Here’s the Definition of a Half-Bath — And What Makes It Different from Other Bathrooms

published Apr 27, 2022
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When you hear the word “bathroom,” you probably think you have a pretty good understanding of it. You use one every day, after all, and you likely have one or more in your home. But there’s more to bathrooms than meets the eye — there are different types of bathrooms, and it’s important to know the differences among them if you’re listing your home for sale or buying a new home and deciphering listing descriptions. 

Understanding the differences between a half-bath, a full-bath, and a three-quarter bath, for example, can help you calculate the value of your home, or help you know what you’re getting when you look at a potential new place.

For starters, a full bathroom consists of four main elements — a sink, toilet, shower, and bathtub. In addition to the four main elements, a bathroom can also include other features, like a linen closet, and upgrades like a sauna, freestanding tub or tub room, and a heated towel rack, among other things. So if that’s a full-bath, then what is a half-bath?

Here’s what a half-bath really is. (Hint: It’s not the skincare trend.)

What counts as a half-bath?

A half-bath is a bathroom that contains two of the four elements, usually a sink and toilet, though in some cases a half-bath could just contain a shower and tub. A half-bath is also known as a powder room or guest bathroom, and is often found on the first floor of a home for easy access for residents and guests alike.

Is it worth adding a half-bath to my home?

For anyone who has ever lived in a one-bathroom home, the answer to this question is a resounding yes. While it’s true that you won’t have an additional bathtub or shower, that extra toilet can mean the difference between smooth mornings or yelling over who gets into the bathroom first. 

The cost of adding a half-bath is typically $5,000 to $15,000 if you’re upgrading an existing space — like this 1910s broom cupboard — and $10,000 to $30,000 if you’re adding a new space, according to HomeAdvisor. Research from Opendoor shows that adding a half-bath to an existing space in your home can up the resale value by around $9,000 when it’s time to sell. An additional full-bath can get you an average $18,000 increase.

Credit: Apartment Therapy

What’s the difference between a half-bath and a three-quarter bath?

If you did the math to figure out what a half-bath was, you’re on the right track to figuring out what a three-quarter bath is. A three-quarter bath is a bathroom that includes three of the four main bathroom elements. These elements are usually the toilet, sink, and shower stall without a bathtub. Sometimes the bathroom will have a tub but no shower head. If you just have a bathtub and it’s time to sell or you want the convenience of a shower, installing a shower head is a quick and affordable way to turn this room into a full-bath.