What are the Pros and Cons of an Attic Bathroom?

Lauren Romano

Adding a bathroom to the attic may seem like an appealing idea, but it is an idea to think about carefully, as it will ultimately have quite an impact on the home. Just some of the factors to consider are checking for safety, taking measurements, plumbing, bathroom placement, cost and space. Before starting the project, it is vital to weigh the pros and cons to ensure that whatever decision is made is the best one.

A toilet is a plumbing receptacle for human waste.
A toilet is a plumbing receptacle for human waste.

One of the benefits of an attic bathroom is that it can create an additional living space in the house. Whether it is making a space for a current resident of the home or creates the opportunity to rent out the attic as an apartment or room, the extra bathroom can produce several options for what to do with the space.

Since there is usually no plumbing in attics, a plumber will have to install pipes in the space.
Since there is usually no plumbing in attics, a plumber will have to install pipes in the space.

Another one of the pros of an attic bathroom is that it increases the value of the house. Many future buyers will appreciate the chance to use the attic as another room or as a separate living space. Considering not many attics have a bathroom, it can be a big selling point, especially to a larger family.

One of the biggest cons of an attic bathroom is figuring out the plumbing situation as well as the cost. Considering there is typically no plumbing in the attic because of a lack of water use in that area, a plumber will have to install pipes that run from the attic to the lower levels of the house. To help cut costs, plan to put the bathroom as close to the already installed plumbing as possible.

Another con of an attic bathroom is that it may be difficult to bring the items in. Installing a full or even half bath typically includes a vanity, bathtub, shower, large mirror and toilet. Several of these items are quite large and may be difficult to carry in, especially considering the entrances to attics are often relatively small. Before choosing any items, it's crucial to measure the entrance to the attic as well as the stairs and hallways that lead from the first floor up to the attic; after collecting the measurements, compare them to the measurements of the desired bathroom items.

Before beginning installation of an attic bathroom, it's important to check that the floor joists are strong enough to handle the weight of the bathroom items, especially the heavier ones such as the tub and vanity. In order for the floor to hold the weight, the joists may need to be replaced. While replacing them creates an extra expense, it is worth it to prevent a very dangerous situation if the floor isn't safe enough for the extra weight.

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Discussion Comments


@Cageybird, the water pressure at my house is barely adequate for a first floor shower and toilet, so I can't see how I could get a new bathroom installed in the attic. The attic would be a great space for an efficiency apartment, but I don't know if the joists would handle the extra weight of a full bathtub. That's assuming I could get water to flow uphill in the first place.


I'm not a plumbing expert, but it seems to me that providing water to a top floor would require a lot of water pressure or a pump. I don't see a problem with waste water making it down from an attic bathroom, but I can see where feeding water from a low lying water main could be problematic.

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