How much room makes sense around a toilet?

Discussion in 'Remodel Forum & Blog' started by etienne1102, Jun 11, 2007.

  1. etienne1102

    etienne1102 New Member

    Jun 6, 2007
    I am finishing my basement. My basement was roughed in years ago for a toilet and tub - drains on opposite sides of what was envisioned as a bathroom with the tup on the end wall and the toilet and vanity on left. My contractor said "do you want a shower" and my wife said yes. HE then said to her, "I'd use a NeoAngle because they give you the most room with the least space", and she said... "ok, sure". Due to some additional utility tubs we were adding, the concrete was broken up and then again re-poured.

    I have a raw concrete floor and stud walls now (so that the venting and the shower plumbing could be set. The neoangle needed a 12" equidistant drain location (pretty standard). When I (I stress that it was ME) finally then layed out the actual fictures on the floor with chalk that I find that the door swing on the shower will clear even the smallest toilet I can find (front to back... Cadet 3 or Toto models...26 1/4 and 26 1/8 respectively) JUST barely I hope. Also, due to the fact that the drains are on the opposite sides of the room the space between the shower recepter and the toilet is about 16 inches - into a corner which I might try to make useful with a cabinet or freestanding shelf section - IF I could walk by without sucking in my stomach.

    This strikes me a really bad, a case of bad planning and I even wonder if it meets code for spacing. Comments appreciated - my guess is i am about to have an unpleasant conversation with the contractor about how sorry I am that he has to redo the plumbing rough in work and move a wall, drain and vent. On the other hand, he ought to be happy that I checked NOW rather than notice after the tile was in and the paint was dry. Am I nuts (well on this issue that is!) Thanks in advance.
  2. etienne1102

    etienne1102 New Member

    Jun 6, 2007
    follow up concept drawing

    in another thread, Terry posted

    "If you look at building codes, you need 30" space for most plumbing fixtures.

    The toilet would need 30"
    the Urinal would need 30"
    the Lav would need 30"

    24" in front of a toilet bowl too."

    ... Above I posted a question about how much space I need around a toilet. I am attaching a HACKED drawing so you can get some kind of visual about what I was asking (it is NOT even close to scale or even relative proportion of elements in the drawing) You say 24" in front of a toilet - I have that directly in front. It's the door swing! (not to mention the stupid hole in the corner). I could go with a circular shower with the door on the side - facing you as you enter the room - but that does not solve the idiotic hole in the corner.

    Attached Files:

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    Attached Files:

  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    As stated, the codes require 15" on either side of the toilet and 24" in front of it. I don't think you have to account for the door opening, other than to make sure you can. To verify projection dimmensions, you need to measure from the wall to the mounting bolts for the toilet to determine the rough-in. If it isn't exactly 12", then the toilet's projection will differ, since they are spec'ed off of that.
  5. geniescience

    geniescience Homeowner

    Nov 27, 2005
    humid summers hot, humid winters cold
    a few options.


    inspectors don't seem to have rule books to follow when spaces are at 135 degree angles. I think they sometimes let the odd shape be treated as if it were more like a rectangle, for their purposes. Usually it works in your favor. But your neo-angle shower, being at 135 degrees, may not get approved if the tightest spot is only 16" across. BTW, in real life you will quickly learn how to manouver through this space without a second thought, like unconsciously and as if blindfolded; that is just the way a body works. A 16" space is not the real blockage since all of your body above your knees has a lot more space to move in.

    In your case I think you have a few options. One is to redo, because a 16" slipthrough space is quite small; this might mean your toilet goes into the corner, diagonally.

    The 15" O.C. (i.e. 30" total) requirement is for elbows, not for the tank. A body needs space, but not at the back where the tank is. If you place any toilet diagonally into the corner of a right angle, you get a lot of elbow room -- but not at the back where the tank is. Example: see the Eljer toilet that squeezes back into a corner and has a very small bowl. That provides lots of elbow room, when you are seated upright and lots more when leaning forward. The 15" OC rule is for walls. Not for tubs and sinks, which can be closer, AFAIK in the code. (But that may be a previous version to the latest Code; it appears that where I live they opted not to adopt some of the latest changes made).

    Another option is to use a wall-hung toilet, which will cost a few hundred more, but it will buy you a lot of freedom to position the toilet wherever you choose to, later. Search for the Missal corner wall hung carrier; it is triangular to start with, so no wasted space. The four other makes I am aware of are all rectangular wall hung toilet carriers; that will work too.

    the thinking you have to go through has been considered by many people before. You are right to think it is crazy that builders don't know how to deal with this, before it gets to this stage.

    If the drawing is more or less to scale, then you don't have room to change the shower shape. You don't have to squeeze the toilet deep into the corner, if your drawing is more or less similar to your space.

    Your toilet, if it goes into a corner, could go into the vanity corner, instead of into the far corner. That hides most of the toilet from view, and that is worth money when you resell the house. The fact that the back part of the toilet is "closer" than 15" to a sink or tub, is not a problem in terms of the Code, AFAIK, but you ought to check and double check this first where you are.

    Last edited: Jun 11, 2007
  6. etienne1102

    etienne1102 New Member

    Jun 6, 2007
    Thanks - we've got it worked out

    a 12" toilet rough in would've given me more options for the toilet and thus bought me a few inches, but that was not to be. A Cadet 3 it is.

    Thanks for everyone's help
  7. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Master Plumber

    Feb 6, 2005
    Sensitivity trainer.. plumber of mens souls
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
    codes for a toilet

    from your drawing that tolet would look great
    put back into the corner by the shower....

    we have had to squeeze them into some rather
    tight spots before in a re-model....

    30 inches of space is ideal .....

    the tightest I have had to go is 20 inches....

    if the room between the shower and the side wall is
    about 30 inches it would work out ok..

    it really depends on how wide your wife is.......

    you dont want her having to back into a
    tight cubby hole to sit down especially if she
    has a wide ....

    but with the toilet sitting out like a sore thumb
    next to the vanity does not look too good either...

    get some exact measurements on your plans
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