Make your Smaller Home More Livable with a New Bath

(ARA) – Smaller homes are making a comeback. More families are hanging onto their existing homes and improving these smaller properties, instead of trading up. 

Maximizing livable space is how the American Institute of Architects (AIA) describes this new trend, a by-product of a down new-housing and real estate market. Smaller remodel projects – finishing attics and basements – readily achieve that goal, making the home more enjoyable today while increasing its resale value tomorrow. 

Nearly 130 million homes are currently in need of work, including adjustments to meet “changing preferences and lifestyles,” such as family members returning home to live, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. 

As the owner of a smaller home, you should know that adding even a small bathroom is among the best investments you can make, typically returning 65 percent or more of the cost on resale. In the attic or the basement, you can save money on a bath addition by using macerating plumbing, which requires no digging for under-floor drainage piping. 

For this same reason, you can also convert an existing room or even a closet into a new small bathroom to better accommodate guests or even family members moving into your home. No digging for drainage means a quicker, less messy and cheaper installation experience. Macerating plumbing systems can handle the waste from a toilet as well as a sink and a tub/shower. As a result, you can create not just a powder room, but a full bath with all the decorative accessories. 

Install an up toilet 
Known as an up toilet or above-floor plumbing, macerating technology is the way to go, says East Taunton, Mass., plumber Mike Sikorski, who installs Saniflo brand products. Plumbing waste and water are pumped through small-diameter piping, which can be located inside the wall, right into the sewer or septic tank. Sikorski estimates that this type of system saves his customers $1,000 on average, “and that’s on the low side,” he says. 

Mike Vines of Lake Orion, Mich., recently improved his home with a basement upgrade using an up-toilet system. “I couldn’t be happier,” he says of the half bath he added to the family home. “In these tough times, anything you can do to increase the value of your house, the better off you’re going to be.” 

Saving money is key 
Cost-saving projects like these are among the ways homeowners will most likely focus their future remodeling dollars, according to the 2009 Remodeling Market in Transition report prepared by the Joint Center. 

“I believe that the struggling economy has actually helped the smaller profile repair/remodel market,” says Steve Norton, president of M & N Plumbing Supply in Denver. “People are staying the course, and macerating plumbing offers a lower-cost option to breaking up cement.” 

If you’re staying put in your smaller home, but want to improve its livability and long-term value, consider adding a bathroom with macerating plumbing. 

Tips for a better bath 
Here are some tips to make the most of your bathroom addition, even if it’s a small one: 

* Maximize space by placing a pedestal sink in the corner along with a mirrored medicine cabinet designed for in-corner installation. 
* Plan your new bath so the door won’t bump into anything when it is opened. The National Kitchen & Bath Association ( is a good resource for planning dimensions. 
* Must you have a tub, or will a shower suffice? Putting in an enclosed stall shower saves a lot of space. 
* Install grab bars to prevent falls. They’re not just for the elderly. The Home Safety Council ( recommends grab bars in every bath. 
* No window? Good lighting can make a room look and feel larger. Recessed lighting is a smart choice for small spaces. Task lighting over the sink is a welcome feature. 
* Don’t forget the fan. Installing a fan can help prevent moisture problems, such as mold and mildew. 

Learn more about low-cost, above-floor bathroom and grey water pumping systems by visiting or calling (800) 571-8191. 

Courtesy of ARAcontent