Installing a Basement Half-Bathroom

Project: Basement Finishing and Family Space, Episode 7, Part 3

Back in Melrose, MA, Bob is outside for the installation of a white cedar fence that is racked to accommodate the sloping lot. The posts are sunk 36 inches into the ground, or one third the overall height of the fence, backfilled with dirt, then set with concrete for stability. The concrete is set outside the dirt packing so that water does not trap against the posts. The fence has its clear or beauty side facing out toward side neighbors, but facing in toward the yard in the back. The fence is built with wing walls to create adjacent mini sheds for gardening supplies, garbage, or backyard toys. Inside, Moynihan Lumber has adapted a Therma-Tru flush fiberglass door to fit the style and door opening from the basement to the yard. A new half-bath is installed with plumbing, wiring, and a macerating toilet to liquefy and expel waste from belowground fixtures. A tile floor is laid in the new laundry and bath with set-in electric radiant mats underneath for programmable warm floors. Fiberglass-faced wallboard is installed to keep the basement mold-free. It can be finished just like blue board with taping or a traditional plaster veneer.

Part 1: Installing a Fence on a Sloped Site
Part 2: Cutting an Exterior Door to Fit
Part 3: Installing a Basement Half-Bathroom
Bob explains how remodeling a basement presents owners with options they didn't realize they had. In the Melrose home project, a space previously used as a little paint closet was converted to house a half bathroom that is badly needed in a home with only one bathroom for its four members. The area was reframed and the staircase restructured to accommodate the room. Al Leone of Plumbers Union Local Number 12 installed the new piping using PEX flexible tubing. Electricians were then called in to rewire the area. Electrician John Schiavone installed the wires, circuits, switches, and outlets.: Georgia Pacific DensArmor Plus was used for wallboard for the bathroom in the basement remodeling project. Jim Larsen from Larco Wallboard reviews some of the features of the wallboard, including a fiberglass face to resist mold and mildew. The wallboard is easy to work with and will work with a plaster or drywall finish. A drywall finish was used in this project. The existing basement floor was a cold concrete slab that will now have ceramic tile floor installed over radiant heat mats. Bob talks with Kevin Murray from NuHeat Inc. about the electrical radiant heating pads. The pads go underneath the tile and can reach a temperature of about 92 degrees. Using the pads to heat a room uses about the same amount of electricity lighting the room. The pads plug into a programmable thermostat so the heating can be set to come on at regular times during the day. Murray then demonstrates how the pad is installed. First, it is dry-fitted to the floor and set to fit the general area. The pad is then affixed to the floor using an adhesive mud. After the mud has been put on the concrete and the pad set in place, a float is used to press it down. The pad is made of a porous polycarbon fabric. After all the pads are put in place, the tile setter can put in the mastic and tile. Mike Blangiardi from Portsmouth Quality Flooring set and grouted the tile after letting the thinset sit for 24 hours. The homeowners selected a DalTile ceramic tile for the laundry and bathroom area. The homeowners should wait another 24 hours once the grout is complete before using the room. Basement toilets and showers need special equipment to pipe water and waste up and out to the sewer. Bob talks with Robert Lechner of Saniflo about the macerating toilet and other special piping equipment being installed in the bathroom. Lechner explains how water and waste is evacuated out the back of the toilet into the macerator. The macerator contains motorized blades spinning at 3,600 rpm that liquefy any solid matter. This slurry can then be piped out of the basement. The toilet has a European-style bowl and a 1.6 gallon tank. The pipes require almost no maintenance but objects other than waste products should not be flushed down the toilet to protect the macerator. The suggested retail price for the entire package including the macerator, piping, and toilet is $869. It is one of the most affordable solutions available for locating a bathroom below grade. The addition of this half-bathroom should make a big improvement in the quality of life for this family of four.