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Thread: Switch Toilet & Vanity Location? - PICS!

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    DIY Junior Member Eldemila's Avatar
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    Default Switch Toilet & Vanity Location? - PICS!

    I'm closing on this 1968 built home end of this month. One thing I don't like about it is the small master bathroom, not only because it's small, but the layout. Right at the doorway is the toilet.

    The current owners removed the door and put in an ugly accordian door. The way the bed will be in the room and with me sleeping on the left side, I'll be looking at the toilet, such a lovely view - worse off, DH can sit in there for a good hour and as much as I love him, it's just not what I'd like to wake up to in the mornings to see.

    So, I'd like to know, how complicated AND costly would it be to put the toilet where the vanity is and put a new vanity where the toilet is?

    I can tell you the house is built on a crawl space. I would think the move would be less than 3ft? I didn't get to measure the floorspace in there but I know the vanity is 41"w and the doorframe is 28"w if this could be of any help.

    If anyone has any ideas, or even alternate ideas, please post them. If you have a similar bathroom and have a pic, would appreciate the visual. My only alternative would be a pocket door, but not sure it can be done, the wall it would have to go in to has electrical on both sides and tile too.

    Thanks for any help, and Happy New Year to all!





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    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    Probably not going to be able to do that. The move of the drain pipes in the crawl space would be a lot of work, but it is very doable.

    BUT, there are code issues. Depending on your local codes, there has to be a minimum of 21 to 24 " clear floor space in front of the toilet. I think the shower is too close. For that matter, there are codes about clear floor space in front of the shower, for safe entry and exit, so I think you flunk on both counts.

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    DIY Junior Member Eldemila's Avatar
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    If I put in a compact toilet and it doesn't extend any farther out than the vanity does, wouldn't that be okay? Or, put in a smaller vanity, width wise and have a little more space from the wall the shower stall is on to where the toilet would be placed?

    Below is a pic of the space between he vanity and wall, sorry it's blurry.

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    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    There are no really "compact" toilets. Usually the differences in length are relatively small and would not be a significant help. You have to remember that 15" from the center of the toilet to each side is required by code. Spaces in front of the toilet and shower have already been noted. One thing you might consider is a pocket door. They are a real door and don't require swing room. Moving the plumbing is the least of your problems.

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    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    Right now...what is the measurement from the front of the vanity to the curb of the shower?

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    DIY Junior Member Eldemila's Avatar
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    Thanks for the input Gary. There wouldn't be a problem with the toilet being 15" either side, like I said, I wouldn't mind going a little smaller on the new vanity size. Also, with the pocket door, the wall it would have to go in to has an outlet on the bedroom side and a wall heater on the other side, similar to the one below (which is in the half-bath) While I wouldn't mind removing the heater, would need to keep the outlet on the other side. Also, not sure exactly what's involved when it comes to installing a pocket door - demo?

    Jimbo, honestly, I don't know what the measurement is, and won't know til the end of the month. Have to admit, I had no clue what a shower curb was, so had to look. At least through all this, I am learning some things I'm gonna guess by the picture I have, about 6"?

    Thanks guys!

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    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Yeah, pocket doors require pretty much a complete demo of the wall. You can't have very much in the portion of the wall the door will slide into which is like 32" plus to allow for framing. Often in a remodeling job, you have to get a bit creative with doors, outlets, and the like, but you still have to stay within building, plumbing, and electrical codes.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default toilet

    You could rotate the toilet 90 degrees and put it against the left hand wall facing out towards the lavatory. A 24" vanity cabinet, or a pedestal lav in the right hand corner would give plenty of space. HOW you do it, would depend on how the pipes are installed and the way the house is constructed.

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    General Contractor dx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eldemila View Post
    The current owners removed the door and put in an ugly accordian door.
    And why can't you put back the original door or one like it?

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    DIY Junior Member Eldemila's Avatar
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    Default Ideas Needed - More Info

    Thanks for all the replies, their appreciated.

    I have not done anything in this bathroom as of yet. I ended up closing, but almost didn't. Day before closing at walkthrough I found out the owners had the shower liner replaced, thus replacing the perfectly good vintage tiles in the stall that were not only terrible, but the tiling job is horrific! The tiles on the floor are not flat, and the tiles were only put up 3 rows, don't match and were shoved in to fit, thus, they sorta bow out. One tile on the 4th row was replaced too. I'd be ashamed to put my name on that job if I was a tile setter!

    Having been in the house 5 weeks cleaning and given time to think about ideas, I'm still not firm or concrete on anything. DH wants to keep the current layout with the toilet near the window and just tweak the floorplan I had first thought of by installing a compact elongated toilet, using a 36x19 vanity and doing a shower stall with by-pass shower doors and putting in a pocket door.

    My latest idea (they change) is to switch the toilet and vanity and keep everything else the same as above. I think doing it this way would allow me to use a longer vanity, be easier to get to the shower knobs to turn on the shower (they are located on the right) and possibly have more door options. Putting back the door as it originally was would take up precious floor space - the door opens in towards the vanity. Opening out to the bedroom would take up too much space.

