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Building a Bedroom in Your Attic? Tips for Installing the Bathroom

tips for installing bathroom attic

So you’ve decided to install a bedroom in the attic? Congratulations, that means you’ll also be putting in a bathroom.

Now it’s true that you don’t have to add a bathroom to an attic bedroom, but consider the following:

Reduced traffic to the downstairs bathroom, convenience for family and guests or whoever else occupies the room, increased resale value, and the added bonus of telling people you now have an en suite bathroom.

Or maybe you already had one so that’s two now, but who’s counting.

Before installing your new bathroom in the attic, it’s wise to do some homework. The following small bathroom ideas and tips will help you avoid mistakes along the way.

Tips for Installing a Bathroom in an Attic Bedroom

1. Check for building permit requirements. They’ll vary depending on where you are, but you’ll definitely need them. Most codes require some portion of the finished attic space to be at least 7 feet in height, with a minimum square footage of 70 feet.

2. If you’re installing a full bathroom, consider that the floor needs to be strong enough to hold a bathtub filled with water.

Even if this is only a half bathroom, you’ll still at minimum be putting in a toilet and sink. Attic floors aren’t generally designed with this kind of weight in mind, so some reinforcement will likely be necessary. Not getting this right could be costly, so the better idea is to consult with a structural engineer or qualified contractor.

3. In general, the part of the attic with the most height is toward the center, so you’ll likely want to consider locating the bathroom there.

4. If you need it, additional height can be created by installing a dormer space or a skylight or both.

5. Bathrooms require plumbing. Since you already have that in the bathroom and kitchen downstairs, you’ll save money if you can locate the new bathroom directly above. This way you’ll minimize the distance between new and existing plumbing lines.

Local plumbing services can advise you on the best spot and will be happy to take on the full plumbing side of the project.

6. If you only have a hatch to your attic with one of those sliding ladders that hits you in the head every time you open it, you’ll need to install a staircase. If you do, keep it simple and make it as wide as possible, as during construction you’ll be bringing in materials, bathroom cabinets, and other bathroom units.

7. If you already have a staircase, the same applies. Measure beforehand to ensure you can get everything you’ll need into the attic space. You don’t want to discover too late that you need to remove a window and winch the bathtub up the outside of the house with a crane.

8. Attics, in general, aren’t too particular about temperature. They tend to go along with whatever’s going on outside. Consider insulating the walls to help maintain an even temperature throughout the year.

9. Attics can be noisy. Insulating the walls can also help reduce noise originating in the attic from echoing about the house.

10. Finishing your new bathroom with enhanced lighting and lighter, brighter colors helps give the impression of space. As will natural light, streaming in through that skylight, for example.

11. If you want to keep the heat or moisture out of the attic as you are planning to use it on a regular basis, you should consider installing a solar attic fan. This is very energy efficient and will keep your attic cool even in hot summer.

Go Local for Quality and Reliability

As with any major construction project it pays to shop around for professional services. Work with local businesses and they’ll often help direct you to reliable businesses they’ve worked with on past projects.

Likewise, talking with people who’ve had work done that you like can be helpful. Word of mouth is often the best way to find the best and most reliable businesses in your area.

Good luck with your next project!

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