Perhaps you’re planning a playroom for the kids, a rec room for the teenagers, or that long-awaited man cave. Essential to the plan is a basement bathroom so folks don’t have to pound up the stairs whenever nature calls. Every active home can always benefit from an extra bathroom, but adding one to a basement brings a few challenges. Check out these special plumbing needs before you forge ahead.
Some lucky homeowners may find that their sewer and wastewater lines are deep enough that their bathrooms can be constructed in the usual way, using gravity to drain the waste and water just like in upper bathrooms. There may already be stubs of plumbing pipes available for instant hook-up.
But even in this best-case-scenario, a plumber will have to make sure that the flow rate is fast enough for the fixtures you want to install. Also, a plumber will have to determine whether a back valve should be installed to the sewer line to prevent a smelly backflow to what will likely be the lowest access in your home.
However, if it turns out that your sewer and wastewater lines aren’t deep enough—a very common scenario—then you face a few decisions. You could dig up the concrete floor of your basement to arrange the plumbing properly if that’s an option. Alternatively—and often more economically—you can consider installing special appliances.
Fixtures That Work
If your sewer and/or wastewater lines enter the house above the level of the basement, or if your drainage lines aren’t deep enough below the basement, fixtures that use gravity for drainage isn’t viable. Instead, there are a number of ways you can direct wastewater and sewage out of your home.
- Pressure-Assisted Toilets. These toilets are a good idea for basements even if you do have the option to use the usual gravity drainage. Basement toilets won’t have the additional push of a multi-floor drop, so pressure-assisted ones use air to force waste through, giving gravity a little boost.
- Self-Contained “Up-Flushing” Toilets. If you want to avoid breaking your concrete basement floor, these stand-alone toilets push waste up pipes into sewer lines that enter the home from above basement level.
- Sewer Ejection Systems. These basement pumps sit below or above the concrete floor to pump sewer waste as well as wastewater into the septic tank or sewer line.
Installing a basement bathroom incorrectly can turn out to be a smelly, messy disaster. Before you plan your renovation, be sure to talk it over thoroughly with your local plumber.