Installing a new toilet can be an exciting upgrade for your bathroom. There are a variety of models and sizes to choose from. Choosing the correct size will be crucial to ensure a successful project.
The typical standard rough in toilet size is 12″, but some areas require a 14″ rough in (why does the rough size matter? Read here). You’ll find that toilets with a 14″ rough in are more expensive.
Why are 14″ rough in toilets more expensive? Because they are hard to source on the market and they have expensive features that require extra costs. There are other reasons that also make the 14″ rough in more pricey such as more materials and limited edition manufacturing.
What Exactly is a Toilet Rough-In and Why is it Important?
A toilet’s rough in is the size determined by the distance from the wall to the middle of the drainpipe on the toilet. This is also called the toilet flange. You must know this measurement before installing a new toilet.
In addition, the rough in also measures the toilet’s round sides. The correct measurement provides the ideal gap.
Purchasing a new toilet with the correct rough-in measurement ensures the toilet fits according to your bathroom’s structure (see our guide on 11.5 inch toilet rough-ins here).
Why 14″ Rough In Toilet Cost More
In addition to being harder to find on the market, 14″ models have expensive features. These features are not commonly found in other rough in toilets.
Let’s review why you’ll find 14″ rough in toilets to be more expensive:
- Manufacturers rarely have an inventory of 14″ rough in toilets. Since the market has a low quantity, distributors increase the price. They are usually manufactured in a limited edition series.
- The 14″ rough in toilets have a more pronounced rough in. This makes them more expensive to construct.
- The manufacturing costs for making a 14″ rough in toilet are more expensive. They are larger and require more materials to make.
- Extra features make 14″ rough in toilets more expensive. This type of toilet utilizes advanced technology.
The points above are the top reasons why 14″ rough in toilets are more expensive.
Are 12″ and 14″ Rough In Toilet That Much Different?
You may be asking yourself if there’s that much of a difference between 12″ and 14″ rough in toilets. Besides the price difference, 12″ and 14″ rough in toilets have other important variations.
Differences Between 12″ and 14″ Rough In Toilets
What’s the difference between these two models? The most significant difference between a 12″ and a 14″ is the number of rough in. The 14″ rough in toilet is designed with a larger number of rough in compared to the 12″ model.
The 12″ rough in toilet model is a universal size. This means that it will fit most bathrooms. In contrast, the 14″ rough in toilet is made for bathrooms with limited space.
Another difference between the 12″ and 14″ rough in toilets is the features. The 12″ rough in toilet is designed with standard features. This is why this model is used universally for most bathrooms.
Only special bathrooms that have advanced construction require special toilets. People purchase 14″ toilets because the 12″ models don’t have all the special features they desire.
What Happens if I use a 12″ Rough In Toilet Instead of a 14″ Model?
At times, homeowners prefer to take an easier route when installing a new toilet. In some cases, people want to replace their existing toilet with a newer model. For instance, you may want to replace an old toilet with one that features dual-flush technology.
Aesthetics will certainly be affected if you install a 12″ model where a 14″ rough in toilet is required. The tank will sit near the wall with a 2″ discrepancy. Some people don’t think this cosmetic issue is a big deal.
Why would someone want to avoid using the correct size? Sometimes people want to avoid a bigger remolding project. Perhaps they don’t want to break through concrete flooring or other complicated tasks. Some people want to save money and don’t mind the size difference.
From a cosmetic standpoint, it’s acceptable for most people to use a 12″ rough in toilet instead of a 14″ model. The 12″ size will come out an additional 2″ from the wall and into the bathroom. If you feel you won’t be bothered by that, then you can certainly choose the 12″ option.
The difference in size becomes a problem when you have the wrong clearance. Many toilets that are installed have a large gap behind them from the wall. It’s all about your personal preference. It really doesn’t matter where the toilet is installed as long as you like the design of the whole bathroom. I don’t mind the 2″ gap but appreciate the extra features of the 14″ model.
Check to see if you will have enough legroom to use the toilet comfortably. If the 2″ gap between the wall and the toilet tank doesn’t bother you, it makes no functional difference.
Something to keep in mind is the tank size of the toilet you choose. Most 14″ models have the same size bowl as a 12″ rough in toilet. However, the 14″ model usually has a larger tank. The size you choose also depends on the size of your bathroom.
Smaller bathrooms could benefit from having a smaller rough in measurement. More experienced homeowners could make the 12″ model work by moving the flange and downpipe a couple of inches.
Some brands have adapters that you can use to close the gap. This method allows the same toilet to fit 10″, 12″, or 14″ rough ins. You simply change out the adapter to accommodate your needs.
Most 14″ rough in toilets feature the same size bowl as other models. They feature a tank that is thicker and deeper, which is what makes them 2″ bigger. Similarly, 10″ toilets have the same size bowl with a thinner tank.
Do Most Brands Carry 14″ Rough Toilets?
Not all brands manufacture a 14″ rough in toilet. Popular brands like Toto and American Standard manufacture 14″ rough in toilets. It’s a great choice because you’ll have additional features such as the dual flush system. You may contact the manufacturer directly to find out which models feature a 14″ rough in.
How Can I Determine What Size Rough In I need?
As previously mentioned, the rough in measures the span from the wall to the middle of the waste pipe. To correctly measure the rough in of your toilet, first, you have to locate the bolt caps.
The bolt caps are the fixtures that hold your toilet to the floor. Measure from there to the wall behind the toilet. There are usually two bolt caps. However, if your toilet has four bolt caps start your measurement at the rear bolt caps.
Once you measure this space, you can have the home improvement store professionals help you choose the correct rough in size. The toilet will have to fit your waste pipe configuration and bathroom size.
Here is another video that could help you determine the rough in size:
How Far Should My Toilet Be From the Wall?
First, be sure to check your municipal codes. Some regions require a minimum of 15″ rough in. This applies to the space near any side walls or other obstructions. Some codes require that your toilet is not more than 30″ from other sanitary fixtures (center to center).
You’ll find a comprehensive guide when planning your bathroom’s construction at NKBA (https://media.nkba.org/uploads/2022/05/Bath-Planning-Guidelines.pdf). That is the National Kitchen & Bath Association. They create planning guidelines that describe access standards.
The NKBA is a great resource for implementing ideal planning practices. They recommend a 32″ rough in for toilets. Most designers ensure there’s at least a 24″ clearance in front of a toilet.
Finalizing Plans For Your New Toilet Installation
With the information above, you’ll have the necessary knowledge to plan your toilet installation. Consider choosing a 14″ rough in toilet that provides special features. Advanced technology has amazing functions you may want to make part of your home.
The toilet will also have upgraded materials that can further enhance your bathroom. Although these limited edition toilets are more expensive, they may be worth the extra cost.
The choices you make when installing a new toilet involve your personal preferences. As long as you are happy with the results, you can choose from different options.