Private toilet area: door or no door

mrsemmapeelJune 19, 2012

We are wondering what to do about the toilet area in our master bath. The toilet is being moved to a space of about 36" W x 39" D in a corner of the bathroom. A solid wall for the shower is on one side, the solid outside wall on the other.

We are going to have to move the back wall of the toilet area at least 2" back, because the truss is where the drain needs to be. This means cutting 2" into the walk in closet behind the toilet area. I think our toilet is 27.5" deep, so we were planning not to have a door on the toilet area. However, I do like the idea of having the door or something for privacy, but I also like my closet.

So, since we're cutting into the closet space, would you go ahead and make it deep enough to add a door? If so, how much space between the front of the toilet and the door is really needed?

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Maybe this question is too professional for me to answer, but in my opinoin, with a door is a respect to the other family memeber even your husband or wife.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 6:43AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

It's a function of how you live...our house is just DH and I and the bathroom doors fundamentally get shut when we want to keep drafts out when we take a shower or to keep it quieter when one of us is sleeping...otherwise the doors are always open. Personally, I don't like the idea of being locked up in a small space to use the feels too much like a public restroom to me. Being out of the way and surrounded by walls would be privacy enough. Others have noted here that that door, if you add one, needs to open out for safety reasons.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 7:35AM
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Heh, I'm exactly the opposite of Annie. I get a little freaked by a toilet in a big room - like those family restrooms. Much prefer to be in a small enclosed space. I'm the freak who always closes the door to the bathroom even when I was living alone.

So yeah, I'd put a door. But I think it's personal preference.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 9:38AM
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I'm more like cottonpenny and prefer privacy and a smaller space for a toilet. Even though it's just two of us, I always close the door and we give one another privacy if the door is closed. I would love to have a little space with a door for our toilet in the master bathroom (sadly we just do not have the space), so I would opt for a door.

As others have said, it's really a personal preference and a matter of how you use/share the bathroom.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 10:47AM
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I like a shareable bathroom, but there's one thing I refuse to share. Keep the door.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 2:28PM
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We are a no door household.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 7:05PM
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Hard decision. If you're comfortable with folks walking by while you're "takin' care of business," go for it. I prefer a modicum of privacy.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 7:13PM
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We're door people.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 7:34PM
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Regarding how much space between the toilet and the door, I think the entire space should be at least 60" long, so if your toilet is 27 or so, I think you need at least another 33", probably much more comfortable with 36" (or even 42") in front of the toilet. Not sure how much that would impact your closet.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 9:21PM
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I'm not sure that it sounds like you have a deep enough space for a completely private toilet space. I would skip the door if it's going to be uncomfortably tight. Is there a door to the bathroom itself that can be closed when you would like privacy? Wouldn't that be enough to prevent the company of "folks walking by"? A closed door means "please knock" at our house, even to hubby and me.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 9:57PM
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Thanks, everyone. Quite different feelings about the door, I see!

If we don't have a door, I'll have to have solid curtains on the big window by the toilet, and we'd lose the view most of the time. It's a log cabin with a nice view of the woods (though we have neighbors).

We share the bathroom, and we definitely prefer to leave a little mystery in our marriage. *Ahem* The only other toilet is downstairs.

If we did add a couple feet to the cubby, it would be off the back corner of the closet. The closet is currently 8' x 5', and I'll be redoing it when I finish the bathroom.

I think we have space between the toilet cubby and tub deck to have a small door swing out. The window starts about 16 inches in front of the cubby though, so bifold doors might be better to avoid blocking the window.

Too many decisions!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 12:22AM
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Sometimes you have to think about the next owner.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 2:09AM
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If I think about the next owner, should I assume they want the door more or the extra couple feet of closet? I have trouble thinking as if I were someone else, since I am not even sure which I would prefer!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 6:36PM
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A toilet room needs to be 60" long, almost always, to get enough "frontal" toilet clearance. Code requires 24" in front of the toilet bowl. With a 27" toilet (is that from the wall or not), you need at least 52" room. But, that is really too small and some codes require 30" infront of the toilet (so 57"). You are going to have to use up some more of your closet space whether or not you put a door on there.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 7:16PM
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Thanks for the standard measurement confirmation, that's very helpful.

Without the door, there's more than 24" in front of the toilet, but that includes the walkway space between it and the tub. The 36W x 39D measurement is just the space that is not in the walkway that could be enclosed.

Toilet will be around 27.5" from the wall when installed, so I'd need at least 53" total, which means cutting 14" into the closet, right? So I lose 3.5" of closet without the door (for plumbing issues), or lose 14" if I add the door?

Why would it be too small if it has the 24" in front? Is there another consideration? FYI, we live in the country in Texas, so no "extra" codes that I'm aware of.

I hope that's close at least. The toilet gets moved on Tuesday!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 8:09PM
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Our MBath commode is in a space with wall/shower and a wall in front. No door.

A lady posted on GW several years ago about her DH passing out in their small toilet room. Neither she or the paramedics could get to him easily - his body was blocking the door. In the end, he lived, but it certainly is something to consider when installing a door to a small room.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 8:52PM
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Good to know. If we do a door, the door could open into the aisle, rather than into the toilet closet.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 9:08PM
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Can you post a rough sketch of the layout?

