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Illustrated Rules of Good Bathroom Design

Guideline 5: Single Lavatory Placement

 

Recommendation: The distance from the centerline of the lavatory to the sidewall/tall obstacle should be at least 20”.

 

Building Code Requirement:

  • The minimum distance from the centerline of the lavatory to a wall is 15″. (IPC 405.3.1)
  • The minimum distance between a wall and the edge of a free standing or wall-hung lavatory is 4″. (IRC R 307.2)

Comments:

  1. A pedestal or wall mounted lavatory must meet both of the Building Code Requirements. The center of the lavatory must be at least 15″ away from any side wall or tall obstacle, such as a tall cabinet, and the edge of the lavatory must be 4″ from the wall or tall obstacle. There are practical reasons for the 4″ requirement. Any closer and it would be very difficult to clean the lavatory.
  2. In a small bath remodel, careful attention needs to be paid to the size of lavatory sinks to ensure that minimum offset distances are met. When in doubt, go smaller. Almost all fixture manufactuters make lavatory sinks designed to fit very small spaces.

Illustrated Rules of Good Bathroom Design

Guideline 4: Clear Floor Space

 

Recommendation: Plan a clear floor space of at least 30” from the front edge of all fixtures (i.e., lavatory, toilet, bidet, tub and shower) to any opposite bath fixture, wall or obstacle.

 

Building Code Requirement:

  • A minimum space of at least 21″ must be planned in front of lavatory, toilet, bidet and tub. (IRC R 307.1)
  • A minimum space of at least 24″ must be planned in front of a shower entry. (IRC P 2705.1.5)

Comments:

  1. Where possible use the recommended 30” minimum clear space when remodeling a bathroom. For many people, especially those with limited movement, the 24” or 21” code minimum is too small.
  2. When remodeling bathrooms just 5′ wide, which is most baths built from 1945 through 965, the smaller 24” and 21” clear space minimum standard may be unavoidable.
  3. One way to increase clear space in a bathroom remodel is to reduce the space occupied by fixtures by reducing the size of the fixture. For example, the standard 21” vanity depth can be reduced to as little as 15” with proper planning.
  4. It is often possible to create more clear space when remodeling a small bathroom by reversing the swing of the bathroom door so it swings out, not in. See Guideline 3.
  5. The clear floor space around a pedestal or clawfoot bathtub should follow the general rule for bathtubs with the following addition: the clear space between any edge of the tub and any adjacent wall or rixture should be a minimum of 4″ to allow for cleaning behnd the tub — 6″ is better. The entry side of the tub should have a minumum of 21″ of clear floor space, 30″ is better.
  6. For techniques useful in remodeling a bathroom to create more clear space, see “Getting More Bathroom Space”.

 

Illustrated Rules of Good Bathroom Design

Guideline 3: Ceiling Height

Recommendation: Same as Building Code Requirement.
Building Code Requirement: Bathrooms shall have a minimum floor to ceiling height of 80″ over the fixture and at the front clearance area for fixtures. A shower or tub equipped with a shower head shall have a minimum floor to ceiling height of 80″ above a minimum area 30″ X 30″ at the shower head. (IRC R305.1.4)

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Illustrated Rules of Good Bathroom Design

Guideline 1: Entry Door

Recommendation: The clear opening of a doorway should be at least 32″. This would require a minimum 34″ or 2′-10″ door. For universal design, the minimum clear width is 34″. If the existing structure precludes changing the opening then a minimum 24″ or 2′-0″ door is allowable.
The door opening width is measured from jamb to jamb. The clear opening width is measured from the inside of the open door to the door stop on the other wise of the opening. It is almost always about 2″ narrower than the clear opening. The doorknob is disregarded when calculating a clear opening.

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