How to Measure a Toilet Rough In

Toilet rough in measuring: from wall to bolt cap.

Toilet rough in measuring: from wall to bolt cap.

When talking toilets, the toilet rough in is the distance from the wall behind the toilet to the center of the outlet pipe where the waste leaves the toilet. The most common distance is 12 inches, so most toilets have a “12-inch rough.”

In some cases, the outlet is closer to or further away from the wall, especially in older homes.  For those cases, toilets are available with a 10-inch rough or 14-inch rough.

Before replacing a toilet, measure the rough in or make sure your plumber measures before buying.

To measure accurately, measure from the wall–NOT the molding–to the bolt caps, as in this picture.  (Note: The Professor sincerely apologizes for the ugly wallpaper.)

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Finally, someone who clearly explains how to measure a rough in. I wasn’t sure about whether to account for the molding in my measurement. Thanks


Thanks Professor, That was my thoughts–you just confirmed it.


Is is safe to assume that if you measure from the bolts to the wall would equal the center of the outlet pipe?


I have an old crane 4 bolt toilet(oxford) it needs replacement. Ido not know how to figure what will fit


How do you measure for a corner toilet? frpm the corner or from the the straight side wall?


Thank you you are my hero!!!!


When you say “measure accurately, measure…to the bolt caps,” does this mean to the center of the cap. The toilet I want to replace is
11 1/2 ” from the wall tto the center of the bolt cap.
Does this mean I can’t use a 12″ rough in toilet?


I concur on confusion with jerrold. In your picture, you seem to be 12″ from wall to the front edge of the cap looking at the grout line on the floor. Almost all professional measuring protocols call for measurement On-center. But when I measure my toilet, it is 11.5″ to the cap on center, or about 11″ from the front of the cap as you show in your picture. Are these all just 12″ rough-ins?


Professor Toilet rules!!!


Hello, I’ve ordered a one piece toilet online. It has 300mm, 400mm as the “rough in” numbers, which translate to 11.81″ and 15.75″ But I’m not sure what the two numbers mean?

The plumbing in my house is being moved, so if it is non-standard i don’t think it matters as the drain pipes are being moved. However, from what i’ve read above when talking roughing in, there is usually just one number. What do the two numbers mean?

Professor Toilet
April 26th, 2012 at 9:37 am

Dear Keith
Standard rough-in dimension is 12” from the finished wall, but there are also some 10” and 14” installations. We are not familiar with a 15.75” rough-in and find it very unusual. You are correct that a toilet usually has only one rough-in dimension. Some Toto toilets have an adjustable trapway which can accommodate a range of rough-in dimensions, but, again, these are usually over the range of 10” to 14”.

I am presuming that this is not an American Standard toilet. All American Standard 1 piece toilets are designed for a standard 12” rough-in from the finished wall. You would either have to check directly with the manufacturer or send us the model and manufacturer so we can look it up to guide you.

Professor Toilet


Thanks professor. It is model LY999. I did buy online, and I think foreign made. Thinking about with hindsight, maybe I should have gone with an American made, but it is enroute and returning will be difficult.


hi…i just installed a 14″ rough in toilet. after i was finished there is almost a 2″ gap behind the tank. I know i can fill this with wood to secure the tank, but i’m curious why the gap is there.
I measured the rough in and it IS 14″, and the tank is for a 14″ rough in. the toilet says it can be used with 10″ 12″ or 14″
the brand is a viper (i think)


What is the standardfor the flange HEIGHT? I am moving the drain and want the flange at the correct depth or height. Top of flange flush with top of tile?

Professor Toilet
May 17th, 2012 at 9:46 am

Hi Chris,
If the toilet says the same toilet can be used with 10”, 12”, or 14” rough-in, it stands to reason that there will be up to 4” space behind the tank with a 14” rough, because the same toilet would fit flush with a 10” rough. American Standard offers toilet solutions with 10”, 12”, and 14” rough-ins. The spacing between the wall and toilet tank should be about 1 inch if you purchased the correct rough-in size. Viper is not an American Standard toilet. If your “viper” toilet has a 2” gap behind the tank, it sounds like you might have purchased a 12” rough-in toilet for your 14” rough-in space.

American Standard has different tanks for 10”, 12”, and 14” rough, and they are different because they are designed to work with the different rough-ins to have a 1” or less space behind the tank to the finished wall. I would recommend purchasing the new American Standard Cadet PRO 14” rough-in toilet if this is a true 14” space application. The Cadet PRO model number is 215FC. A complete rough-in diagram can be found on the specification sheet. Please follow the link to check out the product –> http://www.americanstandard-us.com/products/productDetail.aspx?id=5658
Good Luck and let me know how it all works out for you – Professor Toilet

Professor Toilet
May 17th, 2012 at 9:49 am

Hi John C.

The primary toilet installation dimension is the rough-in distance from the wall to the toilet flange (10”, 12” or 14”). As for the flange itself, it should be flush with the floor so that the toilet will sit properly on top of the flange with a wax ring. Ideally the top of the flange would be at the same height as the tile floor. Extra thick wax rings can be used if the flange is below the tile. The flange shouldn’t be more than -1/2” below the floor. I would recommend that you look at American Standard’s full portfolio Cadet PRO line to find a toilet configuration that works best for your application. American Standard Complete toilets come with a thick wax ring included with the toilet. – Professor Toilet


HI my toilet bolts measure roughly 11 inches from the wall and I have a two inch gap behind the tank to the wall so can I use a 12 inch toilet???


