My woodworking hobby shop is in the basement of my Eugene, Oregon home, which has a cement floor. There's a bathroom with toilet and sink down there, but I'd really like to add a shower. What's involved in putting a drain into the floor and getting it out to the city sewer line?
Kevin Y. ~ Eugene, Oregon
Hi Kevin, The fact that there is already plumbing there means adding a shower should be a fairly painless project. The first step is deciding where the shower will be located and what size it will be. Very few existing bathrooms that are set up for a toilet and a sink already have room for a shower, but your basement bathroom might be the exception.
There are small shower kits available that might be just the thing for your project. They come with a basin and three shower walls which you don't assemble until you have them in your basement. This can make it easier to get the shower components down a narrow basement stairway. Another option would be to use a shower basin and do ceramic tile shower walls.
Once you have adjusted any framing necessary to provide room for your shower you are ready for your under-slab plumbing. You are going to need a plumbing permit to add your shower and will probably also need a building permit depending on how inspections are handled in Eugene, Oregon.
There is already plumbing under your basement slab in the basement bathroom area and possibly in other areas depending on what all you have in your basement. The toilet and sink drain lines connect under the slab and eventually join the main drain line before it exits your home and heads for the city sewer lines. The question is knowing what direction the sink and toilet lines immediately go in so that a minimum of concrete floor will have to be cut up to join the new shower drain line to them.
A good plumbing contractor should be able to get pretty close to the existing lines' location by examining the layout in the basement and the location of the exterior clean-out where the sewer line exits the house. Cutting up the slab can be done with an electric jackhammer and it is a dusty job so the bathroom door should be shut while it is being done. Once the new drain lines are installed and inspected the plumbing contractor will mix a little concrete and patch the slab back.
The hot and cold supply lines should come into the basement bathroom from the ceiling and may run down one of the bathroom walls. The plumbing contractor will simply do a connection to the existing supply lines for the new shower lines. The whole project should be fairly simple and the part that takes the longest may be waiting for inspections.
If you have a concrete floor in your basement bathroom, you may want to consider installing some inexpensive vinyl tile after the project is complete as the concrete patch will probably be very visible.