When designing and organizing a bathroom, functionality, and aesthetics aren’t the only factors that play a significant role. There are also certain regulations that must be respected so that the plumbing can work properly.
Whether you’ve moved into a new house where the toilet has already been installed, or you’re installing a new one, it is necessary to think about the placement of the toilet and its distance from the wall.
Both your comfort in the bathroom and the functionality of the toilet are important. Keep on reading if you want to fix a toilet too far from the wall.
Is Your Toilet Too Far From The Wall?
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Before deciding on any big changes in your bathroom, especially if they potentially have to do with plumbing and other functional elements, it is necessary to be aware of all the elements and processes this will affect.
If you have a toilet too far away from the wall, it is possible to move it to the desired location and create a better, more comfortable interior in your bathroom.
However, if you’re not experienced in these projects, or you’re not too familiar with bathroom elements and plumbing structures, perhaps it would be best to hire a professional. After all, the toilet is certainly one of the most important elements of your bathroom.
1. How flanges and piping work
One of the most important things to consider before moving a toilet is the toilet flanges. Also, it is necessary to understand how the flanges connect to the sewage system. Once you’ve got this figured out, you can think about one of the possible solutions – an offset flange.
Your toilet will have a hole for a pipe to enter, whether you’re connected to the city sewage system, or a sewage depository. The role of this pipe is to connect your toilet either to the city sewage or to the depository, and it is usually made of steel.
This steel pipe is used for most of the underground sewage system, and it is the main part of this underground scheme. However, a pipe that extends into your bathroom, connecting directly to the toilet, is usually a PVC pipe.
This is the pipe that enters your bathroom through the hole we mentioned before and, as opposed to the steel pipe that is positioned horizontally, this PVC pipe extends vertically, creating a connection between the toilet and the sewage system (either city or depository).
This connection between the toilet and the sewage system is actually one of the biggest concerns when it comes to moving your toilet. The slightest mistake in positioning the toilet onto the PVC pipe could lead to leaks and similar issues.
One of the most convenient and efficient ways to avoid these issues, and to position the toilet correctly so that it remains properly connected to the sewage system, is using a toilet flange, which we will explain below.
Unfortunately, if you have a big gap between the toilet tank and the wall and you want to move the toilet closer to the wall, a traditional flange won’t be of any help. This kind of flange resembles a funnel and it has holes for bolts that are secured to the bottom of the toilet.
2. How to determine the best toilet placement
While it is important to position the toilet as near to the drywall as you’d like, it is also vital to consider other factors that could affect the functionality. As we’ve explained, the location of the toilet should never compromise its connection to the sewage system.
If you’re moving your toilet, make sure there’s enough room on both the left and right sides, for your personal convenience. Having the toilet too close to the wall on either side will definitely compromise your comfort, which is the last thing you want in your bathroom.
The flange and the wall behind the toilet shouldn’t be too close, as this kind of positioning could affect the functionality of the plumbing mechanism and the waste pipe, which is of utmost importance.
Also, there should be enough space in front of the toilet. Otherwise, it could be rather difficult to use the toilet. You have to consider all your family members and/or potential guests when arranging the bathroom unless it is your private bathroom that you can adjust to yourself.
Another functional factor to take into consideration is the location of the cold-water line. As you already know, it is necessary for the toilet to be connected to this line, so you don’t want to position it too far, as this would create a big aesthetic and functional issue.
What’s more, you need to consider the positioning and opening direction of your door. An inswing door could be an issue if the toilet is positioned too close to it. Make sure to leave enough room for the door to open properly without hitting the toilet.
If we’re talking numbers, the ideal placement of the toilet entails a 15” distance between the toilet bowl center and the wall behind the toilet as well as the side walls. Also, the proposed toilet distance from the wall facing the toilet is 24”.
Finally, make sure the toilet is at least 30” away from bidets and urinals.
