Small Bathroom Renovation issues with code?

Discussion in 'Massachusetts Plumbing and Gas Code' started by Karen01, Jan 27, 2021.

  1. Karen01

    Karen01 New Member

    Jan 27, 2021
    Boston Area
    I am in the greater Boston area and this small house was built in the mid 50s, with a very small bathroom that is falling apart, and badly needs to be redone... This is the main bathroom used for everything including bathing

    I am not sure if this is true, but I have been told that one has to have a minimum of 21 inches in front of the toilet... but this NOT what the house has now...

    The alcove tub/shower combo is directly in front of the existing toilet (old standard height, big tank, round bowl Kohler Cimarron) and I measure the space between them as 19" and there is way to reconfigure things to get more space.

    The tub looks to be original to the house from when it was built in the 1950s - Cast iron and that very old fashioned shade of pink!!! It looks to be a 32" tub that is 16" high, and max water depth of about 11-12 inches... Not exactly good soaker but a very good compromise size for a tub/shower combo... Easy step over (particularly as we are of retirement age now) but still deep enough for reasonable water depth...

    While the existing toilet is likely not original to the house (it's not pink! - and obviously was not installed by a professional ) , I doubt back in the 50's the original was any smaller.

    I wanted to replace the existing toilet with a comfort height Kohler round bowl Cimarron , which would be have the exact same projection as the existing one, and replace the tub with the 60" X 32" Kohler Mendota which would be the exact same width (and height!) as the existing tub.

    That would leave the spacing exactly exactly as it has been from before w bought the house, and likely what it has has been since the house was built, and I can't do that? Would there not be a grandfather clause for older homes not built to modern expectations that would allow for this?

    BTW I want both the toilet and the tub to be from the same manufacturer as I want the colors to match (and not be white - looking at biscuit or almond to match the style we are planning). I also am not enamored of acrylic tubs and want cast iron as that will last until we have to sell the because we can't take care of it ant more... So basically that leaves only Kohler AFAIK.

    If we need to meet the 21" requirement the options are very limited and means tradeoffs we don't want to have to make... We have lived with 19" for long time and can deal with that OK.

    If we want a comfort height toilet (which is important as we get older), we could only go with a 30" tub like the Kohler Villager, and the comfort height round bowl Cimarron. That IMO is both uncomfortably small tub for a shower (we are not small people) or bath , and while the step over is only 14 inches and so OK for showers that way, the water depth is too low for a decent bath IMO.

    The only other Kohler toilet option I can find to meet that code (if 21" is required) with a 32" cast iron tub would be the round bowl San Souci ...BUT that does not come in comfort height - only the elongated bowl version does....

    So in this situation, given the existing layout, can I go with a 19" distance between them because of grandfathering?

    If not, are there any other reasonable cost options that I may have missed?

    As I said tearing down walls, and moving all the plumbing fixtures is not an option!

  2. breplum

    breplum Member

    Oct 2, 2004
    Plumbing and heating contractor
    San Francisco Bay Area
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  4. Karen01

    Karen01 New Member

    Jan 27, 2021
    Boston Area

    I took a look at it...

    The Kohler toilet (to match the tub color) that would go with the is the Veil... reviews on it overall are not good... issues with how it does not clean very well with flushing, hard to clean in general, and the sides tend to fall off after awhile ... they are only velcroed on!

    I don't know for sure if that wall is 2X4 or 2X6... but as it has plumbing and the vent in that wall, it is probably 2X6.

    I hope I can use the 19" spacing!


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