Important Space Planning Considerations For Your New Bathroom

Written by bprescottJanuary 29, 2012
An accessible bathroom

 Reviewing NKBA Planning Guidelines

The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA), a trade group of design professionals, suggests these planning guidelines for a safe and functional room for all to enjoy. When these people refer to "clearance space" around a fixture, it means the space required so that the fixture can be used with comfort and ease. Note that these clearance spaces in front of or around fixtures can overlap.

The following list gives you some basic clearance guidelines:

* Bathtub: It’s the biggest fixture in most bathrooms, so determining its location is key to good use of space.

  • For a standard tub, plan on a space 30 to 32 inches wide and 54, 60, or 72 inches long.
  • For a standard whirlpool tub, plan a space that is 36 inches wide by 72 inches long. Many shapes and sizes are available.
  • For clearance space in front of a tub, allow at least 30 inches.

* Sink: Customize the height of a vanity to suit the people who use it and allow for plenty of space around it.

  • A standard vanity is 30 to 32 inches high, but many people prefer it higher to eliminate bending down. Depending on the height of the user, anywhere from 34 to 42 inches is comfortable.
  • Allow for 30 inches between a double vanity, measuring from the center of one basin to the center of the other. However, if the sinks are wider than 30 inches, the minimum distance between them should be increased.
  • For clearance space in front of a vanity and sink, allow at least 30 by 48 inches of clear space.
  • The bottom edge of a mirror over the sink should be a maximum of 40 inches above the floor or a maximum of 48 inches above the floor if the mirror is tilted.
  • The minimum clearance from the centerline of the sink to any side wall is 15 inches.

* Shower stall: Make the shower experience enjoyable by sizing it to fit the bather and allowing floor space outside it for drying and dressing.

  • For the minimal size shower stall enclosure, allow a space at least 34 inches square.
  • For clearance space in front of the shower stall, allow a minimum of 30 inches.
  • Install shower heads at a height that is comfortable for the users. For example, for someone who is 5 feet 4 inches tall, the height of the shower head should be 72 inches; for a taller person, it should be higher. When one shower serves different height users, consider mounting two shower heads (at different heights), a hand-held shower head, or an adjustable shower head.
  • Install shower benches 17 to 19 inches high and at least 15 inches deep. If they’re built in, the shower must be large enough so the bench doesn’t encroach on the minimum 34-x-34-inch floor space.

* Toilet and bidet: Whether enclosed in a compartment or open in the room, consider their location in relation to the doors and other fixtures.

  • An enclosure for a toilet should be at least 36 inches wide and 66 inches deep and have a pocket or outward opening door. A door that opens into the toilet area isn’t recommended because the door can’t be opened in an emergency should the occupant faint or fall on the floor.
  • For clearance space in front of a toilet or bidet allow at least 48 inches by 48 inches, and 16 inches from the center of the fixture to the wall or other fixtures.

* Door openings: The all-important bathroom door takes up considerable space, so spend time considering the options.

  • The clear space at a doorway (measured at the narrowest point) should be at least 32 inches wide.
  • A clear floor space at least the width of the door on the push side and larger clear floor space on the pull side should be planned at doors for maneuvering to open, close, and pass through the doorway.
  • A minimum clear floor space of 30 inches by 48 inches is required beyond the door swing in a bathroom.

 


From ‘Bathroom Remodeling For Dummies’
Copyright © 2003 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

 

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