Remodel & Renovate in 97211>Question Details

Patricia, Other/Just Looking in Portland, OR

Do I need a permit to clean up and finish a bathroom in basement where toilet and sink already exist?

Asked by Patricia, Portland, OR Tue Feb 1, 2011

The basement is "semi-finished" and when we bought the house it was listed as having 1.1 bathrooms. The 0.1 bathroom downstairs is nothing but a not-to-plumbing code toilet with a stall built around it next to a laundry sink; the drain for the shower already exists. We want to turn into a legit finished bathroom with toilet, sink, and shower all to code on a tight budget. Is there any way to do this without incurring huge fees ... and also without the commitment of having to finish the entire basement? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Help the community by answering this question:


I would say your safest bet is to go to get the permits and if they say you dont need them get it in writing - that way you have what you need and it wont be any bodies guess work.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 1, 2011
thank you all. appreciate the responses!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 1, 2011
The city of Portland can say one thing and do another. To replace a toilet you need to have a permit per code. Most people do not get one.The shower you will need to have it inspected as you install a tile floor or a prefab floor. I replaced a hall bath sink in a large remodel and the inspector said I needed to have a new sink permit so I went out and bought one for $50 I think 8 years ago and the second inspector asked me why I bought a permit when I was just replacing the sink? The answer because the first one told me I had to have it to be inspected. Extra money in the city account. If you are going to cover it up then you will have to have a pre-cover inspection and a final so they can check insulation and the finished job. I would always get the right inspections it might save a lot of problems down the road. If you are doing your own wiring you cannot do it within 2 years of selling your house per city code. You will need a fan and can your electrical box handle more breakers or will you need to install a new box for this project. Call a electrical contractor for a bid. You will need it done by a licensed electrician so also call a plumber and get the numbers in advance and they know the code. You will not have to finish your basement, just the area you are working on the room. Good Luck ask a lot of questions of the inspectors.

Tom Inglesby, Broker
RE/MAX Equity Group
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 1, 2011
HI Patricia,
Everyone has given you the right answer and my experience with the city of Portland is very good. They are always easy to reach or call back in a reasonable time, and they are very helpful. Having said that, from what I've "heard" (keep that in mind!) as long as you're not doing any of the piping and using what was there, you probably don't need a permit although it depends on what you're planning.

However, its a great question because I do want to caution you that we have very savvy buyers in 97211 (where I live and work) and they know how to get on and check for permits. So as you point out, it wasn't permitted when you bought it so it would be good to have them permit all the work to satisfy a potential buyer. It probably will not cost you as much as you might think. Best to you, and please let me know if you don't have a Realtor to help you in NE and I would love to apply for the job!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 1, 2011
Portland has all the information you need on their website:

Of course, it is never a bad idea to talk to an expert.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 1, 2011
Hello Patricia,

You will need to contact the permit department with the City of Portland. I don't believe that permit fees are too expensive. In order to properly complete the project downstairs it will need to be permitted and inspected through the city. In my opinion I wouldn't think you'd have to do the whole basement, just the bathroom.

Have a great day,

Terrie Hull
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 1, 2011
Bottom line and only proper answer in my opinion is call your building inspector locally. A phone call is always free, and they are they to help. Ask you questions to someone who is paid to have the proper answer for your municipality.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 1, 2011
Just add / clarify ... toilet (not completely to code), shower drain, and laundry sink already exist. We want to bring everything everything to code, wall it in, and essentially have a finished bathroom in a "semi-finished" basement. We may choose to finish out the basement later on down the road but we're not sure if we'll have the funds and do not want to have to commit to it.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 1, 2011
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Email me when…

Learn more

Copyright © 2016 Trulia, Inc. All rights reserved.   |  
Have a question? Visit our Help Center to find the answer