5 Building Codes for the Bathroom


When remodeling or completely gutting and replacing a bathroom, there’s more than just building permits, costs, and designs to think about. You also have to consider multiple building codes. Building codes are regulated by the local and state governments and differ from not only state to state, but also city to city. Failure to abide by these codes could eventually require that all your hard work and financial sacrifice be modified and that modification could be expensive along with possible fines that may be imposed. It is important to research your local building permits thoroughly before going forth with a bathroom remodeling adventure. Here are the codes to consider:

Bathroom Sink Codes:

There are minimum clearances and spaces that are determined by local regulators. All bathroom sinks should be 4-inches from the side walls, at minimum, and should also have at least 21-inches of front clearance. 2 separate sinks built next to each other also have to have a spacing of 4-inches or more. The 4-inch rule also applies to the spacing between the sink and the bathtub.

Shower and Bathtub Codes

Forget about building your tiny shower. The shower floor has to be a minimum of 30x30-inches. You can build a shower as big as you want, just be sure you remember the 4-inch rule regarding the sink. The shower and tub both need anti-scalding devices. This is a device that should be included even if it wasn’t mandated by a bathroom building code. Too many tragedies involving young child occur with scalding hot water surprisingly coming from the shower or bathtub faucet.

The shower door needs to have an opening clearance of at least 24-inches. So says the building code. This is because shower doors often are made of materials, such as glass, that can easily break and pose a danger.

Toilet Bathroom Building Codes

The front of the toilet needs to have at least 21-inches of clearance. Many cities and communities require the toilets to have water conserving devices. These are devices that allow the flusher to pull a certain way for fluid waste and another way for solid waste. More water is used for solid waste while less is used for fluid waste.

Electrical Building Codes

Electrical codes are extensive and you must abide by them for safety and civil responsibility in regards to electrical usage. Following electrical building codes will also save the homeowner or building owner money. Electrical codes are designed to prevent fire and death and injury from electrical shock. A person installing electrical wiring without following building codes will most likely be held liable in the event of a fire or shock due to faulty wiring.

Building codes regulating wiring may also require lights to be waterproof. Outlets will need to be ground fault current interrupter outlets, or GFCI outlets.

Plumbing Building Codes

Plumbing codes will regulate how waste water and sewage is handled and will be different in the urban setting from the suburban communities. Some communities require sewage to go to the city sewage line while others permit the use of septic tanks.