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Basement Bathrooms: The Art of the Upflush

Many of our basement renovation customers choose to add a bathroom to their basement. That’s not surprising, considering the huge convenience factor and utility that a bathroom adds to a remodeled basement.


But deciding to do something and getting it done are two different things. And the truth is that installing a bathroom in a basement environment sometimes poses some special challenges.

That’s not always the case. In some homes, sewage lines are installed deeply enough that they run below the level of the basement. And that makes connecting a new basement bathroom to existing sewage lines a relatively simple process.

But in the majority of basements, adding a bathroom isn’t quite so simple. That’s because existing sewage lines run at a level higher than the basement. And that means that gravity becomes an enemy instead of a friend. Sewage from the bathroom basement must be moved up and out, instead of down and out.

Fortunately, there are several workable ways of making that happen. Following are the most popular options for basement bathrooms.

Upflushing Toilets

Upflushing toilets are one option for making a basement bathroom workable. These toilets incorporate a pumping mechanism for transporting waste up to the level of the existing sewage lines.


An upflushing toilet is not inexpensive. But it offers a convenient and relatively trouble-free way of making a basement-level bathroom work. And some upflushing toilets are designed to also handle the drainage from sinks and showers, making them a complete solution for handling bathroom drainage.

Composting Toilets

Another way to deal with basement-level waste is to process it rather than pump it out. Composting toilets flush the waste into a tank where it is processed. The liquids are evaporated, and the solids broken down into a compost.

Composting toilets can work well in a basement environment, and can be a good solution to a subterranean problem. But a composting toilet isn’t completely a flush-and-forget system; it does require some managing, including the occasional emptying of the composted material that is produced.

Sewage-Ejector Systems

A sewage-ejector system is sort of like a self-contained septic system. The output from the bathroom’s toilet, sink, and shower can all drain into a holding tank. (Sometimes the output from a washing machine is also routed into a sewage-ejector system.) The holding tank houses a pump that is periodically triggered on to transport the waste out of the tank and into the home’s outgoing sewage line.

The sometimes-sizeable bulk of the tank is a minor inconvenience that comes with a sewage-ejector system. The tanks typically rest on the floor. And that means that the toilet and shower will have to be raised several inches above floor level to permit gravity drainage into the tank.

It is possible to install a belowground version of a sewage-ejector system. But typically that requires cutting through the concrete slab the forms the floor of the basement. And that adds significant expense to the installation of the system.

A Perfect Finishing Touch…

Adding a bathroom to your renovated basement really is a perfect finishing touch. It adds a final homey amenity to a refinished basement. That’s important. Because once a basement has been renovated, it tends to become the center of family life. Everyone enjoys spending time down there.

And it sure is nice not to have to trudge up the stairs every time that nature calls!

This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 1st, 2015 at 5:56 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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