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Case Study 104:
Brentwood, TN
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Couple Transforms Wasted Basement
Space into Independent Living Quarters
for Older Family Members

Savvy homeowners save $10,000 by using above-floor plumbing technology to fashion a separate, two-bath, luxury living area for their loved ones

EDISON, NEW JERSEY (OCTOBER 10, 2007) — Bathroom additions rank among the most common home improvements, and the investment almost always pays off at resale. But when it comes to basement renovations, the expense and mess of digging for plumbing drainage lines makes adding a bathroom financially impractical for many homeowners. As a result, homes with plenty of sub-level promise remain underutilized. Read more...

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Shown in front of their newly renovated, Brentwood, Tenn., home are Duane Enoch (far left) and Daniel Pitman (right) with Enoch’s great-aunt Alice Byram (left) and grandmother Dottie Roberts.

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“I see a lot of basements in my work,” says real estate professional Daniel Pitman of Brentwood, Tennessee. “Too often, they remain unused, wasting perfectly good space and valuable real estate. Owners just don’t know what to do with them.”

The biggest obstacle, he says, is that homeowners “don’t ever visualize putting bathrooms down there, because there’s no way to drain the fixtures. Adding sump pumps is expensive, and they leave a big hole.”

Above-floor plumbing: SFA Saniflo, manufacturer of above-floor plumbing systems, is helping homeowners overcome the basement-renovation hurdle. In fact, Saniflo products make it simple and cost-effective to install a bathroom virtually anywhere in the home without breaking through the floors – a special advantage when those floors are made of concrete.

The innovative technology has been a European plumbing staple for half a century and is catching on in the United States for basements, tight spaces like closets and attics, and even temporary bathroom additions. That last application is possible because Saniflo toilets are as simple to “un-install” as they are to put in, making them ideal for creating short-term living quarters for a nanny, an in-law or a convalescing person.

Instead of routing waste and water through a conventional floor drain, Saniflo plumbing moves the effluent to a macerator pump, housed in a small plastic box installed at floor level behind the toilet. The macerator uses a fast-rotating cutting blade to break up waste and toilet paper. The resulting fine slurry is quickly and quietly discharged under pressure through small-diameter, above-floor piping to a septic tank or the sewer system.

“When you offer people an alternative to getting the sledge hammer out and busting up the floor, it’s no contest” between above-floor and conventional plumbing, says John Haas, owner of Central Hardware in Elkhart, Indiana, which does an active business in Saniflo products. “Saniflo has been the most successful new product that we have taken on since I came here in 1988.”

Dream come true: Daniel Pitman and his partner Duane Enoch avoided basement excavation themselves by using Saniflo’s technology to help turn a 6,300-square-foot residence in Brentwood into their dream home. Located 15 miles south of Nashville, the house was just right for their needs. Knowing they could easily convert the 2,400-square-foot, unfinished basement into separate, but spacious accommodations for Enoch’s aunt and grandmother sealed the deal. But what made their dream come true was a full-scale, luxury renovation of the lower level, including Saniflo system installations for all their plumbing needs.

Enoch’s great aunt and grandmother “have their own entrance, kitchen, and laundry room – even a fireplace,” Enoch says of the comfortable and well-appointed sub-level “home” designed for his relatives. The ambitious renovation project also included two master suites with toilet, sink and bath/shower installations. A former pipe-fitter plumber and now a home inspector, Enoch says their luxury basement transformation was an ideal improvement for the home.

Dramatic cost-savings: “Initially, we had a plumbing contractor come out and quote us a price to rough in conventional, below-floor drain lines for the bathrooms,” Enoch says. “Going with Saniflo instead probably saved us $10 grand.”

But Saniflo’s appeal went beyond these impressive cost-savings. “We loved the fact that the Saniflo system spared us from having to go through that concrete dust,” adds Pitman, referring to the need to blast through the floor to install traditional plumbing systems. “The mess would have come up to the top floors eventually. That clean-up factor is really the big selling point for above-floor plumbing.”

The Saniflo system had several other factors in its favor as well:

  • Concealed plumbing: Enoch liked the fact that the macerating pumps could be concealed behind the wall, an important advantage for the luxury setting they envisioned. “That’s what sold me on the technology.”

  • Just like regular plumbing: Because the plumbing is concealed, “most people don’t even know an above-floor system is any different than conventional plumbing,” Enoch explains, referring to the look and comparatively quiet operation of macerating technology.

  • Quick and easy installation: Without the digging to make drainage connections, the couple’s bathroom installations took a little over half a day.

Enoch and Pitman’s expansive residence is typical of this fast-growing upscale community, known for its large lots and serene settings in the rolling hills of middle Tennessee. But unlike many other homes in the area, the Enoch-Pitman dream home is fully utilized from top to bottom for the benefit of all four family members, thanks to the basement renovation with above-floor plumbing.

“I didn’t want them to go to a retirement community,” says Enoch of his grandmother and great aunt. “Now they have family upstairs, and we have family downstairs. And they are absolutely in love with the bathrooms.”


SFA SANIFLO INC. is the only manufacturer of its kind in North America, offering a complete line of macerating toilet systems for residential and commercial applications. Saniflo markets through independent sales agents throughout North America, and the product line is currently available at distributor and dealer locations throughout the United States and Canada.

For more information about Saniflo products, contact Saniflo at 1-800-571-8191. Or visit the Saniflo website at

For editorial assistance, including photography, contact John O’Reilly c/o GreenHouse Digital + PR: 815-469-9100 or [email protected]

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