YIKES! (interpret as second guessing Toto Ultramax II purchase re small powder room)

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by greyhound1, Oct 10, 2012.

  1. greyhound1

    greyhound1 New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Background: I live in lower southampton twp , PA, and I'm redoing my small powder room (54" wide by 48" deep) in our new home. Once the walls are finished with tile, the distance between the walls in front of and in back of the toilet will be approximately 47 1/2 inches (I subtracted 1/4" tile, multiplied by 2 = 1/2"), and the distance between the walls from side to side will be 53 1/2". I bought the following fixtures: a Toto Ultramax II which is 28 5/16 deep and 16 1/2" wide. I also bought a Ronbow Cami cabinet and sink, which is 18" wide and 16 1/2" deep. The toilet is to the left of the sink as you face it. The toilet is close to the left wall and the cabinet will be close to the right wall. The toilet flange has a 12" rough-in. The center of the flange (if left as is) is currently 15" from the unfinished wall (to the left) but will be 14 3/4" from the finished wall to the left. Also, there is baseboard heat which is about 9 1/2" high off the unfinished floor. It runs the length of the wall to the left of the toilet, which I did not include when I measured 14 3/4" from center of flange to the left hand wall. I believe the baseboard heat extends less than 3" from the wall. The left edge of the cabinet/sink will set 34 1/4" from the left wall (when finished), extend 18" to the right, and end up about 2 1/4" from the right wall (whew!).

    My questions are as follows:

    1. I was informed that the "2003 International Plumbing Code calls for a minimum of 15" clearance from the center of the water closet (toilet) to the nearest side wall or other fixture and 21" clearance from the front of the bowl to the closest wall or fixture". Does this mean that I can not have this Ultrmax II installed in this powder room since (by my estimates), I will only have about 19 1/4" in front of the toilet to the finished wall?

    2. Is the above rule a mandatory code?

    3. With reference to the "15 inch minimum clearance from the center of the flange to the nearest side wall or other fixture" rule: Do I measure from the edge of the baseboard heat cover (which is about 3" wide) to the center of the flange to derive at 15" ? (so that 15" now becomes 18" from the finished wall) or do I measure from the edge of the finished wall to the center of the flange? What do you recommend?

    4. My installer will move the flange for me as part of the installation. We already discussed this. How far to the left should it be moved, in your opinion? My gut tells me that the flange should be moved to the right so that the center of the flange is 15" from the finished wall. Please advise.

    5. Should I consider moving the toilet farther away from the left wall to accommodate the baseboard heat? If I do this, the center of the flange will be 18" from the left wall, and I will still have about 16 1/4" from the center of the flange to the edge of the sink on the right hand side (thus, satisfying the 15" rule on both sides of the "center of flange". However, will this cause a problem with the supply line being 3" farther away from the toilet?


    6. Also, I am thinking that the flange should be moved back a bit, that is, toward the back wall, since (I believe) the center of the flange measures about 13" from the unfinished wall behind the toilet, but I do not have an exact measurement at this point (I will measure that tomorrow). This may maximize the area in front of the toilet bowl once the installation is complete. Therefore, my next question is, how much space should there be behind the toilet to the finished wall ? (one inch? one half inch?) What would you recommend?

    HELP!

    Thank you in advance for all of your assistance in this matter.

    Greyhound1
  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,763
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    That's pretty much the case with whatever you install. You can add 1.5" by getting a round bowl, but your knees will be in the same location regardless.

    If you have a wall heater on one side, you may want to move it out a ways from it. What you are mainly looking at is shoulder room. That's where your arms hang from.

    You need at least an 11.5" rough from the finished wall for the Ultramax II.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 10, 2012
  3. greyhound1

    greyhound1 New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Terry:

    Thank you for replying so quickly. Is that picture an actual installation?

    My concern is whether this toilet will fail a code regulation.

    Is the 21 inch clearance in front of the toilet rule mandatory? Is this toilet too large for this powder room, given the specs? (I already bought and received it from i-net purchase!)

