Homes are often described in terms of how many bedrooms and bathrooms they have. A typical home may be referred to as, for example, a 3 bedroom 2.5 bathroom home. 2.5 bathrooms? How can you have half of a bathroom? We’ll explore half baths, three-quarter baths and more.
Bathrooms are technically determined based on size – half bath, three-quarter bath, and full bath. They can also fall into other categories, such as master bath or continental bath. And no, a continental bath doesn’t come with a free cold breakfast.
Half baths are still fully functional bathrooms – if you consider a room with a toilet to be a bathroom, of course. Half baths consist solely of a toilet and a sink. These are typically very small rooms, with little additional space, meant to be used for one purpose. You often find these bathrooms near the entrance or the kitchen of the home, intended for quick trips or for easy access for guests.
Three-quarter baths contain a toilet and a sink, as all bathrooms must, but they also have a shower. The shower is typically a corner-style shower or standing shower, although some homes have larger showers in their three-quarter bathrooms. Many homes only have three-quarter bathrooms, as opposed to full baths.
Full baths have everything that half-and-three-quarter baths have – a toilet, a sink and a shower – but with the addition of a bathtub. The tub can either be connected to the shower as a single unit, or the bathtub and shower can be separate entities. Separate showers and tubs is becoming more and more common in higher-end and new construction homes, as unique tile and tub designs are favored over the traditional fiberglass units.
Beyond the size, bathrooms have additional classifications: master, utility and continental baths.
Master baths are the holy grail of bathrooms. Connected to the master bedroom or master suite, master baths are where you go all-out in designing your bathroom. It’s for you, the master of the home, after all. Common master bathroom features include double vanities, stand-alone bathtubs and showers, and occasionally even toilet areas separated by a door. These options are great if you need the additional space for two people getting ready in the morning. Speaking of space, master baths are typically large and spacious, adding to the luxurious feel.
Continental baths are considerably rarer. By definition, a continental bath is a bathroom that has two entrances, such as a bathroom between two rooms. While convenient, these bathrooms require a very specific floor plan and may raise some privacy concerns if you forget to lock both doors!
Utility bathrooms are the final bathroom classification, but these don’t seem as clear as others. Some define utility bathrooms simply as half baths, due to the very utilitarian nature of just a sink and a toilet. Others consider utility bathrooms to be bathrooms connected to a utility room, such as a mud room or a laundry room. Neither of the latter options are very common, so it’s likely you won’t encounter utility bathrooms on your home search.
So what does this mean for you? As a buyer, you’ll need to consider just how many bathrooms you’ll need for you and everyone who lives with you. Nobody likes having a traffic jam outside the bathroom, with multiple children or teenagers who need to get ready for school at the same time in the morning or multiple adults that need to get going for work. Double vanities are a fantastic option for alleviating some of these issues, as they allow multiple people to use the sinks at the same time. As far as full bathrooms go, again, you’ll need to analyze your household’s bathing needs.
As a seller, each bathroom adds additional value to your home simply by existing. Luxurious master bathrooms can add a significant value, depending on the materials used to build it and overall size. The great thing about bathrooms is that they can be remodeled rather easily, from installing new flooring to a complete overhaul. Bathroom remodels can add quite a bit of value to your home! Typically, the master is the most important bathroom when making any kind of remodeling decisions, as it is designed for the owner of the home.
Before choosing to remodel, consult with one of our Listing Specialists to understand the value vs. the cost on building equity in your Tri-Cities home.
This article was originally published in August 31, 2020 and updated on August 29, 2022.