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How to Design a Bathroom Per Residential Code

The bathroom is probably one of the most essential rooms in a house. It’s important to make sure your space is functional, safe, and appealing. That’s why you must ensure you build yours according to residential codes. Following toilet clearance code requirements and other regulations is important.

Bathroom with separated shower, toilet and basin

While they may seem stiff and limiting, residential codes are designed to ensure everyone follows best practices when building or renovating their bathrooms.

Residential Bathroom Code

Thinking of remodeling your bathroom? Bathroom remodels are usually at the top of the list for most home upgrades. That’s because, while being one of the least used rooms in terms of hours spent in them, they play a huge role in the way you enjoy your home.

While bathroom design (or re-design) may seem like a simple undertaking, you must be careful how you go about it. You must ensure that everything you do is according to your local residential bathroom code. Many times, toilet code clearance code requirements are overlooked, so make sure your bathroom is also compliant in this regard.

How to Make a Bathroom ADA-Compliant

As you remodel your bathroom, you must ensure it’s ADA-compliant. This simply means making sure your bathroom follows the building code and is easily accessible to everyone—including people with disabilities. To make your bathroom ADA-compliant:

  • Include grab bars. These are horizontal handrails that provide support.
  • Introduce accessible toilets. The lavatory must be designed and fitted according to toilet code clearance code requirements.
  • Install a properly sized sink. The sink must be positioned in such a way that there’s enough knee clearance to accommodate people with wheelchairs.
  • Incorporate shower seats. Whether you’re installing a tub shower or a one-piece shower stall, shower seats are required for ADA-compliant bathrooms.

Besides these requirements, you must also leave plenty of space in your bathroom and reduce clutter as much as possible.

Tips for Designing Bathrooms

Need some ideas for your bathroom design? Here are a few tips to help you design an ADA-compliant bathroom:

Sink Installation and Spacing

When installing sinks, make sure they’re spaced at least 4 inches from sidewalls. This is because sinks are prone to splashing water and could damage your moisture-sensitive drywall. You must also ensure your sinks have a minimum of 21 inches of clearance in front.

If your design includes two sinks placed side by side, make sure there’s a space of at least 4 inches between them. They should also be a minimum of 4 inches away from the bathtub.

Toilet Spacing and Design

According to toilet code clearance code requirements, you must install your toilet:

  • At least 15 inches from its center to any side wall or partition.
  • No closer than 30 inches center to center from an adjacent fixture.
  • With a clearance of at least 21 inches from a wall, fixture or door.

Shower and Bathtub Spacing

While the maximum size of a shower is not mandated, bathroom code dictates that your shower floor has a minimum size of 30 square inches. This minimum size is a safety issue, as it prevents people from falling when they try to squeeze past the narrow door. Other requirements include fitting anti-scald devices and water-saving showerheads.

Ventilation and Electrical Code

Other essential factors to consider as you design your bathroom are ventilation and electricals.

Your bathroom must have a window that’s at least 3 square feet in area to provide adequate ventilation. You can also install a bathroom fan capable of pulling out at least 50 cubic feet of air per minute.

Regarding electricals in the bathroom, you must be very careful to follow code to the “T”. Doing so will help mitigate the risk of electrical shock and fire. For example:

white ceramic toilet bowl beside pedestal sink

  • Light bulbs over bathtubs and showers must be vapor- and waterproof.
  • Outlets must be ground-fault current (GFCI) interrupter outlets.
  • Switches must be at least 60 inches away from tubs and showers. This is to discourage people standing in these places to turn switches on or off.

Get ADA-Compliant Fittings and Fixtures

To ensure that your bathroom is built according to code, you must also ensure that your fixtures and fittings are ADA-compliant. That’s why you must source all your fittings from a supplier that values compliance—a supplier like American Bath Enterprises, Inc.

If you’re looking for ADA-compliant fittings for your bathroom, get in touch with us at (888) 228-4925. We’ll be happy to help you with your bathroom remodel.