Planning a Bathroom Addition

From on March 30, 2009 in Bathroom Remodel

yellowbath.jpgPhoto credit: Carlisle Classic Homes LLC

I can’t tell you how happy I am that it’s officially spring. While it’s not exactly warm yet here in Virginia, at least the sun is shining, birds are starting to migrate back, my garden seeds have been started in anticipation that someday it will be warm enough to plant them outside and, best of all, the construction industry starts to come out of hibernation. This is especially helpful to those of us married to contractors who have honey-cabin-fever. I don’t mind being locked up in this house all winter, but being locked up together can be, well, a LOT of togetherness.

One of the things we get calls for as soon as the leaves start budding is additions. There’s just something about watching the ground turn green that makes people want to split it open and build something new in it. While people rarely request an addition strictly for the sake of a bathroom, many planned additions contain at least one bathroom. It makes sense, the more room you add onto your home, the greater need there is for nearby facilities—either in the form of a powder room, guest bathroom, or even perhaps a master bath.

What usually shocks us is that people will call and ask for estimates without ever knowing anything about the space they want to annex to their home. If you are planning an addition to your home that will include a bathroom, here are some tips for things to consider.

bathsink.jpgPhoto credit: Fradkin Mittendorf Fine Construction

Knock, knock. Who’s there?
Most importantly, who will be using this new bathroom? This will help you determine the scale of the room you’ll need. If this is a powder room, you really only need a very small area, if it’s a guest bath or a child’s bathroom then you’ll want a moderately sized space, and if this is your own “Calgon, take me away” cove, you may want to plan an ample room.

There he goes again!
In terms of toilets and other bathroom fixtures, do a little research via the Internet or your local hardware store and find the types of fixtures that you like in terms of color, style, and efficiency. Even if your existing bathrooms aren’t exactly green, there’s no reason why you can’t make a fresh start with your addition. Low-flow showerheads and dual-flush toilets are a great way to cut back on your water consumption.

bath.jpgPhoto credit: Royoco Construction

Tankful to be here.
Even though you already have a water heater for your home, you’ll need to check that the tank can accommodate the addition of another bathroom. If it can, this still may be a good time to consider replacing it with an energy efficient water heater or a tankless system, which offers on-demand hot water. Water heaters use electricity to heat the water that comes out of your hot faucet taps and inefficient ones can waste water while you wait for the heated water to come through.

Nothing worse than being a little gassy.
No, it’s not what you think. I’m talking outgassing. Many building materials emit VOCs (volatile organic compounds) including some lumber and vinyl products. When planning your new bathroom, try to stay away from breathing in these toxins by selecting low-VOC products.