Should The Back Of The Toilet Touch The Wall? (EXPLAINED)

The toilet is the prime fixture of any bathroom, so it should be placed for easy access.

And while every bathroom is set up differently, when it comes to the placement of a toilet, there are certain regulations that you must consider to ensure the plumbing works properly.

So, Should The Back Of The Toilet Touch The Wall?

Well, there is no specific distance that toilets ought to be from the back wall. However, most toilets are often built against walls to connect them to the plumbing that supplies flushing water. Typically, the distance between the toilet and the back wall is measured using the toilet flange, and 12 inches from the center of the toilet flange to the back wall is the standard distance.

When installing a toilet, what determines whether or not the fixture will touch the walls is the rough-in.

See Also: What Are The Differences Between Cheap And Expensive Toilets?

Apparently, a toilet with a larger rough-in will most likely touch the wall, while those with a short rough-in may leave a gap between the back wall and the fixture.

Before installing your toilet, you also want to check local building codes to ensure compliance.

Whether you plan to install a toilet, redesign your bathroom, or just learn more about how toilets should be placed, this post will comprehensively cover more about the placement of this vital bathroom fixture.

Does A Toilet Need To Be Placed Against The Back Wall?

Functionality and aesthetics are not the only factors to consider when designing a bathroom. You also want to consider access for routine cleaning while ensuring compliance with local building codes.

In an effort to ensure your toilet is up to standard, you might be wondering whether or not your toilet needs to be against the wall. So, should your toilet be against the wall?

There is no standard distance a toilet should be from the wall; it is a matter of personal preference.

Some people like it when their toilets touch the wall, while others want a clearance of about 1″ to 2″ between the toilet tank’s top and the back wall.

For easy access when cleaning, a toilet should have a reasonable amount of clearance on all sides.

While toilets touching the back wall are still common, many modern toilets have a small gap behind them. Here is why.

Older toilets were designed with larger tanks, and it was standard to install the toilet flange 12″ from a finished wall on the bathroom floor.

See Also: Can A Toilet Fall Through The Floor?

This distance allowed the larger tanks to fit snugly against the wall. While drainpipes are still placed 12″ from the wall, newer 10″ toilets are gaining popularity.

If you have a 12″ rough-in, it is obvious a 10″ toilet will leave a gap between its top and the wall.

Of significance, the distance between a toilet and the back wall is measured from the center of the toilet flange. 12″ is the most common rough-in distance, but it could range from 10 to 14 inches.

Most importantly, before installing your toilet, take a look at local building codes and ensure the measurements and installation conforms with the codes.

Remember that a toilet should have a minimum clearance of 15″ from the wall flanking it and a 21″ clearance to the wall in front of the fixture.

Also, a toilet should be at least 30 inches from other sanitary fixtures.

What Should You Do If Your Toilet Is Far From The Wall?

When designing your bathroom, anything that seems aesthetic to the room shouldn’t be something to worry about.

For instance, if your toilet has a gap behind it and you are comfortable with how the bathroom looks, moving it would be totally unnecessary.

On the other hand, if your toilet is far from the wall and the configuration is affecting the bathroom’s functionality or aesthetics, you can always have it fixed by an expert.

However, before performing any changes, it is imperative to consider all the effects of the project and associated costs.

See Also: How Often Should You Flush An Unused Toilet?

This is vitally important, considering that any remodels and repairs that have to do with plumbing and other functional elements in the bathrooms can be very costly.

Two Things To Understand Before Hiring A Contractor

If moving your toilet will make the bathroom better and more comfortable while enhancing aesthetics, here are some key things to understand before calling your contractor.

1. How Flanges And Piping Work

The toilet flange is the fitting that connects your toilet to the drainage system and keeps the fixture firm to the finished floor.

If you plan to move your toilet, this connection is the biggest concern, as even the slightest mistake can result in leaks and nasty consequences.

Before everything else, you want to plan properly to make sure moving the toilet won’t expose your house and your family to any major risks.

An offset flange might be ideal for you if the gap between your toilet and the back wall is big

. Offset flanges are designed to move a toilet up to 2″ without compromising the connection to the drainage system.

2. How To Determine The Best Toilet Placement

Where you place your toilet, and other functional elements, affect the overall functionality of your bathroom.

Along with making sure that moving your toilet won’t affect how it drains, you want to be keen not to hurt the functionality of your bathroom.

See Also: Should The Toilet Flange Be Flush With The Tile Floor?

Adjusting your toilet’s position so that it touches the back wall can potentially affect the plumbing mechanism, which is very important.

You also want to pay attention to the location of the cold-water line, as placing the toilet far away can easily degrade aesthetics.

In most cases, an offset flange should be enough to address the issue of a gap behind a toilet without compromising the bathroom’s functionality.


A toilet does not necessarily need to touch the back wall. In fact, it is normal for toilets to have a gap of up to 2 inches behind them.

If you are remodeling your bathroom and are contemplating the pavement of your toilet, hopefully, this post gives insights into the issue and will help you install your toilet properly.