use.

Tips and Warnings

  • Attempt to locate the toilet directly beneath an overhead bathroom if possible. This will insure your water lines and drain lines are readily available. The less distance the pump has to push the waste water the better your system will function.

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