Hi.. I have a similar problem like others … When I measure from WALL to center of bolt it comes up 11.5… Can I install a 12 in rough in toilet?


Professor Toilet
June 4th, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Hello Peter,

Thanks for your question!
If your rough-in distance from the wall to the toilet flange is less than 12 inches, you might be better off using one of American Standard Brand’s many 10 inch rough-in configurations. Please consider purchasing one of the many Cadet PRO toilet solutions such as the 10 inch rough-in elongated model 215AB per the attached web link


By comparing the specification sheet dimensions to your actual bathroom dimensions, you should be able to find a toilet that best fits your needs.

I hope that answers your question.

Professor Toilet

Professor Toilet
June 4th, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Hi Chris,

Thanks for your question!
If your rough-in distance from the wall to the toilet flange is less than 12 inches, you might be better off using one of American Standard Brand’s many 10 inch rough-in configurations. Please consider purchasing one of the many Cadet PRO toilet solutions such as the 10 inch rough-in elongated model 215AB per the attached web link


By comparing the specification sheet dimensions to your actual bathroom dimensions, you should be able to find a toilet that best fits your needs.

I hope that answers your question. Don’t hesitate to reply with any further questions!

Professor Toilet


ok, so my current toilet rough-in measures 12” wall to bolt center. BUT there is 2 inches from the wall to the top of the toilet tank. Way too much! Does this mean I can get a 10” rough-in toilet and will no longer have that big gap between the top of the tank and the wall? My 4 year old (w/special needs) presses back on the tank when he flushes, and I’m afraid one day it will break! Please advise! Thank you!


Hi – rough-in Question:
I have an older installed Kohler, with 2 bolts per side. I haven’t removed to inspect yet, but bought a Toto Drake round 12″ rough-in.
I presumed the rough in of the Kohler was the midpoint of the 2 bolts, which measures ~12″ from the wall. Was this naive? I saw elsewhere that it may be located at the center of REAR bolt, which measure about 9 1/2″ from wall. (the bold spacing is about 5 1/2″). Can you advise which is most likely? (also, if it is a smaller rough-in, I imagine I can extend the current to a 12″ rough-in w/o too much trouble?)



I ordered a Champion 4 max – my measurement appears to be 13 inches from the wall. I currently have an American standard SA 6.0 lpf / 1.6 gpf. Was this special order ? Should I return the new one for a special order?



Hello Mary,

Thanks for your question! The Champion 4 MAX should work for your configuration. Your rough-in distance should result in the toilet tank being about 1-1/2 to 2-1/2” from the wall instead of the normal -1/2 to 1-1/2”. If the current toilet looks okay it shouldn’t be a problem. Hope that helps!

Professor Toilet


Hi, how do you measure the rough-in of a toilet that has already been installed, without moving it?


Hi Joe,
Yes, you can measure the rough-in without moving your existing toilet! Measure the distance from the wall behind the toilet to the toilet floor bolt centerline using a tape measure or ruler. There are two floor bolts for a typical toilet; one on each side of the toilet bowl. If the rough-in distance is less than 12”, you likely need a 10” rough-in toilet configuration. If the rough-in distance is greater than 14”, you can use either a 14” rough-in or 12” rough-in toilet configuration. Most bathrooms use a standard 12” rough-in distance. If you are considering an American Standard toilet, refer to the particular American Standard product specification sheet for complete rough-in dimension details which all available for download on http://www.AmericanStandard-us.com

Professor Toilet


Dear Professor,
I am getting ready to purchase a toilet with a 10″ rough-in. Is the distance between the bolts that attach the unit to the floor standard?
Thanks for any help. Mark


I am trying to replace a toilet with a 10″ rough-in. Before I pull the old one out I would like to know if the distance between the bolts that attach the unit to the floor is standard on all toilets? I have a tile floor and it would be great if I do not have to drill through the old tiles. Thanks for any help. Mark


I have a toilet that is too close to the back wall and the tank leans forward. I measured from the wall to the toilet bolts and it is about 9 inches. How do you correct this problem??


Just removed a very old flush from a basement cement floor. The metal flange to which the flush was attached broke apart (rusted) and the drain is lead. To top it off, the tank was recessed into the drywall so the flush’s drain hole would align with the floor drain pipe. So now I need to measure the rough in. I assume I’ll measure from where the drywall is to the center of the lead drain pipe in the floor? I’ll then need to remove the remainder of the metal flange ring attached to the lead drain pipe. I will then need to purchase a flange ring that adapts to lead pipes (saw them demo on YouTube). After that I’ll need a new flush that meets the rough in. Please advise if I’ve got this right.

Thanks for reading and considering.



Getting ready to replace my old American Standard toilet and am trying to determine the rough-in without removing the existing toilet. The current one has 4 hold down bolts. The rear one is 12″ from the wall and the front ones are 16.5″. Since it’ll be a special order toilet I want to get it right. Your thoughts? Thanks!


The measurement from the wall to the floor bolt is 13 1/2 inches…would a toilet with a 14 inch r.i. work??? I think the current toilet is a 12 inch r.i. because there is approx. 2 inches between the tank and the wall.
Should I purchase a 12 or 14 ri??? thank you very much!!!!!


Professor, I am buying a pre-war apartment with a toilet which is tankless and the pipes are exposed behind the toilet. New Yorkers tell me its industrial chic but I think its ugly. Can I replace it easily with one with a tank? Thanks for your help!

Karen in California
May 1st, 2013 at 1:04 pm

This part of finding the correct toilets has been impossible for me to understand. