Every bathroom is set up differently, but there are a few things that should be kept constant. For example, you always know that the sink needs to be attached to the wall, the toilet paper roll should be at a certain height, and the door should have enough distance from the toilet so it does not run into it when opening.

Overall, you will need to make specific decisions, regarding your bathroom, based on your preferences. Purchasing a toilet is no different.

When installing a toilet, there is not a specific distance that the toilet tank should be from the wall. Whether your toilet is one inch from the wall or touching the wall directly, it is really up to your preference.

What determines whether or not the toilet touches the wall, is the rough-in measurement. If the rough-in is shorter, you will have space, if it is larger, it may touch the wall.

The Rough-In Measurement

When you choose a toilet, you have a choice between two different rough-in measurements. The rough-in measurement is the distance from the wall to the middle of the toilet flange.

If you are looking to measure your current toilet, it should line up with the center of the hold-down bolts. (When you have a toilet with two bolts on either side, you can measure the back bolt.)

When measuring from the lowest part of the wall, you should also take the thickness of the baseboard or molding into consideration. Try to measure directly from the wall.

The standard distance of a toilet rough-in is 12 inches. Despite this, most toilet designs can work with anywhere from 11 to 13 inches. If you have any more or any less you will need a specialty toilet. The only other models that exist out of this range would be a 10 or 14-inch rough-in model.

If you install a toilet with a smaller rough-in than your current model you may have a gap between the toilet and the wall. Longer rough-in measurement equates to being flush on the wall.

Choosing a Toilet

When choosing a toilet there are many different options to choose from. After deciding which rough-in measurement you will use, you will need to decide what you are looking for exactly, and what matters most to you as far as features.


In terms of design, you have the option of a one-piece, two-piece, or wall-mount design. Two-piece toilets are the most common. These have a separate bowl and tank. Typically you can buy these together or separately. If you purchase a two-piece toilet, it offers you more chances to find the features you are looking for.

One-piece toilets have the tank, bowl, lid and all other parts combined in one unit. The main advantage of choosing a one-piece toilet is that they hardly leak. They are also easier to clean because there are not as many small areas for dirt to hide. One-piece toilets are usually smaller, which can be a plus for small bathrooms or apartments.

These one-piece toilets are normally more expensive than two-piece options, and installing a one-piece toilet may be faster than installing a two-piece. The only downside to a one-piece toilet is that they are heavy, so you may need help with the installation.

The least common toilet design is a wall-mount. These are much more expensive than both of the other options and difficult to install. They can also become loose over time and may need more maintenance.

Bowl Type

There are two types of toilet bowls, elongated and round. Elongated bowls are usually two to three inches longer than round bowls. This extra length is in the front. Round bowls should never be larger than 28 inches, while elongated bowls can be as large as 31 inches.

Elongated bowls do take up more space, but offer advantages to the elderly and those with mobility issues. Because it is a bigger seat, ti can be more comfortable. You can compare an elongated bowl to a chair. It is also able to stay cleaner and keep odors in the bowl.

Some people also believe it is a more attractive looking toilet from a design standpoint. If you have a small bathroom, you may want to have a smaller bowl. This means the elongated, and more expensive, bowl may take up too much space.


Standard toilets should be around 15 inches from the seat to the floor. If you have mobility issues, you may want to choose a higher toilet. Sets of 17 inches are considered “comfort height”. To consider a toilet ADA compliant, the American Disabilities Act requires it to be at 17 inches.

Dual vs Single Flush

Toilets more than one-third of all of the water used in a home and in 1995, the Department of Energy standards limited new toilets to 1.6 gallons per flush. 1.6 gallons may actually be more than needed to clean the bowl. This is why dual-flush was invented.

If you have ever used a water-conserving toilet you may realize that it is not as appealing as one that wastes a bit more. Mainly because there is not enough water in the bowl when using it to cover your waste. The original method of saving water with a toilet was by reducing water in the bowl. New models have decided to let you choose.

In comes the dual-flush toilet. You can choose to use more water, 1.6 gallons, to flush your waste, or choose .8 gallons. Dual-flush toilets are a wonderful invention because they reduce water use by 25 percent compared to old water-conserving methods. This can equate to a 67 percent decrease in water usage in a home, as well as a lower water bill.

It is good to note that dual-flush models are more expensive than single-flush, and they also tend to clean the bowl less thoroughly. This means that you may need to clean it more often. The reward is a largely reduce water bill and a positive impact on the environment.

Gravity vs Pressure Toilets

Most toilets are gravity toilets. These toilets store water in a tank that is above the bowl, and when it is flushed, the water flows down by the way of gravity.

On the other hand, pressure-assisted toilets are somewhat newer. These look similar to a standard t toilet, but there is an inner tank within the main tank. This tank holds air, that holds the water under pressure. When it is flushed, the water is forced out of the tank at a high speed, and the pressure will depend on your water pressure.

Pressure toilets use less water than gravity toilets and also clean the bowl better. The problem with pressure toilets is they can be noisy, and also more expensive. Additionally, it can be difficult to find parts because they are not as common.

Related Questions

Can I change my toilet’s rough-in measurement?

If you are replacing an existing toilet, then you should try to replace it with a toilet that has the same rough-in measurement. If you do not, then a larger rough-in measurement will require you to change your plumbing configuration. Your only other option is to move the wall, or the toilet will not fit.