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How to Measure for Commercial Toilet Installation

Understanding the principles and building code regulations when choosing a toilet is crucial for a successful installation. Once you decide on a toilet design and have your facts, you’re set to go. Hiring local contractors will also keep you abreast of OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) requirements.

Residential, business, or office toilets follow the same installation basics with subtle differences. Here is how to measure the space allotment for the toilet, seat, tank, and stall partitions. 

Here we also highlight essential details that might impact toilet buying decisions. Working with an expert contracting advisor is a great way to get it done right.

Getting Started

As with any task, beginning with the right tools and ideas is essential in getting the job done right and saving time.

Have Access To:

  • A quality measuring tape, a notepad, and a pen
  • Measuring the components of a toilet
  • Understanding the trade term ‘rough-in’ dimensions

Toilet Components Simplified:

  • Tank or cistern
  • Seat
  • Bowl
  • Base (attached to drain, floor flange)
  • Inlet hose, fill valve
  • Flush valve
  • Wax ring seal

How to Measure for Standard Toilet Rough-ins

Installing a toilet requires a basic knowledge of the rough-in dimensions. Without this correct measurement, many things can go wrong. A toilet rough-in spec is the distance from the bolts that attach the toilet to the floor (flange) and the wall (not the baseboard). 

Take this measurement from the center of the bolt (on a toilet) to the drywall. Measure the bolts at the back for toilets (usually two for the flange and two for the floor). Before getting started, measure to make sure your space accommodates 12” (most common) 14” or 10” rough-in dimensions.

Make sure you have 15” one each side of the toilet between a wall and or a vanity.

Before removing an outdated toilet, ensure your new choice fits the space. Getting the rough-in measurements before moving the old toilet is a great way to get the correct dimensions.

Corner toilets

Although corner toilets are less common, they serve a space-saving purpose in small closet-like spaces. Opting for a corner toilet may save a few additional inches allowing room to incorporate a shower, vanity, or laundry facility.

Corner toilets typically feature a triangular-shaped toilet tank and fit diagonally into the corner. This triangular tank saves space and uses vital corner voids in confined rooms. Adding a two-piece bath to a home typically increases resale value.

Corner toilets are readily available from your local building supply store or online.

How to Measure for Corner Rough-ins:

Start the measuring point on the rear center corner for corner rough-ins until it meets the bolt position. Read the measurement from the wall to bolt and not the baseboard, plumbing, or other wall obstructions (or adjust for the molding and obstruction width in your calculations). 

An accurate measurement reading is from the wall to the flange outlet (drain hole) and reads between 10” to 14” for a proper fit.

Tip: Always measure twice. Always test door swing and body maneuverability for tight spaces to maximize space and accessibility.

Essential Measurement Principles

Toilet installations take a few precise measurements. Always consult OSHA guidelines to meet specifications to accommodate employee and accessibility (wheelchair) standards for commercial toilets.

Required Measurements:

  • The measurement from wall to floor mount (bolts)
  • Toilet bowl width at the widest
  • Seat height from floor 

Partition Considerations:

  • Distance from the wall (cubicle space: length, width, height)
  • Stall door width, height, (swing allowance)
  • Cubicle wall and post specs

Knowing how to measure a residential or commercial bathroom with or without the advice of a contractor is very helpful in the design stage of a building or renovation project. Residential and commercial toilets should meet specific standards.

Choosing the Right Toilet for the Space and Purpose

Standing in your favorite home building supply store or cruising online toilet websites is not exciting. The consumer toilet market is convoluted with many choices. Toilets are no longer utilitarian components. They’re water-efficient and stylish appliances in our homes and commercial buildings.

Toilets by Type: One or Two-piece Models

Most toilets consist of two pieces: the tank and floor-mounted toilet bowl. Two-piece sets are typically more affordable and installed in most residences.

One-piece toilets are often luxury models with a stylish appeal and added features. One-piece toilets are easy to clean and offer consumers a unique design element. Commercial one-piece toilets often have invisible tanks mounted inside the wall.

For anyone considering wall-hung toilets, ensure you have the parameters for plumbing and wall support. Wall-hung toilets have unique requirements and are not suitable for all spaces.

Flushometer-valve toilets are commercial-type toilets used in public restrooms like theaters, stadiums, office buildings or other high-volume traffic facilities. These toilets are often sensor self-flush models with a bowl and flushometer valve.

Tip: A key consideration when shopping for toilets includes what components come in the box. Not all toilet sets come complete with all the parts. Make sure you have: a toilet seat, wax ring (attaches to flange), bolts, decorative caps, and tank flushing components.

