Back Button

How to Measure Setback for Toilet

John Stevens J.D.

When installing a toilet in a room that does not have an existing toilet, determining the proper installation location is critical to ensure that toilet is accessible to everyone, particularly those that use the assistance of a wheelchair.

Spending just a few minutes measuring the proper setback prior to installation can significantly improve accessibility.

The distance between the walls and the toilet is commonly referred to as setback. A minimum setback of 18 inches is necessary to maximize the use of the fixture.

  1. Position the edge of a tape measure against the wall located behind the toilet, and mark a distance 18 inches away from the wall on the bathroom floor. This mark represents the distance the center of the toilet bowl must be from the wall.

  2. Measure 18 inches from the wall or object closest to one side of the toilet. Mark this measurement on the bathroom floor.

  3. Connect the two marks with a line. Use a straightedge to ensure that the line is straight. This line represents the available locations where you can install the toilet with the correct setback. Remember that the line provides the location of the center of the bowl, not the front of the toilet.