Adding a bathroom is first and foremost based on the space you have. Can you fit another bathroom into your house? Most contractors say probably yes. The experts maintain that a second or third bathroom can be squeezed into almost any house. Be aware that a conventional bathroom could weigh more than an original floor was designed to carry. Here are the facts and figures on how to add an extra bathroom.
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Bath fixtures fit into less space than most people think. Into 25 square feet bathroom floor plans, you can squeeze a complete – if cramped – shower bathroom which would keep the cost to add a extra bathroom low. If you want a tub, you will need a little more space. With small bathroom designs about the only concession you may need to make with these tight fits is to hang the door so it opens outward – into the hall or adjoining room.
It is not only useful, but vital, to see what bathroom fixtures you can fit into your bathroom space before you begin the work. With online bath design tools you can visualize how to remodel your old bathroom and make your own floor plans. Change colors, add fixtures or paint the walls. There are many themes to choose from, including the lastest vintage bath styles. Soon you can create the perfect spa for today's busy lifestyle. Just let your imagination be your guide. Find some of the best sites for online bath design.
No room for an extra bathroom? Think again! Walk-in closets often can be turned into powder rooms or bathrooms without tearing down walls. If you have large rooms, stealing three feet from the length of one can make sufficient space. Sometimes a pantry can be spared. A bathroom can also be put in a low-ceiling area. You can tuck one into the attic under the eaves. Just allow six feet six inches of head room for a shower; an even lower ceiling is okay for a tub. Find seven places for that extra bathroom.
You can design your own bathroom to match your space. A small sink measures 24” wide by 18” deep; a toilet 30” wide and 30” deep; both fixtures should have a minimum clearance of 18” in front of them. Sometimes the same space will give access to both.
Small fiberglass shower stalls measures 30” square; a small bathtub - 54” wide and 31” deep. Access to tub or shower can be through the same space in front of the other fixtures. There are a few new bathroom fixtures that are made to help you cheat on these minimums. Smaller bathtubs, shower and bath combination units, and even 4 foot square bathtubs with a built-in seat. Many small sinks are available that protrude only 14” into the room. Some small toilets are available also. Some of these smaller fixtures can cost somewhat more than the standard models so your best bet is to try the standard dimensions first.
Most houses are built with floor joists to carry a live load of 40 pounds per square foot. Ceramic tile with a mortar base weighs about 30 pounds per square foot, and some bathtubs weigh as much. Be aware that a conventional bathroom will weigh more than an ordinary floor was designed to carry over a moderate span. Good quality two-by-eight fir joists 16” on center – common floor construction – should not span more than 8 feet if they must support 60 pounds per square foot. Two-by-10 joists will carry the same load on a 13 foot span. You may have to reinforce the joists if you intend to use cast-iron fixtures and ceramic tile set in mortar.
The easiest way out, for a first-floor bathroom, is to cross the center of the floor joists with a supporting beam. The joists weakest spot – the center – will rest on this beam. A four-by-ten beam almost surely will carry the added weight. Support it at its ends with four-by-four posts at least, or steel columns.
Strengthening second-floor joists takes more doing. Usual procedure is to remove the flooring and nail extra joists to existing ones. These must be supported at both ends by the bearing partitions. You probably won’t have to double more than six joists to get sufficient strength.
An alternate method of reinforcing the floor – and incidentally providing space for pipes – is to build a platform floor above the present one. This means a step up to the bathroom floor. If the building inspector okays it, you can avoid reinforcing the present floor by using lightweight materials. Tile set in adhesive instead of mortar, wallboard instead of tile, and enameled-steel instead of cast-iron fixtures will help save weight. Basement bathrooms don’t usually present structural problems.
Bathrooms deep inside the house are increasingly popular. They give you more freedom in where to add a bathroom and, of course, no window means no drafts in the tub or shower. The advantage offered by windowless baths is in location convenience and economy. Moreover, the development of skylights and vent fans have made windowless bathrooms more than acceptable today. Ventilation is automatic when you use an exhaust fan that turns on with the light switch. Author: John L. Springer