Pittsburgh Real Estate Agency Finds Cost-Effective Way To Plumb Basement Bathroom for Remodeling Project

Mini-Case Study | March 2020
NextHome PPM Realty adds $20,000 in value to home, using Saniflo Sanibest Pro grinder system to create a basement half-bath during renovation project.


PITTSBURGH, PA — The typical role of a real estate company is to guide homeowners through the buying or selling process. But NextHome PPM Realty is not your average real estate agency.

According to Vice President David Pirain, the family-owned, boutique real estate firm has also included a renovation and construction element in its business; namely, property remodeling and “flipping,” apartment renovations and new builds.

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As part of the remodeling and renovation side of the company, NextHome PPM Realty purchased an older Pittsburgh home in need of renovation. “This particular project involved updating the home to increase the value and, eventually, to flip it,” explains Pirain.

The company’s flip-crew performed a complete remodel on the kitchen, bathrooms, and flooring, as well as any needed mechanical updates. According to Pirain, an additional bathroom in this case was a “no-brainer” because it would take the home-value to the next tier.

The location for that new half-bath: The home’s unfinished and oversized basement. The primary challenge: Sewage access was above grade and 40 feet away from the basement, which is situated about six feet below the sewer line.

Installing conventional plumbing was impossible without installing a large sewage ejector system. That, in turn, would have required busting through the concrete to dig a pit to hold the system.

Pirain knew that the latter option was not cost-effective, given what he expected to earn flipping the property: “Were we to go the sewage ejector route, the costs and time would’ve outweighed the return on investment,” he says. “If we couldn’t find another solution, we would have skipped adding a bathroom entirely.”


Luckily, Pirain already knew about Saniflo’s above-floor plumbing technology. “Years ago, one of our customers who used a Saniflo product for a project called and asked me about it,” says Pirain, who did some research at that time.

The more recent product decision, however, was based on the recommendation of the local Saniflo sales agent: Brett Adelman of Triangle Sales. Pirain says he trusted the rep’s judgment and product knowledge.

“We frequently work with Triangle Sales for our renovations and new construction, since they handle a variety of plumbing products,” explains Pirain. “Saniflo is one they recommended, so we thought we’d give it a shot.”

Adelman suggested the Sanibest Pro grinder system, whose one-horsepower pump can discharge effluent up to 25 vertical feet and up to 150 horizontal feet to a soil stack or septic tank. Designed to handle a complete bathroom with three fixtures, the Sanibest Pro will discharge not only black water from a toilet or urinal, but also gray water from a sink and a tub/shower — or even a washing machine (via indirect connection).

The heavy-duty grinder is ideal for “uncontrolled” residential and commercial applications, such as rental units, offices, warehouses that involve a larger number and variety of users over time than a single-family home. In particular, the Sanibest Pro will handle larger, more difficult sanitary products when mistakenly or carelessly flushed down the toilet; i.e., sanitary napkins, Q-tips, dental floss, etc.

In Pirain’s half-bath installation, only a lavatory and the toilet are connected to the Sanibest Pro, draining into it via one of its 2-inch inlets. A 1-inch, PVC discharge pipe connects the discharge elbow at the top of the unit, running 6 feet vertically and 40 feet horizontally to the home’s sewage access.

A factory-installed non-return valve prevents backflow into the unit, while the discharge elbow rotates 360° — the better to accommodate any given application. Because all plumbing codes require connection to a vent system, the unit has an integral vent connection on the lid.

According to Pirain, all of the agency’s real estate agents participated in a training class hosted by Triangle Sales. There, they learned more about the Saniflo solution and how easy it can be to add a bathroom to a property and increase the home’s value.

Installation was done by professional remodeler Rick Martin, whose firm, Stonecrest Restoration, began with NextHome PPM Realty as a subcontractor doing stonework.

“Over time, we formed a relationship, doing a couple of rehabs together with Rick serving as the general contractor,” explains Pirain. Eventually, they entered into a partnership and started renovating and flipping properties.

According to Martin, the Saniflo installation went smoothly. “It was pretty simple, and the system worked the way the manufacturer said it would.”

“I was amazed to see that the waste discharges through such a small pipe and how well the system functioned, despite that,” adds Martin, who says he plans to use Saniflo in similar situations.


Pirain now estimates that adding a basement bathroom increased the value of the home by $20,000.

That enhanced value is on top of the substantial savings Pirain and his team gained by opting for the Sanibest Pro over the sump pump and pit alternative, which entailed the costly hassle of cutting into the concrete floor. “The time and expense of doing that did not make sense for us in this flip situation,” says Pirain, who estimates the sewage ejector system’s installed cost at “about $9,000,” versus approximately $1,100 for the Sanibest Pro.

Would Pirain recommend the Saniflo solution to other property developers or homeowners looking to increase the value of a home? “Absolutely! We plan to use it in future renovations, and — to give you an idea — I actually have the product in stock right now and ready for our next above-grade sewer bathroom upgrade!”


SFA SANIFLO U.S.A. – whose parent company originated macerating plumbing technology — offers a complete line of waste and drainage 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 24 subsidiaries in 50 countries and has sold more than seven million units worldwide since 1958. 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, contact Saniflo at 1-800-571-8191. Or visit the Saniflo website at saniflo.com.

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

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Basement bathroom created during the Pittsburgh home-renovation project.

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  • The lavatory is connected to a 2-inch inlet (bottom right on the unit), and the toilet is connected to the front of the unit.
  • A 1-inch, PVC discharge pipe connects the discharge elbow at the top of the unit, running 6 feet vertically and 40 feet horizontally to the home’s sewage access (top left of the unit).
  • All plumbing codes require connection to a vent system, and the unit has an integral vent connection on the lid (top right).

Download Lo-Res Image
Download Hi-Res Image

Image Size:  6″ wide x 4.5″ high
(Lo-Res: 432 × 324;
Hi-Res: 1800 x 1350 pixels)