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Blog for amazing home improvement and remodeling projects in the Philadelphia area. | April 19, 2018

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Meeting Bathroom Code Requirements

So you want to remodel your bathroom? Well don’t get ahead of yourself! There are a few things you should know before you begin your remodeling process, which you can easily find yourself running into trouble with if you don’t consider these undertakings.

Before you begin designing, be sure to check with your local building department to see which state/local code requirements and specifications you have to meet. Minimum clearances will vary across the state, but the NKBA (National Kitchen And Bath Association) provides a list of standards that all residential bathrooms should meet. You can check out the list here!

From lavatory placement, ceiling heights, and shower sizes to shower valves, tub seats, and grab bars, here are Five Key Pointers that we think every DIY home renovation homeowner should be aware of:

1.) Door Interference

Common mistake! You open your bathroom door and it hits an open drawer under your vanity. As the NKBA Bath Planning Guidelines With Access Standards states, “No entry or fixture doors should interfere with one another and/or the safe use of the fixtures or cabinets. (IRC P 2705.1.6)” To avoid this, a recommended guideline is to provide a clearance of the width of the door plus 18″ by 60″ on the pull side of the door. The clearance on the push side of the door should be the width of the door by 48″.

2.) Toilet Placement

The IRC (International Residential Code) states that the center of the toilet in a residential bathroom has to be a minimum of 15″ away from any wall, fixture, or other obstacles. You might want to give yourself some extra room to do the deed- a recommended dimension is 18″ between the center of the toilet and any other obstacle. Otherwise, you may find yourself stuck in an uncomfortable situation like this:

3.) Flooring

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it is an aspect about material selection that may easily be ignored! Be sure that when you are picking out your materials that you choose materials that are practical for its function. Choose slip-resistant materials for both bath flooring and tub flooring to provide a safe bathroom experience.

4.) ADA (American Disabilities Act)

If you or someone in your home has a disability, there are guidelines that you should follow in order to meet ADA requirements. Providing adequate spacing under sinks and having accessible storage (placed between 15″ – 48″ off the floor) are a few ADA codes you must follow. Handlebars must be under 48″ above the ground and have a clearance of at least 12″ above.

Copyright NKBA

5.) Ventilation

Do I have to state the obvious? I think everyone will agree with me when I say that ventilation is one of the most important aspects in designing a bathroom. To avoid moisture build up, mold, and to circulate the air for a cleaner environment, you must have “a window of at least 3 sq. ft. of which 50% is operable, or a mechanical ventilation system of at least 50 cubic feet per minute (cfm) ducted to the outside. (IRC R 303.3, IRC M 1506.3)” Let your bathroom breathe!


So, when you are preparing for your bathroom makeover, make sure to keep these pointers in mind. Happy designing!


  • On May 21, 2012


  1. Jessica

    Remodelling would be effective if we do it an appropriate manner, if not it would be a mess at the end. These highlights are a great assistance for a trouble free renovation process.

  2. Cotton Bags

    I have been looking to build a good professional opinion on the topic. Your post got me a step further in the right direction. Many thanks 🙂

  3. Remodeling Honolulu HI

    I agree and second the motion on Meeting Bathroom Code Requirements: Use lic contractors in youre local area also find the best pro services and handymen with carpenter back grounds

  4. Stay at home Mom

    That is so true.. One of the pictures reminds me of my 1st house.. I could not use that toilet!! Aghhh!!!

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