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Thread: Old plumbing - Do I need to update for toilet?

  1. #1

    Default Old plumbing - Do I need to update for toilet?


    I'm new to your forum, but I'm hoping someone can answer a few questions for me.

    My plumbing is from 1977 & the contractors that did the plumbing did a hellacious job of plumbing - cutting & gluing, rather than using threaded pipes in the walls & we're now beginning to replace, sink, tub, toilet, etc. & we're running into some tough problems. We've finally gotten the sink installed despite the awful plumbing, & next is the toilet....but I'm worried!

    Has the basic dimensions or drain hole distance changed since the '70's? I believe our existing toilet is an American Standard, not elongated, but I'm not sure. It's whatever they put in new houses in the 70's. I know it's one that uses a huge amount of water...not one of the low water usage ones.

    We're wanting to go with Toto or Gerber (more on Gerber in another post). I want something that will flush efficiently the FIRST time & be fairly quiet about it too! I am having a tough time deciding which brand & which feature I need, but the biggest question is definitely the plumbing.

    If anyone knows the issues I might be up against replacing this old toilet, please help me out.


  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    New England


    The first thing to check is the distance from the finished wall (not the baseboard) to the mounting bolts on the toilet. That is your rough-in dimmension. If you are lucky, it is 12". If it is much different than that, you may need to pick up a non-standard toilet. Nearly all of the ones you find in the store are designed for 12".

    If your plumbing is vented properly and the current toilet flushes without clogging up, then a well-designed, new, low-flow toilet should be an easy switch-over.

    Note, some of the toilets from Toto (the skirted ones) require the water supply line to be wider than the standard by a couple of inches. If you like that look and you are remodeling, then that may be a minor point.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3

    Smile Old plumbing

    Thank you for your quick response! I'll check out the distance. I had no idea what "12 rough in" meant & you've cleared that up for me.



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