Utility Rooms & Basements: How to Upgrade Your Utility Room or Basement

woman pouring water softener salt

Plumbing improvements in utility areas and basements can be relatively easy compared with other areas of the house. Often there are no walls that have to be removed to run new lines -- and you won't have to disturb oft-used rooms while completing the project.

Projects in Basement & Utility Rooms

Water treatment
The high mineral content of local water can lead to staining, soap scum buildup, and a reduction in the ability of soap and detergent to get things clean. Such signs indicate that your household water needs softening. Water softeners are pricey and are often rented by the month, but if you install your own it can pay for itself in two to three years.

Basement plumbing
Architects have equated a basement with digging a well and then trying to keep the water out. If your basement floods after heavy rainfall, you may want to install a sump pump. Digging a hole for the reservoir is the difficult part; you'll have to chop through a concrete floor and dig into hard-packed clay, gravel, and sand. But once the reservoir is in place, the plumbing is relatively easy.

If the main drain line is too high for a bathroom in the basement -- or you don't want to break into the concrete floor to trench for drain lines -- consider an upflush toilet unit. Once the drain and vent connections are made, these units are surprisingly easy to install and typically use standard toilets. Most units allow you to hook up sink and tub/shower drains as well. Once the bathroom is framed out and flooring and walls are added, the unit will be hidden.

Adding a laundry area involves running hot and cold supply lines to the washer and tapping into a drain stack. A nearby utility sink is handy for heavy-duty cleanup.

The same techniques apply whether a laundry is upstairs or down.

One Hour or Less

Three simple projects to cross off of your to-do list -- just print these instructions and begin!