January 14, 2012

1 1 Thing You Must Do For Yourself & Your Illegal Toilet

Toilet; water closet; commode; porcelain throne; whatever you want to call it if your's is illegal it may have adverse health effects.  You may be thinking, what exactly is an illegal toilet.  Well, I'm not talking about a stolen toilet or even a high 'gallons per flush' count which is regulated by the EPA.  I'm talking about illegal by building code standards.

You may be surprised who sets the "illegal toilet" standard, well in this reference of illegal it isn't the State, but the Federal Government and the International Code Council.  The code calls for the center of a toilet to be a minimum of 15" from a finished wall.  The health effects?  Aches and pains from rubbing against the wall!

The toilet in our downstairs 1/2 bath was considered illegal; 12-1/2" to center.  I could have dealt with the fact I was breaking the law, but there was something more on my mind; brushing up against the wall every time someone wanted to use the bathroom.  This wasn't going to fly.  So why not move it?  No reason not to, so that's what we did!

After removing the existing toilet and plugging the hole with some wet rags (make sure you don't stuff them completely down the drain or you may lose them and have other problems), out came the floor. After installing new underlayment (only needed because we were renovating the entire room), I located the floor joists and realized why the toilet was illegal in the first place - a floor joist was running right underneath where the toilet should have been installed.  The original builder had to offset the toilet to the side of the joist in order to get the drain in.

So what is a guy supposed to do?  Here I have the original problem with no solution.  I can't remove the joist, or can I?  Well sort of.  In comes Metwood Building Solutions' "Joist Reinforcers"; the perfect code-approved product for my solution!  According to their website these "allow for the installation and/or repair of large diameter holes in floor joists for the passage of utilities."

Image courtesy of Metwood Building Solutions

I first went to Home Depot and found an offset toilet flange.  It's just what I needed to move the toilet over the joist, but still have the drain pipe in its original location (to the side of the joist).  I marked the outline of the Metwood Joist Reinforcer to know how much of the joist to cut out and went at it with a sawzall.  You can see how the offset flange veers toward the right (where it enters the hole) in the picture below.

After connecting the new with the old and making sure I kept some pitch on the horizontal drain, I screwed the flange to the floor and was ready to install the finished flooring.  You'll be able to see the flooring install in another post soon!

Then came the toilet installation and presto, my illegal toilet is now a modern elongated highline toilet and legal at 15-1/2".  No more brushing up against the wall!

Have you had to move anything during renovation?  What was it like?  Let us know!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the metwood.com link, exactly what I was looking for.


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