Toilet Flange Too Close To Wall

How Close Can a Toilet Flange Be To A Wall? ( Answers )

Your bathroom design begins with your toilet, which is any bathroom’s centerpiece, so picking the proper installation position is essential. In order to install your toilet, you will need to leave some space between the toilet flange and the wall, and having it too close to the wall can be problematic. 

Having the toilet flange too close to the wall can lower water supply and water flow, making it hard for the water to fill the toilet. The result is a toilet that is hard or impossible to flush, and that not only renders it unhygienic but also unappealing. 

Fortunately, you can easily solve this problem and transform your toilet into a fully operational fixture in your bathroom. 

How Close Can a Toilet Flange Be To A Wall

Generally, you should leave a gap between the flange and the wall, but it doesn’t have to be huge. The purpose of this space is to facilitate an accurate construction of the commode.

It ensures a sufficient supply of water and water flow, thus making sure your toilet tank always has ample water supply to flush your toilet. Moreover, it makes it possible to install the toilet since it provides space for the toilet tank.

Your toilet tank shouldn’t be in direct contact with your bathroom wall, so make sure you follow the recommended dimensions before installation.

See also 3 inch inside fit toilet flange

The distance between the toilet flange center and the back wall should be 12 inches. However, you must also consider the back wall’s thickness, so if you have ½ inch drywall, you’ll need to add ½ more inches to the distance, making it 12 ½ inches.

You will need to add more inches if you have thicker drywall. Remember that the thicknesses of other materials such as mortar and mosaic tile are different than drywall.

For example, the thicknesses of mortar and mosaic tiles are 1/8 inches and 3/8 inches, respectively. 

To get accurate rough-in measurements of your toilet, measure the distance with a tape measure, measuring from a finished wall, not a base molding. It’s worth noting that while the standard rough-in is 12 inches, some toilets have 14 inches and 10 inches rough-in, so confirm that beforehand. 

The distance between the toilet flange and a nearby fixture or sidewall should be at least 15 inches. Therefore, ensure you have a minimum distance of 15 inches from the shower, vanity, sidewalls and back, and bathtub.

Don’t forget to add a few inches to the overall length based on your drywall thickness. 

See also How to fix toilet flange below tile 

How Do You Fix A Toilet Too Far From The Wall

Once you figure out that your toilet flange is too close to the wall, you will need to work on a solution. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

  1. Get The Right Offset Flange

A traditional flange will not work if you want to move it forward to accommodate the toilet tank. This is because it vertically extends from the sewer pipe to the toilet bottom, so your toilet will stay anchored in the same position if you replace your old traditional flange with a standard flange.

However, an offset flange lets you move your toilet multiple inches forward, backward, or sideways. Unlike the traditional funnel-shaped flanges, the offset flange’s wide mouth resembles a miniature tuba.

The design of an offset flange keeps the toilet from sitting directly above the primary drainage pipe.

  1. Lay Newspapers And Towels On Your Bathroom Floor

It’s your responsibility to protect your bathroom floor from scratches and damages from installing an offset flange, so line newspapers and towels on the floor. This will also prevent water damage and make the cleanup job much more manageable. 

  1. Turn Off The Toilet’s Water Supply

The toilet shouldn’t be receiving water when performing this repair, so turn off the valve found on your toilet’s right or left side. You can also switch the whole house’s water supply if necessary. 

  1. Empty The Toilet Bowl And Tank

Flush the toilet to empty the tank and flush again to drain the water on the bowl. You may also need to siphon out any remaining water using a large sponge, a large towel, or a wet vac. 

  1. Disconnect The Water Supply Hose

The braided metal-made water supply hose runs between the toilet tank and the shutoff valve. Loosen the hose by turning it anticlockwise against the coupling found on the underside of the tank.

While you can do it by hand, you may need a crescent wrench or adjustable pliers to loosen it

  1. Remove The Floor

Detach your toilet from the bathroom floor by popping the tiny plastic caps at the toilet base. You will then need to loosen the nuts using a socket wrench, turning them anticlockwise.

Although your new flange will come with washers, bolts, and nuts, keep your old ones just in case you will need them. Lift the toilet and carefully set it on the newspapers and towels.

  1. File Down The Sewer Pipe

This step isn’t necessary when using a traditional flange, but when installing an offset closet flange, you will need it. Due to the slight curve offset flange, the backing connecting it to the sewer pipe must be longer to allow proper fastening and avoid leaks. 

This makes the flange extend a bit above the floor; hence you will likely need to remove a few inches off the sewer pipe top that joins the flange. Doing this by hand is time-consuming and complex, so use an electronic.

  1. Plug the Drain Pipe With A Towel Or An Old T-shirt

Stuff a towel or an old t-shirt into the drainpipe to keep sewer gases from flowing into your home and prevents things from dropping into the pipe. 

  1. Remove The Old Toilet Flange

While some closet flanges come off easily, you will likely need a chisel and hammer to remove them, especially if the toilet has been there for a long time. Be careful when removing it to protect your sewage pipe. 

  1. Install The Offset Flange

Once you remove the old flange and the towels or t-shirt used to block the sewage pipe, it’s time to install the new flange. Since you need to create more space between the toilet flange and wall, you will need to position the offset flange appropriately. 

Moreover, make sure you position it well with respect to the drainage pipe and create a proper seal using a rubber gasket to prevent leaks.

  1. Re-install Your Toilet

If you install the offset flange well, it should sit further from the wall. If you are satisfied with your flange installation, re-mount the toilet, making sure you secure it with nuts, bolts, and washers to make it stable.

Furthermore, reattach the plastic coverings and the water supply hose. Lastly, turn on the supply valve and test flush your toilet to ensure it’s working well.

See also How to raise toilet flange 2 inches

How Do You Move A Toilet From the Wall Further

You must do something to fix it if your toilet is less than 15 inches from the side walls. Below is how to solve this problem.

  • Detach the toilet and the toilet flange from the floor base.
  • Cut wood to fit flat against your drywall’s both sides.
  • Mount the panel keeping it level from your sheetrock’s both edges. Hammer it into place with gaps, including wall layers. 
  • Install the new flange, then refit your bathroom to suit the modified flange setup.

Final Take

When installing a closet flange, it needs to be well-positioned to ensure your toilet works properly. However, mistakes happen sometimes, and you may find yourself with a toilet flange too close to the wall. 

Fortunately, it’s a fixable mistake that you can even DIY but check with a professional for a more accurate assessment and repair.

See also How to fix cast iron toilet flange too high

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