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How Much Room Do You Need for a Toilet? Guidelines, Facts, & FAQ

flush toilet in the bathroom

Remodeling your bathroom can be fun and the options are endless. It’s easy to make this room more comfortable than ever with a few simple modifications, but many people have questions about building codes, like how much space you need for a toilet. The short answer is that you need about 15–24 inches of clearance, but keep reading as we look at several factors to see if this is the right amount for ultimate comfort and discuss a few other things that might be important to consider.

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Building Code

The International Residential Code dictates the minimum clearance for residential toilets.

This code sets the guidelines for the location of a toilet:
  • It states that the toilet must be at least 15 inches from its center to any sidewall partition or vanity.
  • The toilet needs to be at least 30 inches away from any adjacent fixture.
  • There must be at least 21 inches of clearance between the front of the toilet and any fixture or wall. However, the Uniform Plumbing Code states that there must be at least 24 inches in front of the toilet.
Photo Credit By: Soonthorn Wongsaita, Shutterstock

National Kitchen and Bath Association

In order to create a safer, more comfortable bathroom, the National Kitchen and Bath Association has its own set of guidelines.

  • The National Kitchen and Bath Association recommends increasing the space in front of the toilet to at least 30 inches for more leg room and increased comfort. The additional space also enables longer toilet bowls to fit more easily.
  • It also increased the recommended distance to the side wall or adjacent fixture to 18 inches.
  • Finally, it recommends increasing the space between the center of adjacent fixtures to 30 inches.
white ceramic toilet and sink in a bathroom
Photo Credit By: rccf.1, Unsplash

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How Can I Find the Toilet Center Line?

The center line is used to determine the distance to walls and fixtures. Draw an imaginary line down the fixture’s center; for a toilet, that splits the bowl and drains in half from front to back.

Which Guidelines Are the Better Option?

The building code states the law, and you will need to follow that to keep your house in compliance. However, many feel that following these measurements creates a confined space. The National Kitchen and Bath Association measurements result in a more comfortable environment, especially if you use an elongated toilet bowl or have difficulty getting up or down. Adding more space can also make maintaining the toilet and other fixtures easier.

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The International Building Code states that your toilet needs to be at least 15 inches from a wall or vanity and 30 inches from the center of any fixture. You also need at least 21 inches of clearance in front of the toilet for leg room. However, other organizations recommend extending the front clearance to at least 24 to 30 inches and increasing the side distance to at least 18 inches. More space will make the area more comfortable and easier to clean. It’s also better suited for larger toilet bowls and other amenities that you might want to install.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: P.KASIPAT, Shutterstock


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