How to Remodel with a Pittsburgh Toilet and Increase Home Value

How to Remodel with a Pittsburgh Toilet and Increase Home Value

The “Pittsburgh Toilet” is a unique feature typically found in the basements of older homes in the Pittsburgh area. These lone toilets, often accompanied by an exposed sink or shower, were practical installations for steelworkers to clean up before entering the main living areas.

Today, these fixtures can be transformed into full, functional bathrooms that add significant value to your home and enhance its usability.

In this post, we’ll explore the benefits of converting a Pittsburgh Toilet into a complete bathroom and the subsequent advantages of finishing your basement.

Understanding the Pittsburgh Toilet

Historical Background

The Pittsburgh Toilet originated as a practical solution for working-class families. These toilets in basements allowed steelworkers and miners to clean up after a day’s labor without tracking dirt and grime into their homes. Over time, however, these utilitarian spaces have become outdated and underutilized.

Common Features and Quirks

Typically, a Pittsburgh Toilet consists of a lone toilet with minimal privacy, often lacking walls or partitions. Accompanying fixtures might include a basic utility sink or an exposed shower drain. While functional, these setups are far from modern standards of comfort and aesthetics.

Why Remodel?

Remodeling a Pittsburgh Toilet into a fully functional bathroom can dramatically improve your home’s functionality. Not only does it provide an additional bathroom, which is always a plus in any household, but it also maximizes the utility of your basement space. This transformation is an excellent investment, offering immediate convenience and long-term property value.

Planning Your Basement Bathroom Remodel

Evaluating Plumbing and Infrastructure

The first step in remodeling is evaluating your existing plumbing setup. Given that Pittsburgh Toilets are already connected to the main sewer line, you’re off to a good start. However, you’ll need to ensure that the water drainage and supply lines are adequate for a full bathroom. A professional assessment is crucial to determining the feasibility of your plans.

Key Factors to Consider

Water Drainage: Ensure proper slope and drainage to avoid water pooling and potential damage.
Ventilation: Basements often suffer from poor ventilation, so an efficient exhaust fan is essential to prevent moisture buildup and mold.
Electrical Setup: Adequate lighting and power outlets are necessary, keeping in mind local electrical codes and safety standards.
Building Codes: Be sure to familiarize yourself with local building codes to ensure your remodel is compliant with regulations. This may include permits and inspections.

Determining the Right Size and Layout

Consider the available space in your basement and plan your layout accordingly. Measure the area and sketch a floor plan that includes the toilet, shower, sink, and storage placement. Utilize space-saving fixtures and creative storage solutions to make the most of the limited area.

Designing a Functional Basement Bathroom

Choosing Suitable Fixtures and Finishes

Select fixtures that are durable and suitable for a basement environment. Moisture-resistant materials for flooring and walls, such as tile or vinyl, are highly recommended. Choose a toilet, sink, and shower that fit well within your space constraints while offering the comfort and functionality you desire.

Incorporating Essential Elements

Even in a compact space, all necessary amenities can be included. Consider installing a corner shower to save space, and opt for a pedestal sink or wall-mounted sink to free up floor space. Built-in storage solutions like recessed shelves can provide ample space for toiletries without cluttering the bathroom.

Creating a Welcoming Ambiance

Basements typically lack natural light, so it’s important to incorporate ample lighting to create a bright and inviting atmosphere. To illuminate the space effectively, use a combination of overhead lights, vanity lights, and wall sconces. Light-colored walls and reflective surfaces can also help make the room feel larger and more welcoming.

Additionally, consider adding artwork or decorations to personalize and add character to the space.

The Benefits of Finishing the Entire Basement

Advantages of a Functional Living Space

Finishing your basement goes beyond just adding a bathroom. It transforms an underutilized area into a functional living space that can serve multiple purposes. Imagine having an additional entertainment area, a guest bedroom, a home gym, or even a private office—all within the comfort of your home.

Ideas for Using the Finished Basement

  • Entertainment Area: Create a cozy family room with a TV, couches, and game tables.
  • Guest Bedroom: Provide a comfortable and private space for visiting family and friends.
  • Home Gym: Set up a personalized exercise area with your favorite equipment.
  • Office: Design a quiet, productive workspace away from the main living areas.

Adding Value to Your Property

A finished basement with an additional bathroom can significantly increase your home’s market value. Potential buyers appreciate the extra living space and the convenience of an added bathroom, making your home more competitive in the future if you put it on the market.

Can I Finish My Basement or Redo My Pittsburgh Toilet Myself?

While saving money by taking on the remodel yourself may be tempting, it’s important to remember that this is a significant investment in your property. Professional contractors have the expertise and experience to ensure the project is completed up to code. They can also offer valuable insights and make suggestions for maximizing space and functionality. Hiring a professional team to ensure a successful and high-quality remodel is worth considering.

Tips for choosing a remodeling professional include:

  • Research: Ask for recommendations from friends and family, and read reviews online
  • Check credentials: Ensure that the contractor you choose to work with is licensed and insured.

Transform Your Basement with Kitchen & Bath Galleria

Converting a Pittsburgh Toilet into a full bathroom and finishing your basement can greatly enhance your home’s functionality and value, providing a range of benefits like additional living space, convenience, and added property value.

Kitchen & Bath Galleria offers professional basement bathroom remodeling services tailored to your needs and budget. Our experienced designers and contractors will work with you to create a beautiful and functional basement bathroom you’ll love for years to come. Start your journey to a more valuable and enjoyable living space today!

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Kitchen & Bath has been providing designing and building services since 1986. With that much experience, we've become the experts in our industry to share tips and information with you.