    Here's a couple questions I do have. I was told, in these older homes that there may be some hidden inches within the walls. The tiles on the walls are very thick, so removing those will given me some space, as small as it may seem. A guy at Lowes said sometimes the way the walls were mudded up (or something to that effect) back then, if this is the case, you could possibly find a few inches to work with. Also, with removing the shower stall and getting rid of that curb putting in a pre-made shower liner, I would save about 3"-4" of floor space.

    I think if I could find a decent elongated compact toilet I would have the space to meet the requirements of being 21-24" away from the wall as mentioned above. I know currently the floorspace is 53" and that the current vanity is 22"D, which gives me 31" of space between the vanity and the wall, so if I can find a toilet that's 29" or less -that would leave me the 24" of space needed. Is my thinking correct? Would that be sufficient space to get in and out of the shower stall with the bypass doors?

    Oh, and one last issue. When we flush the toilet, the water pressure in either the sink or shower goes way down. Once the toilet stops filling (takes forever it seems) it comes back to normal. Even the shower head on it's own isn't forcefull enough. I changed it to a Speakman but it didn't make much difference. I did clean out any grit in the screen in the sink. Even had the water company come out to check the pressure, they said it was fine. Being it's an old house, is there anything one can do to help alleviate this problem? Would putting in a newer toielt help this issue, at least where the pressure goes down when we flush it. Any ideas on how to help the shower head pressure problem?

    Thanks in advance for any input. I'll be better with checking back for any and all answers. Being away for 5 weeks and coming home to find our computer crashed didn't help matters. New computer has issues from day one, (trying to resolve) but I'm hoping to be able to keep track of responses a bit better now.

    Thanks!!

  11. #11
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    A significant drop in pressure indicates too small pipes. this could be because they used small pipes when built, or it could be that they used galvanized steel piping, and it is now all rusting, and thus the inside is closed up so there is little flow possible. Even through a soda straw ID, the pressure can be great, but don't try to put out a fire, since the volume it can provide is too small. Even if your pipes are copper, they may have used some galvanized pipe nipples when attaching the valve. In 1968, they didn't generally use or have pressure balanced anti-scald valves, which are required today (well, anti-scald is - it can be done in several ways).

    You may want to check out www.johnbridge.com to discuss your tiling ideas. My personal preference is a tiled shower - I'd avoid a pre-made pan.

    If they tiled on a mudbed wall (still a premium way to do it but all they had not all that long ago), it could be a couple of inches thick under the tile. Doesn't need to be quite that thick, but it sometimes ends up that way. With today's techniques, you can build a decent shower with 1/2" material, then put up the tile which could make it thinner. you wouldn't know for sure until you started demo, but you can get a good idea if you know what to look for and how it lines up with the other walls. If the walls are plaster verses drywall, you could gut the entire room and gain an inch or so on each wall. Drywall will transmit sound better, which may not be the best thing for a bathroom, though!
    Jim DeBruycker
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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    DIY Junior Member Eldemila's Avatar
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    Thanks, appreciate the reply and the link to the tiling site. I have no way of knowing what the walls are made of, not my forte - I can't even cook, much less know about construction stuff, though I am reading and trying to educate myself. Would pipes need to be changed if they're clogged and is there some other things you can do before going to that extreme to try and look at to make sure it's not something else?

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    You could look under the kitchen sink and any exposed piping. Take a look where the water heater is, and maybe the washing machine as those pipes are often exposed. See if it is copper or some other pipe. If you are going to gut the bathroom, that would be a good opportunity to fix the water pipes as well. you may need to run new lines back to the WH and where ever the cold comes from. IF the house has galvanized piping, most people find they need to replace it. Yours is nearly over 40-years old...steel usually doesn't last all that long, even when it is galvanized; too many nicks that let rust start.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    Nuclear Engineer nukeman's Avatar
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    Your bathroom looks very similar to mine (also '68 vintage). Layout and color is different, but the tile, towel bars, countertop, etc. are very similar. I know my house is all copper (supply, drain, and vents) plumbing. The drains do transition into cast iron at the basement level. The walls are drywall, but I am unsure as how the wall beneath the tile is contructed.

    Under the floor tile, it was probably done with a wet bed. I know that the houses around me are like that (and also the reason why the tile still looks great after 40+ years). I was talking to a local handyman one day and he told me how he bid on a bathroom remodel for one of the neighbors thinking the tile was just suck on cement board or similar with some thinset. He got a surprise when he found that he needed to chip out a bed that was like 2" thick (with wire mesh), haul that off, and then build the floor back up so it would be level.

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    One who lurks Basement_Lurker's Avatar
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    Why don't you just shift the doorway to the left so that the opening is infront of the vanity. A pocketdoor would be best for this bathroom, but you could use a regular door and have it open towards the shower (would be slightly awkward until you got used to it). Either of those would be cheapest and quickest thing to do. Since you are in a crawlspace, you probably could shift the toilet piping, but most likely you would end up having to reinforce floor joists to do it.

    In regards to your water pressure problems, what did the water company read your pressure at? If the minute or two of pressure loss from flushing the toilet really bothers you enough, then you might consider upgrading to a low flow unit which would cut the refill time in half. It would certainly be cheaper than repiping, and you would save wasted drinking water.
    Broken promises don't upset me. I just think, why did they believe me? -Jack Handy


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