Dear PoP – New Powder Room

“Dear PoP,

I have a typical Wardman style rowhouse with only one bathroom. I am thinking about getting a powder room in the basement, just a sink and a toilet. Currently, there is not a bathroom in the basement. One plumbing company gave me a price of $6700 for doing the groundwork plumbing, rough-in plumbing, and fixture installation. Does this price sound reasonable? If not, can you refer me to other plumbing companies that can do the job for less?”

What do you guys think – has anyone done a project like this before?

26 Comment

  • Pay the fee to join Angie’s List and do your homework.

    Our entire basement didn’t cost that much.

    We have used AL for electric, plumming, and roofing – all with excellent results. Well worth the $69 I think it was.

    • I’ve not had great experiences with Angie’s List. Businesses pay to show up at the top of the listings and they’re not always the best providers.

      Another option is Urban Referrals (

      • Not true… business pay to get on the list, customers determine the placement and ratings.

        3 out of 3 ain’t bad and now have painters coming this weekend. Also found on AL.

      • I faithfully use Urban Referrals and in the past have gotten good companies but they dont have any companies that install bathrooms just remodel them.

    • who did your basement and how big was the bathroom you put in there? $6700 for a full basement plus new bathroom is stunning.

      I got several price quotes for bathroom renovations including ones as high as $50,000 for one bathroom.

      • $6,700 for a full basement + bathroom is comically low.

        • I can’t believe that first commenter. If they paid $6700 for a full basement and bathroom I’m completely redoing my current basement!

          • Sorry guys… I should have been more clear. Most of our work was details, new fixtures, and painting.

            We fortunately had a bathroom and kitchen – both of which however needed work. We didn’t start with a cellar or anything like that.

            The plumbing and ground work to move the toliet cost the most, about $1,000 if I remember correctly, just last year.

            Shop around. I never accept a contractor until I have at least three bids.

          • Frankie, For my bathroom I got 6 bids and none were below $10k.

            To get an entire basement done implies taking an unfinished basement and finishing it. That’s what you wrote. That’s not what you meant though, is it?

      • The $6700 is just for the bathroom install NOT a whole basement redo!

    • you need to be careful with angie’s list. now that they have removed the ability to look at a reviewer’s other reviews (to verify that the “reviewer” is not simply the contractor posting a review of himself/herself) it has, I’m afraid, jumped the shark.

      i have complained very angrily to AL about this but they claim the change is necessary to protect “privacy.” How this has anything to do with privacy, I don’t know.

  • It really depends on what you’re going to have in the bathroom. For example, will it have a tile floor with subway tile walls or another type of floor and drywall for walls? We had our basement bathroom done for $8,000, but it was already roughed in. however, it included a shower with subway tiles and an octagon tile floor. Also, recessed lighting.

  • To rough in plumbing in a basement where none currently exist for $6500 sounds like a steal! Does the crew know what they’re doing?

    • ah

      It’s certainly not crazy. Do they have to run a pipe for the toilet in concrete? Can they access the main stack? The rough in could be very expensive. And depending on your choice of fixtures, you could easily spend $1000 just on a toilet, sink, and faucets. Then there’s tile and so forth.

      You need to find a couple of other bidders and see how they come in.

  • Can you take before, during and after pictures and post to PoP?

    And then publish the name of the company who does the work.

  • we are thinking of a similar project, but space is tight. does anyone know what building code says about minimum size for a powder room?

    • For non-habitable rooms including bathrooms there is no minimum SF for the room, but you do need 36″ clear floor space in front of the counter and 30″ x 30″ clear floor space under the shower head. You need a minimum of 7′ ceiling height. The door must be able to open 90˚ and have a clear width of 32″ after taking into account the hinges and door thickness etc.

  • From what I understand in our current renovation apparently mechanical, electrical, and plumbing are THE MOST expensive costs in renovation. These equal currently over 50% of our costs right now (which are costs including doing rest of the entire house). One way you can save money though is to lay out your bathroom on the floor so that the waste line you are hooking up is directly underneath or near the existing waste line already in the house. Your costs will go up considerably if they have to tie in the waste line and run it across your house in order to access it. That number doesn’t surprise me though. Looks fairly reasonable.

  • If you are going to pay to put in a bathroom, don’t just make it a powder room. Add a bath/shower even if you don’t think you’ll use it — it will pay off when time to sell.

  • Hi folks, Cheryl from Angie’s List chiming in. Business can’t pay to be added to Angie’s List or to be graded. But we do invite companies that maintain an overall grade of A or B to offer a discount to our members. Companies that offer a discount appear at the top of search results, but members can choose to remove that filter when they search.

    We did recently modify the ability to review all reports from a given member. This is a temporary measure as we develop a tool that will give members the ability to learn the overall general tone of another member without sacrificing privacy. The privacy issue was heightened with our expansion into health care.

    We appreciate the discussion, and we are happy to see that there’s some satisfaction with Angie’s List. We do try to offer the most fair and reliable information out there. Thanks for letting me chime in.

  • There seems to be some confusion about what the $6700 is getting OP.

    It says “groundwork plumbing, rough-in plumbing, and fixture installation.”

    This seems very high. Groundwork plumbing involves busting up some concrete, digging, and adding a branch to the sewer. If the bathroom is anywhere near the sewer run, this could be done in a day or so.

    The rest of the rough-in would be well under a day, unless the basement is already finished and we’re also talking about demo/refinishing work which seems unlikely.

    I have had both of these things done and watched it all. I busted up the floor myself and dug up the pipe. It took a few hours. I hired a plumber to do the branch for the waste and rough in a toilet and shower, and hired someone else to repair the concrete. Fixture installation should be at most a few hundred bucks for new construction like this (e.g. not a repair).

    The same plumber also redid every inch of copper in the basement at the same time.

    Total plumbing bill was about $3500 and the concrete guy was a couple hundred bucks.

    That’s about half what this guy is looking at, and I replumbed almost the entire house at the same time!

    Just think about the time involved here. The rough-in for the waste might be a couple days at most unless you have to tear up half your basement floor. The rough-in for the water supply is definitely under a day of work for any competent plumber.

    This should be easily doable for under $4k if not less.

    • Let me point out something which I didn’t explicitly state here. For any job like this, you can do it a lot cheaper by keeping it simple for the contractor.

      Plumbers do plumbing. Why would you pay a plumber to swing a sledgehammer and dig a hole, and pour concrete, when you are paying them plumber prices?

      Get an estimate just for the plumbing. Do everything else yourself or hire someone a lot cheaper if you don’t feel up to it.

      But seriously, if you can figure out where you need to dig (which should not be too hard) get a sledgehammer and a shovel and do the dirty work for free instead of paying the plumber $150 an hour to do it.

      They will then be able to come in, do what they do best, and leave, and you’ll save a lot of money. They have no interest in digging holes and pouring concrete – that’s a big part of why your estimate is probably so high.

Comments are closed.