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.

Building Code Requirement: The International Residential Code is silent as to door widths and heights of interior doors. Many communities have, however, supplemented the basic code by requiring a minimum 30″ door opening in most rooms, 24″ for bathrooms, at least one 36″ exterior door, and a minimum door height of 6′-8″ (80″). For bathrooms complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the clear door opening must be 32″ wide with the door fully open which usually requires a 34″ wide door at minimum.


  1.  Clear openings of doorways with swinging doors shall be measured between the face of door and stop, with the door open 90 degrees. (ANSI 404.2.3) If the door can open a minimum of 93 degrees, the handle may be disregarded in measuring the opening.
  2. When a passage exceeds 24″ in depth, the minimum clear opening increases to 36″. (ANSI A117.1 404)


  1. Standard door widths include 18″, 20″, 24″, 28″, 30″, 32″ and 36″ doors. Any other width and any door wider than 36″ is generally made as a custom door.
  2. To achieve a clear opening, the door size must orginarily be at least 2″ larger. For example, a 32″ clear opening requires a 34″ door, and a 36″ clear opening requires a 38″ door.
  3. Since a 34″ (2-10) interior door is typically a special order custom door, this standard is usually met with a 36″ (3-0) standard door. A 36″ opening for a narrow passageways requires a 38″ door to meet the requirements of ANSI A117.1 404. These are not available except as custom doors — so narrow passageways should be avoided where possible.
  4.  In a bathroom remodel, codes generally do not require an existing door to comply with current minimum opening widths, but if the door is moved as part of the bath remodel, then most jurisdictions will require that current code minimum opening standards be met.