    Should I measure 15 inches from the baseboard heat, and does this violate any rule regarding the toilet water supply line placement?

    Thanks again.

    Greyhound1
  4. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,763
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    That picture was from a hotel room in Eastern Washington. The space was so tight, that they hung the paper overhead. Your shoulders touched the walls on both sides. Legal? No.

    Are you having the new toilet inspected? Many of the old homes in Seattle are too small in that way too. I lived in one home where the master was framed at 48" and was 47" in the clear. I prefer something like 59" in the clear, but that's not what you have.

    [​IMG]

    Check it out, the toilet paper is above his head.
  5. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,302
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Not knowing the configuration of everything in the room, this idea may or may not work for you, but it is a way to utilize space in a small bathroom. Consider a pocket door. Swinging door require a great deal of space to open and a pocket door requires no space. I used one in my bathroom years ago when I first remodeled, and then more recently when I built a small bathroom in my basement. The basement bathroom has just a 32x32 shower stall, a Toto Drake, and a small vanity and basin. It is intended for time when we have guests and need a little more facility that the main bathroom upstairs, so it is small by design but the toilet is legally spaced and it is quite functional. The pocket door really made it possible.
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,804
    Location:
    New England
    A toilet doesn't need any space behind it, but you probably want at least some for air circulation in case it sweats from a high frequency bout. Under normal circumstances, modern toilets don't sweat because they mix the incoming cold(er) water with what remains in the tank (nominally at room temp), and that's usually above the dew point, but if flushed often enough, that water doesn't come up to room temp.

    The important measurment is at shoulder height, but you still need some room for your feet as most people need to spread their legs a bit.

    Your knees would end up in the same place whether the toilet is round or elongated. Now, the codes don't make that distinction. But, you don't want to burn your feet or legs while sitting on the toilet, either.

    These are all practical points, and some of it depends on the inspector how to interpret them. Your existing toilet may not have met the requirements when built or the current ones, and if you haven't torn it out, I'd measure, compare with what you propose, and have a talk with the inspector.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2012
  7. greyhound1

    greyhound1 New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Terry:

    I believe that the 21" forward clearance rule will not apply in my twp if I am only replacing an existing fixture. (I spoke with someone from twp) With that in mind, I was wondering if it is worth it for me to purchase a Toto Eco Ultramax with a rounded bowl and use the ultamax II for another bathroom? The Eco round version is 26 1/2" long, which will put the forward clearance at exactly 21" (47.5" - 26.5" = 21"). My questions are:
    Do you recommend the eco ultramax round?

    Do I need the optional sanigloss coating? (i dont know if I can get that option)

    Is it as good as the ultramax II?

    Also, from an ergonomic perspective, will the extra 1 3/4" clearance make a difference to the users of the powder room? For example, I am about 6' 1" and weigh about 160 lbs.

    I am looking for a "what would you do?" practical solution here.

    Thanks to everyone who responded. Although I posed these questions in response to Terry's reply, I appreciate all assistance from other viewers as well.

    Greyhound1
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 14, 2014
  8. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,804
    Location:
    New England
    Men (and women) prefer the elongated bowl. But, all of the Totos are really decent toilets. Sanagloss is nice - I have it on both of my toilets, but my mother didn't want to spend the extra. Hers are a lot harder to keep clean. Mine stay clean longer, and are easier. I think it's worth the extra (it's not available on every model and color, though). As said earlier, your knees will be the same distance from the wall on either toilet since from the tank back, the distance is the same - i.e., your butt gets planted the same distance from the wall. It's just things in front have more room?!
  9. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,763
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Being 6'-1" myself, I would lean toward the taller of the two, the Ultramax II.
  10. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,302
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    I'm only 5'8", but with my 77 yo knees, I will always be grateful for the ADA height Toto toilets in my home. It may not seem like a big deal when you are young, but as you age, I soon realize that when your butt is lower than you knees, it become increasingly difficult to stand.
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