Can I Have a Detached Garage with a Bathroom?

Remodeling your detached garage can be a great way to get the most out of your home’s value. Maybe you’re renting it out for extra cash or converting it into a garage apartment. However, you’ll run into questions of what is allowed when it comes to plumbing. Read on to find out if you can have a detached garage bathroom.

detached garage bathroom

What are the Regulations for Detached Garage Bathrooms?

A detached garage is considered an outbuilding: like a shed or barn, your garage shares a property with your primary building (your home). You’ll want to check the codes for where you live. Most construction projects have standards regarding safety, quality, and functionality – especially if people are using it for domestic purposes.

There are regulations around bathrooms in general that will subsequently apply to any garage bathroom. For one thing, a bathroom has to meet certain dimensions. From there you’ll look into whether building code permits a bathroom in your new structure.

In addition to structure, there’s the issue of ventilation. A lot of humidity is generated by a shower and you’ll want to think about how to make that work in an enclosed space. There’s actually a regulatory code mandating a window of a minimum size for bathrooms with showers. This ensures proper air flow.

How to Install a Bathroom in Your Detached Garage

There’s the question of what’s allowed, and there’s the question of what’s possible. There are some unique engineering challenges to putting a bathroom in your detached garage. In this kind of project, for example, you might not be able to take advantage of the rest of your home’s plumbing.

One of the biggest challenges to rigging a detached garage is gravity. You’ll need to consider how to generate force if your plumbing is situated downhill of the drainage point. If drainage is a problem, you may have to install an upflush or no water toilet. Here are the steps to installing a bathroom in your detached garage. 

 Step 1: Planning the Bathroom Construction

The amount of space that you’ll need comes down to what you want inside your garage bathroom. There’s a shower, bathtub, toilet and sink. You’ll have to draw up the design before you contact the plumber and the construction crew.

Make sure you have enough space between the sink, toilet and shower. At the end of the day, don’t be disappointed if your design will not match the complete layout of the bathroom.  You want to set the deadline but don’t be surprised if the plan does not meet the deadline because weather conditions can significantly alter the deadline.

Normally, this project should not take long because your garage doesn’t contain existing water pipes so there won’t be any movement of pipes. Instead, plumbers will install water pipes into the existing design.

Step 2: Retrofitting a Garage for Plumbing

Again, this project is often left to the pros. Adding everything from a water sink to a toilet means that you’ll need to add water lines and drain lines. To add water lines, the walls will have to be demolished and you’ll have to put up new walls with water lines inside them. On the other hand, drain lines must be taken through the floor which means that you’ll have to cut the garage floor to allow for the pipes to be securely installed.

Step 3: Install Gas Lines Inside the Garage

Finally, you’ll need a place for your water heater. Before you shop for a water heater, you’ll want to check with a professional to see if you need a gas line to be installed inside your garage. To get the water heater working, you’ll need plenty of gas lines running through the walls so you can keep your water heater plugged in.

The Bottom Line on a Detached Garage Bathroom

blue bathroom remodeled

The detached garage of your dreams is possible, but it’ll take a little bit of research and elbow grease. Arm yourself with information so you can move forward on your latest reno with confidence. Most importantly, always consult professionals for your ventilation needs. You want to go with Danley’s for brand new custom garages of all sizes. Start with a free quote to get started on your new garage project today.



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Since 1959, Danley’s has been Chicagoland’s top choice for garage construction. Since then, we’ve built over 100,000 garages, making us Chicago’s largest and most trusted garage builder.

We offer an unbeatable combination of products, service and value for homeowners across Chicagoland.

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