Basement bathroom design ideas are just a bunch of, well, crap if you spend too much time designing what a bathroom looks like and not enough time designing what it does. How would you like to spend thousands on a basement bathroom remodel and then live knowing you're one flushed baby wipe away from an expensive, and did I mention 10 on the Richter Scale of disgusting, service call?
No pun intended, bathrooms are under a lot of pressure. They have to be everything from retreat to utilitarian in the same breath. And they have to meet the needs of when you 'need to go' without anyone noticing just how much work they really do. A tall order.
And it's a taller order when it comes to basement bathrooms where what you eject down into the toilet and then needs to move where it doesn't want to go---up.
Yes, I'll explain.
This part of basement bathroom design starts with a sewage ejection pump. And you want one that's not a service call waiting to happen. It also needs to be more than that. Here's what I mean.
Most units I've used are large, requiring a huge pit dug in the basement floor and a closet to be or room to be framed and finished around them. Since Theresa and I mostly improve old homes, our basement bathroom design ideas also have to make the best use of space known to humanity. Seriously, it's like a camper or the International Space Station on one of our builds.
Some ejector pumps are more like a sump pump---they sit in a huge basin, wait to fill up with yuck, then use a pump that grinds (or just ejects without grinding) and spits out fluids and solids. These units are what we'll call 'cloggable.’
My own plumber, while installing one of these units on a job some years ago, said that a baby wipe flushed into one of these units can paralyze the unit and result in 'the worst job in plumbing.'
Put another way: The money you might save on the front end will almost surely be spent on a hyper-disgusting service call. His words, not mine. Do you really want to be teetering on the edge of that crap pile? Literally.
So how do our basement bathroom design ideas turn into reality? We make the best possible use of space from framing right through finish. It all starts with smart, sensible layout and using, even double-using, spaces.
In this basement bathroom, we max out the space, and the budget, for ejecting our poop and pee with a unit I'm falling in love with that hits a balance point between the high-end grinders and low-end suckers in a small, powerful, affordable package: SaniFlo Sanicubic1.
First, it's small. I installed it under the stairs. I dug a pit for it, and I'm glad I did, to serve two purposes. Water rolls downhill and I can use the space above the pit as storage without compromising the unit. And the unit itself is a single piece. No giant basin (essentially a trash can) and separate pump unit. It's about as big as a case of beer.
Also, the SaniFlo is a grinder-type pump. What does this mean? It chews up the solids that flow down the drain to make them liquid and the pump is powerful enough to move them 36' up and over 300' horizontally!
Unlike lower-end units that I feel are a one backed-up toilet away from having to replace it, the Sanicubic1 can handle the occasional baby wipe, tampon and all the other things we don't often say out loud but do flush down the toilet. You know somebody's going to send something down the drain sooner or later.
This beautiful little box has a commercial rating and performance without the commercial price tag, striking the balance we need to create with what everyone wants out of basement bathroom design ideas---a space that looks beautiful and works without a second thought.