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Minimum Toilet Clearances per the Residential Code

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When it comes to determining the minimum toilet clearances, it can vary from state to state. The reason for this is as simple as knowing which code book your local jurisdiction adopts.

For example one jurisdiction can be enforcing the International Plumbing Code while another can be using the Uniform Plumbing Code. Although somewhat similar, it is important to identify which code applies to you since there are some differences. We’ll get into these differences in a minute.

Providing the proper clearance to a toilet not only allows the fixture to be usable but it is said that the importance of these measurements can decide where the piping will be placed within a building.

What is the minimum clearance for a toilet?

The minimum clearance for residential toilets can be found in Section R307.1 of the International Residential Code as well as Section P2705.1 which specifies the required clearance for a toilet fixture and other fixtures too.

Section P2705.1 is a part of the International Residential Code which mirrors the International Plumbing Code. Provisions from the International Plumbing Code are placed within the International Residential Code to allow for a complete and comprehensive code regulating the construction of single family houses, duplexes, and townhouses not more than three stories.

To better understand what the International Residential Code (IRC) covers, be sure to check out this POST.

With that said, let us take a look at these code sections.

Per the code sections noted above, here are the minimum clearances for a toilet:

  1. A toilet shall not be set closer than 15 inches from its center to any side wall, partition or vanity.
  2. A toilet shall not be set closer than 30 inches center to center from an adjacent fixture.
  3. The clearance in front of a toilet shall not be less than 21 inches to any wall, fixture or door.

One important difference to note here is that the clearance in front of a toilet shall not be less than 21 inches per the I-Codes (International Residential Code, International Plumbing Code) however per the Uniform Plumbing Code the clearance in front of the toilet shall not be less than 24 inches.

You can see that the Uniform Plumbing Code requires a greater clearance in front of the toilet than the I-Codes. Which is another reason why it is very important to know which code applies to you.

With that said, let us take a look at the following illustrations to better visualize the code sections above:

Toilet Clearance from Wall and Vanity

A toilet shall be set a minimum 15 inches from its center to any side wall, partition or vanity.

Illustration: © Building Code Trainer, 2020

Toilet Clearance from Adjacent Fixture

A toilet shall be set a minimum 30 inches center to center from an adjacent fixture.

Illustration: © Building Code Trainer, 2020

Clearance in Front of Toilet

The clearance in front of a toilet shall not be less than 21 inches to any wall, fixture or door when subject to the International Residential Code or not less than 24 inches when subject to the Uniform Plumbing Code.

Illustration: © Building Code Trainer, 2020

It is important to understand that these are minimum measurements. You can place the toilet further away. For example the center of a toilet does not need to be 15 inches away from a side wall, it needs to be at least 15 inches away.

Just keep in mind the usability of the fixture. With no maximum dimension, just be aware of how the fixture is to be used.

Just remember that these dimensions are not the same for accessible restroom stalls. These are not being discussed here. The dimension discussed here are for residential bathrooms that are within the scope of the International Residential Code (IRC).

Summary of Toilet Clearances

Here is a summary of the minimum requirements per code for toilet clearances:

  1. A toilet shall not be set closer than 15 inches from its center to any side wall, partition or vanity.
  2. A toilet shall not be set closer than 30 inches center to center from an adjacent fixture.
  3. The clearance in front of a toilet shall not be less than 21 inches to any wall, fixture or door.

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* Reference Source – 2015 International Residential Code – [Buy on Amazon]

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