Convert Your Garage or Basement into a Living Space for Your Adult Child

For homeowners looking to improve the value of their homes – and cope with the needs of multiple generations living under one roof – garage or basement renovations make sense. Both enhance home value and add much-needed living space for less than one might spend on building an addition.

There are endless possibilities for renovating your garage or basement, but you’ll have to closely consider costs and obtain the proper materials. Before you dive into this worthwhile renovation project, you should consider the often-overlooked logistics of working in a garage or basement– the concrete floor beneath the structure.

Frequently, converting a garage or basement into usable living space involves adding plumbing for a bathroom or kitchenette. Usually, that means cutting into the concrete floor to install pipes, drains and storage tanks. The expense of cutting concrete may quickly deter you from converting your garage into a living space, not to mention the extraordinary amount of noise and dust breaking through concrete generates.

If you do opt for a bathroom and small kitchenette, you’ll have to identify materials that will be easy to install and help save cost.

Here are three ways to convert your garage or basement into an additional living space for your grown-up child affordably and easily.

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1. Above-floor plumbing is a more cost-effective, time-friendly way to add a bathroom

On top of having a livable space for your recent graduate, a full bathroom will be a convenient addition to your renovated garage or basement, offering him or her additional privacy.

Macerating – or above-floor – plumbing systems do not require installers to cut through concrete or dig. The system can be installed right on top of the existing floor. Wastewater from a toilet, tub, shower or sink is pumped up or horizontally through small-diameter piping, rather than flowing down conventional plumbing. The up-flush system doesn’t store waste like a sewage ejector system; wastewater immediately moves to the septic tank or sewer system with every flush.

Saniflo’s Saniaccess 3 is one example of a macerating pump unit used for full bathroom applications. It has a ½ horsepower pump system and macerator whose stainless-steel blades rotate at 3,600 RPM to reduce incoming water and organic waste matter into a fine slurry. Homeowners can install the pump system 15 feet below the sewer line or 150 feet away from a soil stack.

Joe O’Neill of Cape May, New Jersey, recently decided to convert half of his two-car garage into a one-bedroom apartment with all the amenities. He used the Saniaccess 3 for the bathroom fixtures and the Saniswift drain pump to handle properly strained drainage from the kitchen sink. To read the full case study, click here.

2. Use a drain pump to affordably add a small kitchen to your garage or basement

The Saniaccess 3 is a great way to install a complete bathroom, but consider other above-floor plumbing solutions, such as the Sanivite drain pump to create a small kitchen, complete with a sink and dishwasher.

Designed to sustain the toughest applications and capable of handling very hot water and even grease, the Sanivite will pump gray water from up to three fixtures in residential applications. Waste water from these fixtures enters the unit via two, 2-inch inlets on either side of its housing or through an additional 1-1/2″ inlet on top. Featuring built-in check valves to prevent backflow, the system then discharges this waste up to 16 feet vertically and/or 150 feet horizontally.

The Sanivite can also be installed in small spaces, such as inside a kitchen cabinet — an ideal solution when you have only limited space in your garage or basement. The pump also features quiet operation with a normal cycle of only two to 10 seconds, depending upon the configuration of the discharge pipe run. As a result, power consumption is minimal.

3. Easily add a small laundry room to your garage or basement

Saniflo’s Saniswift drain pump is an easy and affordable solution to adding a small laundry room, equipped with a sink and washing machine, virtually anywhere. Powerful, yet economical, the unit is compact enough to fit neatly beneath a laundry tub, while its attractive design makes a stylish-looking addition to any space. The Saniswift can even handle gray water from a washing machine through an indirect connection, such as a laundry sink.

Like the Sanivite, the Saniswift has three inlets — one on each side and one on top — to pump gray water away from up to three fixtures in residential applications. Waste water entering the unit immediately activates a pressure switch that starts the pump motor, discharging the waste up to 14 feet vertically and/or 140 feet horizontally.

Once the water level in the Saniswift drops, the pressure switch deactivates the unit until water enters the unit again. As with the Sanivite, a normal operating cycle is 10 seconds or less, again minimizing power consumption.

In his garage-conversion project, O’Neill used the Saniswift to drain a kitchen sink, situated 20 feet from the bathroom. The wastewater is pumped horizontally a mere six feet to the drain line, which connects to an existing bathroom on the second floor directly above the garage.

Once you decide to convert your basement or garage into a living space for your adult children, it’s critically important to consider carefully all the materials you will need and all of the logistical challenges you must overcome. With regard to the plumbing, rely on Saniflo’s above-floor technologies to make your project simpler and more affordable.

Then watch your basement/garage space become transformed into a modern living space that will provide your adult child with all the comfort and privacy he or she needs.

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SANIFLO North America – whose parent company originated macerating plumbing technology – offers a complete line of macerating and grinding upflush toilet systems and drain-water pumping systems for residential and commercial applications. SANIFLO developed its innovative, “above-floor plumbing” technology more than a half-century ago and has led its commercialization worldwide. Today, the company markets macerating technology through 22 subsidiaries in 50 countries and has sold more than six million units worldwide since 1958. SANIFLO products are available through independent sales agents throughout North America, and the product line is currently available at most major plumbing wholesalers and hardware retailers.

  • For more information or installation videos, contact Saniflo Canada at 1-800-363-5874. Or visit the Saniflo Canada website at
  • For editorial assistance, including photography, contact John O’Reilly ([email protected]) or Payton Meyers ([email protected]) c/o GreenHouse Digital + PR: 815-469-9100.

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