Adding an Attic Bathroom – What You Need to Know

Attic bathroom

If you are thinking about adding a bedroom to your attic level, and you have determined your attic can be built to accommodate a living space, you are probably thinking about adding a bathroom up there as well. 

As with adding a bathroom to any basement living spaces, having a bathroom in the attic is essential for the house’s function and its resale value. It’s something you want to seriously think about if you plan to house members of your family up there or sell your house someday.

Adding an Attic Bathroom is Relatively Inexpensive

An attic renovation benefits from the fact that the structure of your room is already built. In many cases, plumbing and electricity can be run relatively smoothly to the third floor, as well as heating and cooling ducts.

What’s left is to change the insulation, shore up the floor joists, and finish with walls and fixtures.

To add a small, basic bathroom to this plan can still be relatively inexpensive. Additionally, it leaves you with a considerable value-add. 

Building Codes & Permits

If you are wondering if attic bathroom renovations are a good idea to DIY, remember they are under the same building code restrictions as any other room.

When you hire professionals, not only do you get expert plumbing and framing, you know that your attic conversion is up to code, and all permits are pulled.

Structural Support

Most attics aren’t designed to hold more than what’s called “dead weight load.”

Dead weight means homeowners can only use the space for light storage and limited traffic.

In contrast, live weight load means the total weight:

  • Furniture
  • fixtures, and
  • temporary objects, including people.

The joists – or structural “beams” create the floor’s support. They will be spaced closer together to accommodate a live load or further apart for a dead load. The joists can be supplemented with more wood to make them stronger if designed for a dead weight load. 

Full or Half Attic Bathroom?

A full bathroom with a toilet, sink, and shower or tub will add the most value for your money. Moreover, this is especially true if you live in a house without a proper master suite.

However, they are more costly and labor-intensive than a small half-bath. A bathtub or shower can add significant weight to the floor – meaning you may have to shore up your floor joists even more.

Bathing facilities can become more complicated as you have to consider water supply to the attic and drainage lines back down.

If you decide a full bath isn’t in the cards for your attic renovation, a half bath with just a toilet and sink still means guests don’t have to stumble downstairs in the middle of the night. 

Making Plans

One of the first decisions you will be making is where to place the attic bathroom.

You will need headroom for a shower, adequate supports for a heavy tub and additional traffic, and access to water supply, the sewer line, and vent stack.

Ideally, an attic bathroom could be situated over a downstairs bathroom or kitchen, and it would still sit under the highest peak of the roof. If that’s not possible, sometimes a simple dormer can create the necessary space. 

Not every attic bathroom plumbing can be tied straight into the plumbing of the bathroom below. Sometimes, it will need to be vented to the basement. This type of plumbing job isn’t one you want to get wrong. It’s always best to have an expert plumber for a new bathroom. In addition, an expert contractor will  know how to finish your space perfectly.

Bringing it Home

In conclusion, are you thinking about converting your attic space to a living area? Would you like to include a half or full bathroom to your attic? Do you live in Southeast Michigan? Give us a call! We are happy to answer your questions. 

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