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 9:36PM
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Drawing is not my thing, so somehow the tub looks tiny and the open space in the middle looks huge, but it's a rough idea at least. We tried to stay with the original layout to stay in budget, but the toilet had to be moved. It was where the linens are now.

It's all roughed in and ready to tile, except the toilet area because of the plumbing issue, so we can't make any other major changes to the layout. I'd go crazy making changes if I could!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 10:16PM
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You need 24 inches in front of the toilet with the door closed, just to clarify.

Skip the door.

My main bath is 10 x 8 foot in size, with a clawfoot tub, 42" corner shower, pedestal sink and the toilet. No divider walls etc. Toilet is just there in the room.

Maybe I'm a prude, but even after 20 years of marriage we don't 'share' the bathroom if the toilet is in use.

The toilet area in your diagram will feel secluded enough to prevent you from feeling overly exposed even with the main door closed, and you'd get used to it even if it were more out in the open.

Is that layout final? Looks a little awkward to get in and out of the tub.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 10:44PM
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The vanity isn't actually that deep vis a vis the tub. I just can't draw. There's about 3 feet of tub area that is free and clear. It isn't a tall clawfoot, it's regular height. The large window is on the tub wall.

Yes, that's the final layout. We looked at other options, but there was always a truss or something in the way that made it crazy expensive or just not feasible.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 11:01PM
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Much clearer, now. Thanks for posting the sketch--you know the old saying 'A picture is worth a thousand words!' My next question to determine if a door is feasible is, what is the total measurement of that space from the end of the tub to the opposite wall the toilet will sit against?

I can tell you that my parent's have a very similar setup to yours with no door and it works for them. There's privacy in the toilet area visually. As far as other 'issues' go, they are on very different schedules (Dad still works) so everything is good that way.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 11:12PM
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The tub deck isn't finished, but IIRC, there will be approximately 67" from the end of the tub deck to the current wall, plus the 2-3" we have to steal from the closet to get the toilet drain in. About 70" total. The large window on the tub wall starts about 15" outside the toilet nook and ends about two feet from the opposite wall. The tub has a great view out into the woods.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 11:21PM
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Don't do it. With the window placement, it would be difficult to get a wall in there to privatize the space. Just plumb your toilet and be good with it.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 12:36AM
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6' (72") is ideal in that scenario, but it can be done with less. However, in your scenario with the wall between the toilet and shower being so long and having to add a 3-4" wide wall at the end of the tub deck, you will lose precious door space. You could maybe (& I stress the 'maybe') squeeze in a 24" door. That would be the absolute bare minimum IMO for a door and definitely not ideal. Without the door, you can go without the wall at the end of the tub deck giving you 28" of clearance between end of tub deck and shower/toilet room wall. One thing I will point out is that if someone is in the tub they will have full view of the toilet--I might would consider some sort of decorative frosted glass/glass block end panel on the tub.

Another thought--can you push the entire closet wall back 3" when you do the toilet room area? That would make the doorway clearance 3" larger and you might be able to squeeze in a door easier. Switching the tub & shower locations would make it easier too--but you may be too far along for that.

Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 12:59PM
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I'm with cottonpenny and lee - it's not a private space without a door!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 1:10PM
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Would a pivoting shoji screen type thing work? I'm wondering if the window is on the wall between the tub area and the toilet area. The shoji screen small hinges could be on the outside wall on the toilet side of the window. When coming into the bathroom, the shoji screen would serve as a decorative window/wall treatment. If someone wanted to close the screen in front of the toilet when using the toilet or the tub, they could do so.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 1:50PM
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I like the shoji screen idea, if you know where to get one or have pics of one, please let me know! I don't care if it's a completely separated room, just that there's something to block the view of the toilet from the window & tub area, like mydreamhome pointed out.

The window is on the wall between the tub and toilet, for almost half the space in between. In fact, the tub is where it is because of the window---I didn't want a window in my shower, and we didn't want to lose the view outside from the tub, so switching them didn't work. That would have made life easier. We kinda got stuck with the layout.

We will be pushing the toilet area back a few inches into the closet for plumbing reasons, but we can't move the shower part of the wall, because the shower pan was already in when we realized the toilet/truss problem.

I honestly should just be happy the toilet is no longer in the doorway! If all I can put up is a little curtain, so be it, but wanna make sure I've thought of every option. Will go prowling for shoji screens to see if that might work.

Thanks for all the suggestions and helping me work through this.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 2:15PM
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have you had a door /closed toilet area all of these yrs you've been married? I understand wanting privacy but wouldn't go thru a bunch of hoops like this to get it.

buy a new door handle for the bathroom - one with a lock. a lot cheaper and less stressful.

you could also buy a pretty shower curtain and hang there. you could change it out for the seasons - and holidays.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 2:27PM
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Shower curtain is a good idea also.

We have a lock on the main bathroom door. But anytime one person is getting ready, doing hair, bathing in the whirlpool, etc., the other person can't use the toilet. When you're sleepy, going downstairs to pee is a pain! This happens at least once a day.

This came up because we have to move the closet wall for plumbing reasons.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 3:27PM
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My parents had a swinging shuttered "saloon door" on their toilet area. Provided some privacy if both were in the bathroom, but the person in there was not totally closed or locked into this small area. It looked very nice, didn't take up the space a door does and served the purpose of some privacy.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 11:00PM
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