Toilet Bowls by Design 

round-toilet-bowl

Toilet bowls follow simple round or oval (elongated) design principles. Round bowls are inexpensive, ideal for space-restricted rooms, and measure two inches less than their oval counterparts.

When measuring your rough-in dimension, keep this design principle in mind. Two inches may not sound like much space, but it can make the difference between being able to open a door and having proper access to other amenities in the defined room.

Standard of Comfort Heights

Standard toilets measure between 14” to 15” in height from floor level, not including space allowances for toilet seats (ergonomic or disability height) may vary height requirements. Children and individuals of small stature benefit from standard height toilets

Comfort height toilets meet ADA (Americans with Disability Act 1990) qualifications and are taller to make accessing a bathroom easier for individuals that require assistance. Elderly, taller, and otherwise incapacitated individuals also prefer taller toilet heights. Comfort height toilets measure between 17” to 19” from the floor (not including seats). 

Oval or Elongated Toilet Bowls Traditional Round Toilet Bowls

The shape of your toilet isn’t just about the design appeal. Round toilet bowls were the first type to enter the conventional home and were a vast improvement over the traditional outhouse toilet or antique potty commode. Space allowance and design preference are significant factors in deciding one shape over the other.

Oval or elongated bowls are sleek and modern in appearance. Most users also prefer the oval shape for comfort. 

Additional benefits of oval bowls are that they are more user-friendly for men, children, and people with disabilities. 

The longer profile of oval-shaped toilet bowls makes them unusable in smaller confined spaces and may impede doorways and safety standards. Always double-check your measurements to ensure your area can accommodate a larger toilet bowl.

A round toilet bowl works as well as an elongated bowl. It’s all about aesthetics and the available space. Some models of traditional round toilets might also be cheaper but may not be as durable as better quality, higher standard toilets in the long run.

The real bonus of round bowl toilets is that they have a smaller floor profile, making them suitable for tight closet-like bathrooms.

Additional Features in Toilet Bowl Designs

Sanitary bars are a feature in a two-piece model that prevents liquid from pooling under the tank.

A trapway or toilet trap is the molded ceramic channel on the toilet's base that connects the toilet drainpipe to the flushing port inside the toilet bowl. This snaked feature reduces overflow and potential clogging.

Toilet Seat Measurements

Toilet seats are not one size fits all. Toilet seat measurements and shapes should fit your particular toilet bowl shape.

Round seats are standard and fit smaller toilets. If you choose the incorrect dimension and shape, you won’t be able to mount it correctly. It will cause tipping when sitting.

Elongated oval seats are comfortable and oblong. They will not fit a round toilet.

Open front seats are typical in public washrooms and come in a molded shape resembling a U. The opening prevents genitals and urine from contact for sanitary reasons.

Children’s toilet training seats prevent the seat from sliding and the child from falling into the bowl. They are a valuable tool in toilet training and can accommodate adults.

Raised or medically necessary toilet seats are ideal additions to standard toilet types for individuals in mobility-challenged circumstances. These seats are readily available at health and wellness supply stores. They often require additional bars to make rising from the toilet easier.

To measure the correct fit, measure the bolts that attach the seat to the toilet. The distance between the two bolts determines what type of seat will fit—a standard fit measures 5.5” between holes.

The subsequent measurement is the bowl width from the broadest part of the rim. Additionally, measure the dimension of the bowl length. This measurement starts at the center of the bowl front, to the back center (seat hinges). As a rule, standard round seats measure 16.5,” and oval bowls measure 18.5”.

Toilet Tanks and Flushing Mechanisms

Not all toilets are created equal. Modern toilet flushing mechanics take water consumption seriously. Toilets are now equipped with flushing control options to conserve water. Standard toilet tanks meet industry tank capacity requirements. 

Regardless of design and function, the flush lever activates the flush valve. These design principles can influence the type of toilet best suited for particular installments.

The flush valve is inside the water tank and opens when the flush lever activates it and releases a specific amount of water into the blow to clear waste. Some toilet tank flush valves have a higher mounted setting and require more water per flush per their design.

Flush levers activate the flush by raising the internal flap or the old-fashioned ball cock handle mechanism. These handles are mounted on the toilet tank side or the lid and made of chrome or chrome-like coated features.

Types of Flush Mechanics:

A dedicated home renovation or building contractor can easily recommend a flush mechanism for you. They will understand the key benefits of each type. However, information is power in making significant improvements or changes.

Gravity flush toilets are typical flush-mechanized toilets found in residential and commercial applications. Instead of air pressure, gravity toilets rely on the water weight in the tank to flush. The weighted pressure moves waste through the trapway channels. Gravity flush is a simple, maintenance-free system that operates quietly.