How to move a toilet closer to the wall
Now that you’ve taken all the important factors into consideration, as well as the necessary distance between the toilet and the walls, you can proceed to reposition a toilet too far away from the wall.
While we’ve shared some of the proposed measurements when it comes to the distance from the toilet to the wall, keep in mind that every bathroom is different, and every plumbing system is unique.
However, if you live in a building, it is necessary to comply with local regulations regarding the positioning and the distance of your toilet. House owners, on the other hand, do not have to worry about these requirements.
Nevertheless, in both cases, it is necessary to consider the installation specifications, as well as the positioning of the sewage pipe connecting the toilet to the sewage system. As we’ve explained, even the slightest issue in the positioning could cause a leak or a bigger issue.
In this guide, we will tackle the two best ways to fix the gap between the toilet and the wall and safely relocate your toilet.
Method #1: Use an offset flange
Using an offset flange to shorten the distance from toilet to wall is definitely the quickest, easiest method out of the two we will be mentioning. The role of an offset flange is precisely to allow the toilet to be moved several inches, regardless of the direction.
This kind of flange is usually shaped like a miniature tuba, and it will create a barrier between the main drainage pipe and your toilet. With a traditional flange, the toilet is stuck in one place and cannot be moved without changing the location of the pipe itself.
If the positioning of the toilet isn’t fixed, as it would be with a traditional flange, this means you’ll be able to move the toilet a bit in any direction, without interrupting its connection to the main drainage pipe, which is the most important factor.
Here are the steps to installing an offset flange:
- Before installing the offset flange, it is important to protect your bathroom floors as you would in any other bathroom project. Use newspapers, towels, or old rugs to cover the floors entirely and protect them against any damage.
- Find a valve that controls the water supply to your toilet and turn it off before starting any work on your toilet. In case the water is still running even after you’ve turned this valve off, you may need to shut off the main water supply.
- Flush the toilet to empty the bowl. Since this will not be enough to remove all the water from the bowl, you will need to siphon it out using a vacuum, large sponge, or a large cloth that will absorb it completely.
- Detach the water supply hose from the toilet. If it is impossible to complete this manually, you may want to use a wrench to loosen the hose and remove it. There will be some water in the hose, so make sure to have some towels prepared.
- The next step is to remove the toilet from the floor. You will do so by removing the bolts and nuts that keep the toilet secured to the floor using a socket wrench. Remove the toilet and set it aside. Make sure you have some help for this step!
- If you’re switching to an offset flange from a traditional flange, you will probably need to shorten the top of the sewage pipe using a drill-like file to prepare it for installing an offset flange.
- Using an old cloth or a towel plug the sewage pipe to stop the sewage gases from spreading into your house. Remove the old flange using a chisel and a hammer.
- Remove the plug from the sewage pipe and install the offset flange by bending it so that the opening is closer to the wall. Position it as close to the wall as you’d like, keeping in mind all the factors we’ve discussed.
- It is important to make sure that the flange opening is perfectly connected to the waste pipe. Add a rubber gasket to secure this connection, and set the flange into place by adding bolts into its openings.
- Position your toilet back into place by aligning the openings on the toilet base with the bolts of the offset flange.
- Reattach the water supply hose and turn on the toilet’s water supply and the main water supply in case you had to turn it off, too.
Method #2: Relocate the waste pipe
Even though this is an acceptable solution, it should be the last option you resort to, since it is rather extreme and expensive. If you’re only looking to move your toilet a few inches closer to the wall, we wouldn’t recommend going through the entire process of relocating the pipe.
On the other hand, if you’d like to relocate the toilet altogether and have it moved to another part of the bathroom, this is something that needs to be done. As for solving the problem of the toilet being too far from the wall, you should simply use the offset flange.
In case you decide to go with this option, it is necessary to remove not only the toilet but the subfloor and the slab around the toilet. Also, you will need to change the direction of the plumbing pipes.
As you can tell, this kind of task is definitely a job for a plumber and not something that would be considered an easy DIY project.