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Bathroom Resources

Adding a Shower to a Half Bath

A half bathroom is always handy to have while you are entertaining guests during a night in. But what if you are having guests stay the night? It is always more ideal to allow guests to have their own room to shower and change, rather than entering the primary bedroom to access yours. Or maybe you have a growing family who is tired of the limited bathroom space, and you all could use the extra full bathroom. While the idea of converting a half bathroom into a full bathroom can be intimidating, it is certainly possible! It just takes some creativity and knowledge to make your vision come to life. Learn how to add a shower to a half bath in this Modernize guide.

Table of Contents

What is a Half Bathroom?

Generally speaking, a half bathroom is any bathroom that does not contain a shower or bathtub. Half bathrooms usually only have one toilet and one sink, meaning people cannot take a shower or bath. They are usually found on ground floors near the kitchen or living room, or in areas that provide easy access to homeowners or guests.

Half baths are typically fairly small in size – ranging anywhere from 10 square feet to 35 square feet. For this reason, they tend to be the most affordable type of bathroom to remodel – the cost to renovate ranges from $3,000 to $10,000 on average.

What Does it Cost to Add a Shower to a Half Bath?

Half bathrooms are great for space savings and are generally affordable to renovate. But what if you truly want or need a shower in that half bathroom? There are plenty of benefits to adding a shower to a half bath that already exists in your home.

Half Bath to Full Bath Conversion

Adding a shower or tub to a half bath provides more room for family or guests and boosts home value

  • Increases home value by 10-20%

  • Adds functionality for family or guests

  • Usually does not require an addition

Not only is having an extra full bathroom useful, it also adds value to your home. Estimates vary, but homeowners can see an increase of 10 to 20 percent on the total value of the home. To put this into perspective, a $200,000 home can be put on the market for $220,000 to $240,000 or more after converting a half bath to a full bath. Home value gains will vary by the type of renovation completed and your local area.

Keep in mind, however, that converting a half bath to a full bath will cost more than simply remodeling a half bath as-is. Depending on the scope of the project and what bathroom materials and items you choose, it can range from $3,000 to $25,000. Another thing to take into consideration is that with the increase in home value determined by a property appraiser, the project may lead to your property taxes rising the next year.

Bathroom Remodel Cost Calculator

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A professional bathroom contractor should be able to guide you on how to complete the project under budget and in a way that will yield you the biggest return on investment.

Planning the Project

If you have decided to move forward with adding a shower to your half bath, the next step is to understand the layout of your home and visualize the end product. Ask practical questions, such as:

  • Is the bathroom adjacent to a linen closet that can extend the bathroom? Or can you cut into a bedroom to make more room for a shower and/or tub?
  • Is there unused hallway space you can take advantage of?
  • Is the small bathroom is spacious enough for a standing shower?

Of course, creating a bigger bathroom is desirable, but how much extra will it cost? Having an experienced contractor is crucial during this step. A pro will have the experience to visualize the project and determine if the walls are safe to cut into without interfering with the integrity of the home. They will also know how to complete the project up to code and pull permits in order to get it done correctly.

Choosing Materials and Components for the Remodel

Because the costs to add a shower to a half bath can creep up easily, choosing materials and components wisely is important. As you work with your contractor to generate a quote, be aware of which bathroom items are within your budget vs. those that will cause your budget to soar.

shower in small bathroom

Figure out your biggest priorities for the bathroom remodel before requesting a quote from your contractor. For instance, is the shower the area where you want to invest the most? Ask your contractor how to cut costs on tiles, sinks, or the toilet.

Preparing for Installation Day

Before contractors begin construction on your half bathroom…

  • Remove as much as you can from the bathroom. Empty out the cabinets, storage bins, bath mats, soaps and other products you might have in there.
  • Prepare a walk-way that is easy for your contractors to bring in tools and fixtures from outside without possibly damaging furniture.
  • If there are area rugs, remove them to keep them clean from work boots. Perhaps even consider putting down old towels or cheap runners.
  • Think about where little ones and pets can be relocated or contained so they do not interrupt work.

Demolition While Adding a Shower to a Half Bath

As you convert your half bath to a full bath, your contractor may have to tear down a wall to expand the footprint of the bathroom. Before they do this, you will need to shut off the water to avoid a slip and slide situation. Depending on what the plan is, they will also have to take out light fixtures to either be restored or replaced once the new shower is installed.

The shower installation is usually the priciest part of the whole endeavor, as it requires plumbing, drainage, a pan, water-resistant drywall, and fixtures. These need to be done correctly to avoid leaks and water damage.

The time to add a shower to a half bath will vary on how extensive the renovation project is. The whole process can take anywhere from two weeks to a month. Your contractor will be able to provide a more concrete answer, based on your particular space, when you discuss the plan.

Finishing Touches

Once the big project of adding the shower to the half bath is done, next up is the easy, more design-oriented decisions. You can choose a new sink and toilet if you are not keeping the originals, cabinets, towel racks and more.

You may be excited to decorate your new, larger bathroom, but keep in mind that less is more. The more things you stuff into the bathroom, the smaller it will feel—the exact opposite goal of this project!

If you are ready to explore converting your small bathroom into a full bathroom, check out our database of experienced contractors in your area who are ready to take on the project.

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