Pressure flush toilets use pressurized air to force water into the bowl. They require maintenance but move waste efficiently with less water. These powerful pressurized toilets are ideal in low-water environments. They tend to create louder flushing noises.

Dual flush water conservation toilets are a water-saving toilet mechanism. Dual flush allows for complete 1.6-gallon flushing or less, for partial flushes at 1.1-gallons. In water-restricted areas, dual flush toilets are becoming increasingly popular.

Compostable waterless toilets are dry toilets that need little water or no water. Instead of removing waste into a plumbing system connected to a network of sewer lines, compostable toilets use a biological composting process. Compostable toilets are ideal for off-grid, water-access restricted areas. Compostable toilets follow a different design principle to move human waste.

Wall-Mounted vs. Floor-Mounted Toilets

Complex wall-mounted toilets are a beautiful design feature in many high-end homes. Installing a wall-mounted toilet requires initial planning in the building phase to accommodate the necessary plumbing. Extensive refurbishing and re-plumbing will impact costs if they’re an afterthought or renovation project.

However, a qualified installer or renovation expert can talk clients through the necessary modifications. 

There’s no doubt wall-mounted toilets are sleek and modern. Floating commodes (a fancy word for toilet) create a visual appeal that designers and homeowners desire. 

Wall-mounted toilets are available in standard color choices or custom varieties. While most consumers choose vitreous china in white or ivory, they’re available in shatter-proof stainless steel (think prison movies) and resin metals.

These unique and appealing toilets have four parts: wall tank, flushing actuators, bowl, and seat.

Wall-mounted toilets are also unique in that their height is adjustable upon installation according to desired specs. This feature is ideal for those with individual mobility requirements.

Pros:

  • Require less space
  • Tank is incorporated into the wall space
  • Easy to clean underneath (sweeping and mopping)
  • Adjustable height at installation
  • Look modern and uncluttered
  • Dual flush options

Although wall-hung toilets have many benefits, additional considerations may impact the decision. Choosing a model with an access panel is a wise investment.

Cons:

  • Typically more expensive
  • Installation is more labor-intensive
  • Extra construction material required
  • Requires additional wall space to house the tank
  • For retro-fit wall-mounted toilets, a faux wall might be necessary to conceal the tank and accommodate additional toilet requirements
  • Limited access to toilet tank after installation
  • Requires additional plumbing planning
  • Periodic adjustments to secure wall-mounting bolts after frequent use are essential

Floor-mounted Traditional Toilets

Most homes and commercial buildings use floor-mounted toilets. These toilets are practical, durable, user-friendly, and easy to install.

Most floor mounts are the classic tank and bowl set. Others are single units that come as one piece: tank and bowl are attached during the manufacturing process.

Floor models are bolted to the floor once the flange and sealer are in the correct position and connect to the toilet base. Attaching the toilet to the flange isn’t tricky. The proper placement of the wax seal is essential to prevent leakage, which can damage a home.

Pros:

  • Readily available at an affordable price
  • Easy to install and maintain
  • Accessible components for repairs and replacements
  • Many color and design options
  • Suitable styles for any decor

Floor-mounted models are practical in residential and commercial applications as long as they meet building codes and water conservation restrictions. They don't have many drawbacks.

Cons:

  • Require additional space to accommodate tank and bowl
  • Not as sleek and modern in design 
  • It might be awkward to clean beneath the tank (not really)
  • So many choices

Water Usage Laws

Toilets fall under federal laws and must meet the preset water use standards. New toilets can’t flush more than 1.6-gallons of water (GPF). To conserve water, look for toilets with the EPA (US Environmental Protection Agency) WaterSense® designation.Toilets under the WaterSense label meet strict flushing guidelines. 

WaterSense toilets use 20-60% less and converse 13,000 gallons of water per home annually.

Commercial toilets and urinals must meet specific federal energy management program requirements. Always consult your local building code requirements before installing commercial toilet facilities for additional guidelines.

Alternative Sanitary Fixtures

Urinals are wall-mounted and often found in commercial settings. Urinals are naturally water efficient at removing liquid human waste. Specific wall attachment and plumbing considerations must meet specifications before installation.

Bidets are commonly found in European homes and are steadily becoming more popular in the American toilet fixture market. Bidets used to be separate stand-alone fixtures but now come amalgamated into one stylish bathroom fixture with added personal cleansing benefits.

Bathroom Partitions and Cubicles

Any quality builder will have a clear grasp on bathroom partitions and the planning guidelines that conform with local building codes for public and commercial facilities.

