Photo by HomeInteriorsZone

Update: There are plenty of reasons to get a bathroom addition. Modern homes as a rule of thumb have one bathroom to every three people living in the house; so a large family with a hectic schedule could certainly benefit from a second bathroom! You could also add a guest bathroom where you can put out fancy soaps and luxury towels without fear of kids getting mud everywhere when they get home from soccer practice! Or maybe you just want a relaxing haven where you can unwind from the stress of the day in peace and quiet. Here’s our guide to building a bathroom addition:

Just ask yourself these questions. If you answer yes to any of them it may be time to add a new bathroom.

Are you ready to add a bathroom to your home? In the past, 1 bathroom would meet most homeowners need, but today for a variety of reasons, 2, 3, 4 and more bathrooms can be found in homes across the country.

  • Are you tired of standing in line for your turn in the bathroom?
  • Are you tired of cleaning mascara out of your eye or lipstick off your forehead because someone jostled you in the bathroom?
  • Are you tired of explaining the nicks on your chin caused when someone bumped you while trying to share the bathroom?
  • Has your family outgrown the number of available bathrooms in your home?
  • Is a parent moving into your home and in need a separate bathroom?

Adding a bathroom can make your home more comfortable and convenient in the short run. It can also increase the value of your home in the long run. The National Board of Realtors reports that most people are looking for at least two full bathrooms in a home. Realtor Magazine also reports that in most parts of the country, you will recoup 74-90% the cost of adding the bathroom in the increase you will realize in the selling price of your home when you put it on the market.

The first thing to do is to decide where the new bathroom will be located. Can you locate some extra space within the existing house that can be used for the new bathroom? Will you need to extend the house to add the bathroom? If you plan to add a “powder room” or a half-bath, you will need to find about 18 square feet. A bathroom with a shower will require about 30 square feet. A bathroom with a shower and a tub will require at least 35 square feet.


Once you have identified the space you will use, it is time to start planning the room. First, check with your local government to see what the minimum room size requirements are. Then think carefully about who will use the bathroom and if that use requires any special fixtures, space or accessibility. For example, an additional bathroom for a teenage boy may not require a large space, and may require only a shower (no tub). A bathroom for an elderly or disabled person, on the other hand, will require some special safety features.


Then look at how you think you want the bathroom to look in terms of placing fixtures. Where do you want the toilet? Have you allowed about 2 feet in front of it? Do you need just a shower stall, or do you want a tub with a shower, or do you want both a tub and a shower? How much storage space do you need in the bathroom? Do you need a linen closet? Do you need a vanity with drawers and cabinets? What kind of lighting do you want?

By looking at various types and styles of fixtures, you can accommodate your needs for the bathroom and achieve the design and style you want. For example, if this bathroom is to be attached to a guest room, you may not need a large vanity or a great deal of storage. You might be able to maximize the use of space by installing a pedestal sink and placing it across from the toilet. This makes the bathroom look more open and creates a bit more leg room when using the toilet. You can also save space by planning for a corner shower.

If you have choices about where you will locate your new bathroom, you will probably want to consider the location that makes the installation easier or less expensive. You can save money on plumbing costs, for example, if the new bathroom shares a wall with an existing bathroom or kitchen. It will also save on cost if the new bathroom is situated above a crawlspace or a basement — it will be easier to connect plumbing and electricity. Another consideration might be proximity to the waste drain.

If your new bathroom is to have windows, you will need to think about where the windows will be placed in proximity to the various fixtures. Whether or not you have windows — but especially if there are no windows — you will need to plan for ventilation through either the roof or an exterior wall.

Finally, but perhaps most important, be sure to consider the additional weight a bathroom adds. Bathroom fixtures tend to be rather heavy. You will need to check the supports and floor joists in the area where you plan to add the RemodelOrMove.com: Bathroom Remodeling Workbook by Dan Fritschenbathroom. Especially in an older home, you may need to reinforce those joists before you install bathroom fixtures. Your choice of fixtures may determine the need to reinforce the joists.

Then you can turn your attention to the fun part of adding a bathroom — choosing the design and the materials. Always consider the function of the bathroom, the amount of use it will receive, and whether the materials and the decor blend with the rest of your home. Your choices are limited only by your imagination and your budget.

For a tub or a shower you have several choices in materials, colors and styles. You can choose from fiberglass, porcelain, metal. You can choose a tub or a shower that is pre-fabricated and simply requires placement and connection to plumbing. You can use white or you can use colors. You can surround the tub and/or shower with ceramic tile or with drywall that can be either painted or wallpapered.

Your choices for a sink or a pair of sinks are also extensive. You can use a pedestal sink, a sink built into a vanity cabinet, a sink that sits atop a vanity cabinet, or even one that attaches to the wall. You can choose from a variety of materials and colors, as well.

Your floor covering can range from vinyl floor covering to hardwood to a wood laminate to ceramic tile. You can even use marble or granite. And, if you wish, you can install heating elements under several flooring materials so you will never step from the tub or shower onto a cold floor.

Your shower can be simple or it can include a sauna feature or multiple massaging shower heads for a relaxing treat. Your tub can include jets for hydrotherapy or your own private spa.

No matter what the style you want to achieve or the budget you are working with, you can find fixtures, wall coverings, floor coverings and decorating items that will achieve the look and the experience you desire. Your new bathroom addition can focus on functionality or luxury or a little of both.

You may want to do a bathroom addition yourself. It might be a fun project, and you might be able to save money. It will be important to have the appropriate permits from your locality, know the requirements of the building codes, and be sure you know enough about plumbing and electrical wiring to do the job right. Otherwise, it could be wiser to hire a contractor to do the plumbing and the electrical work, leaving the easier tasks for you.