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Ann Architect, Renovation Design GroupAnnie Architect, Renovation Design Group

Renovation Solutions is weekly column on architectural home design by Ann Robinson and Annie Schwemmer, Principal Architects of Renovation Design Group, a Utah architectural firm focusing on home renovation design.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Adding bathroom adds value

By Ann Robinson and Annie Vernon

Studies show adding a bathroom is one of the best ways to add value to a home. The cost of a new bath varies depending on the size and the materials. (See This Master Bathroom)

Thinking about adding an extra bathroom? With school started, isn't everybody thinking about that? Well, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), adding that bath just might be a wise move not only for your family's morning routine, but for your property value as well.

The American Housing Survey (AHS) is conducted every other year by the U.S. Census Bureau. It surveys about 60,000 nationally representative housing units and compiles various interesting and useful statistics that reveal general trends in housing.

Based on data from the AHS, the NAHB has created a model to estimate the price effects of features on a home, and this model "has consistently shown that an added bathroom has one of the strongest impacts of any feature on single-family detached home values," NAHB economist Paul Emrath recently reported.

Emrath said the study suggests that homebuyers prefer a rough balance between the number of bedrooms and the number of bathrooms. Adding an extra bathroom can increase a home's value by a higher percentage when there are more bedrooms than baths.

"The greater the disparity between beds and baths, the more there is to gain, in percentage terms, by adding an additional bath," Emrath said. "One way to interpret this is this is that when there is an excess of bedrooms over bathrooms, an additional bathroom makes the bedroom more valuable."

He breaks it down like this: "When the number of bathrooms is approximately equal to the number of bedrooms, an additional half bath adds about 10 percent to the home's value, and converting a half bath to a full bath adds another 9 percent. So one additional full bath adds about 19 percent to the value."

When the home has fewer bathrooms than bedrooms, "the percentage gains associated with an added bathroom can be somewhat larger," Emrath said.

A simple powder room. (See This Bathroom)

We should point out that the AHS defines "half bath" and "full bath" a little differently than real estate listings. According to the survey, a full bathroom has a flush toilet, either a bathtub or shower, a sink and hot and cold running water. A half bath, by their definition, has running water and only a toilet, bath or shower.

The cost of adding a bathroom includes several variables. Some of the more obvious are the size and degree of elaborate decoration involved. A large master bath complete with a marble platform to hold a whirlpool tub will cost substantially more than a modest bathroom added in the basement.

The location of the new bathroom in relation to existing plumbing (specifically the sewer line) is also a critical issue for cost.

For rough budget purposes, adding an average bathroom can run between $8,000 and $12,000, while adding a fancier master bath can easily hit $15,000 to $25,000.

For an interesting exercise, visit the NAHB's Web site and use the House Price Estimator. You can fill in the information on your existing home and then do it again with an extra bath to see the difference. It can be found at Just do a search for "house price estimator."

Balancing the cost against the potential gain — in home value and family peace — will help you make the final decision of whether to add an extra bathroom. As always, we welcome your home architect design questions at

© 2006 Renovation Design Group. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of Renovation Design Group.

If you are considering a remodel project, please Request a Free Consultation with Ann or Annie.

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