Partition walls are the foundation of providing privacy and form cubicle stalls. Saving space is always an essential factor in designing public bathrooms.

Bathroom hardware can only work efficiently if the stall space can accommodate them. Each commercial washroom facility must meet the required guidelines devised by ADA standards. All facilities must comply or face fines, lawsuits, revamping costs, or accidents.

To spare the cost of improper facilities, read ADA guidelines before implementing designs or retrofitting public washrooms. Standards may change.

Summary of ADA and OSHA Requirements

The number of required toilets directly correlates to the number of employees. Small businesses with fewer than 15 staff must provide one private, lockable, unisex bathroom.

As the number of staff increases, the number of toilets must also rise and accommodate all genders.

  • Two toilets for 15 to 35 staff
  • Three toilets for 36 to 55 staff
  • Four toilets for 56 to 80 staff
  • Five toilets for 81 to 110 staff
  • Six toilets for 111 to 150 staff
  • An additional toilet for every 40 additional staff if that number exceeds 150.

Every inch of space becomes an important consideration for more extensive facilities that must provide more bathroom stalls.

Cubicle stall partitions must provide a lockable door, separate the toilets, and include access to privacy.

Each bathroom must also provide hand washing stations, including sinks with running water, soap, and hand drying material.

Accessibility for disabled individuals must include enough space for wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, grab bars, and flush controls. Wheelchair accessibility means providing enough space that leaves 56 inches surrounding the mounted toilet. 

Some states do not enforce these restroom accessibility laws. Always inform yourself about building codes.

Urinals make it convenient for staff to access facilities, but they do not meet OSHA requirements for requested toilets on site. You must meet two-thirds of the prescribed bathrooms according to the requisite.

Measuring Bathroom Partition Walls

Measuring and planning bathroom wall partitions isn’t complicated. Simply measure the back wall, the pilasters, and the door.

  • Back wall measurements include wall width, length (from door to back wall) and the height of partition wall
  • Measure width and height of pilasters
  • Measure your door width and height (consider hinges)

About Pilasters:

Pilasters are the frame support of bathroom stalls. Pilasters are mounted to the flooring and include a headrail to brace the weight and movement. Both sides of a door have pilasters and support the hinge placement.

Step by Step Partition Measurements

Measuring is always an essential step in creating a public restroom. Commercial washroom facilities usually follow a recessed, corner, or alcove layout. While there is uniformity in most public washrooms and ADA guidelines, there are no standard dimensions.

Required Dimensions:

  • Wall to wall (side to side)(entire width regardless of the number of stalls)
  • Side wall to partition or divider wall panel
  • Door space
  • Back wall surface to front (door) wall
  • Stall width (divided into required bathroom number)

Alcove washrooms don’t require side wall or center line measurements. Corner layouts require a precise measurement from the center line and outside panel.

Helpful Hints When Planning your Cubicle Bathroom:

It all starts in the design phase. A good starting point is understanding how many cubicles stalls the building code or ADA guidelines require.

  • Make a rough sketch of your plans and leave room to record your measurements.
  • Start measuring the back wall in its entire length that will facilitate the cubicle stalls.
  • Measure from the back wall to where the door is.
  • Measure the partition height & length.
  • Note where the door will close and open (ensure it doesn’t hit the toilet). 
  • Measure the pilasters (posts) and note them in your measurements.
  • Include the dimensions of your doors and add them to your list of measurements.
  • Make sure all the numbers add up and match your original measure details (incorrect measurements will result in unusual gaps and improper door closures).
  • Make measurement allowances for urinal partition walls.

A qualified home or commercial contractor can quickly provide expert measurements and design a washroom facility to meet commercial and residential requirements.

Partition Wall Material Choices

Partition walls come in three main material choices and can significantly impact designs and the cost.

Powder-coated walls are an inexpensive solution.

  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Easy to clean
  • Secure
  • Impervious to grease, acids, mars, and stains

Laminated partition walls are versatile materials available in various colors and patterns. 

  • Engineered bonded finish
  • Dependable, durable, customizable
  • Water-resistant and impenetrable edging
  • Affordable

Solid plastic walls are more expensive for several reasons.

  • Super durable and long-lasting
  • Resistant to common corrosive cleaning chemicals
  • Prevent moisture buildup and mold
  • Graffiti resistant 
  • Ideal for public toilets and shower rooms
  • Rust and dent proof
  • Large color selection

Conclusion 

Installing toilets and partition walls isn’t rocket science, but it’s still imperative that the job is done correctly. We rely on toilets more frequently than rockets, and hiring a certified professional is the way to go to save money and hassles.

 

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