Half Bath – an Excellent Way to Add Value to Your Home

Half Bath in home - @philhearing via Unsplash

“Will adding a half bath increase the value of my home?” You bet it will. Well, usually that is the case. A home with too few bathrooms is like a Ferrari that has been fitted with a Honda Civic engine; it’s slow, awkward, and doesn’t feel right. You get the idea.

Many sellers often ask us agents if any renovations will add value to their home. The general answer is that only renovations that are urgently needed, like a new roof, will add more value than they cost. There are a few exceptions, and the addition or renovation of a half bathroom, or powder room, could be one of them.

What Is a 1/2 Bath?

A half-bath (or 1/2 bath) is a bathroom that includes a toilet and sink, but not a shower or soaking tub. A half bath is an attractive investment to many homeowners for two reasons. The first reason is that the creation of a half bath takes up less space than a full bath. The second reason is that the total cost to create one is almost always less than that of a full bath.

Adding a Half Bath

Say you have an older Colonial or Victorian-style home. You may have 3-4 bedrooms on the second level with a bathroom. Maybe a prior owner even added a master bathroom. But on the first level? No bathroom. That’s generally where the problems arise. The 21st century buyer wants another bathroom on the main level, both for guests, but also for themselves. Sharing a single bathroom with multiple kids is enough to make many parents go bananas.

A half bath is a great compromise. Half baths can be tiny. In fact, the half-bath in the home where I live is about 25 square feet. It is small, but it gets the job done. Generally, on the main level the most economical place to add a half bath is off of the kitchen, as this area is near the plumbing.

The Cost of Adding a Half Bath

I have heard estimates as low as $2,500 to as high as $30,000 for a half-bath addition. Of course, the low estimate was from a plumber’s son, and he planned to do the work himself. The high estimate? Well, it involved a substantial addition. Homeadvisor pegs the average between $5,000 and $25,000; once again a large range. Ask for contractor recommendations from friends, family or even post on a local Facebook group.

Remodeling a Half Bath

Refreshing an older half bath is obviously easier than adding one. Remodeling any bathroom can add value to a home, but generally we only recommend it when the current bathroom is long past its lifespan. For example, if your half bathroom has linoleum floors from the last century, it could probably do with a refresh.

When remodeling a half bath, appliances may be worth saving. After all, retro is cool! In many cases, a new floor and freshly painted walls will do the trick. If your half-bath has issues with sunlight, adding a flexible skylight (you read that right) may be an economical but efficient way to add natural lighting to the room.

Adding a Half Bath to the Basement

The basement is a popular place to add a half bath. In most cases, space is not at a premium in the basement, like it is on the main level. Therefore, many people adding a bathroom to the basement simply add a full one.

Regardless, a half bath in the basement can be a good addition. Kids like it because they do not have to trudge upstairs to use the main bathroom. Husbands (and wives) like it because an en suite bath is a great addition to any man cave.

One positive about adding a half-bath to the basement is that finishes may not be a priority. In other words, you can go cheap. I have seen a number of half-baths simply added near a laundry area. These bathrooms incorporate the already-present slop sink (utility sink).

What Is a Full Bath?

A full bathroom is one which includes a sink, toilet and shower or bath tub. In some places, a bathroom that only includes a shower (rather than a soaking tub), is only referred to as a 3/4 bath (see below).

What Is a 1/4 Bath?

A one-fourth bath (or 1/4 bath), is a bathroom that only has one appliance, generally a toilet or sink. A 1/4 bath is old-fashioned and I’ve only come across it a couple of times in the field.

What Is a 3/4 Bath?

In some real estate markets, a bathroom that has a sink, toilet and shower (but no tub) is considered a three-fourth bath (or 3/4 bath). In most cases a bathroom that has a shower or soaking tub would be considered a full bath. Consequently, the term 3/4 bath is rarely used.

Photos of Half Baths

Below are photos of half bathrooms. Some are newer, some are older, and one shows a bathroom being remodeled.

Bathroom in an Older HouseOlder Half BathroomRemodeled BathroomBathroom with double vanity Being CreatedHalf BathHalf Bath 3Retro Half Bathroom

Conclusion – Half Bath – an Excellent Way to Add Value to Your Home

Half baths are a great way to add value to any home. The material and labor costs are generally reasonable. One of the biggest expenses may be the building permit mandated by your municipality.

When you are ready to sell your home, make sure you read the article How to Find a Real Estate Agent. Remember, the real estate industry is rapidly changing and as always, you want to make sure you get the most amount of money for your home.

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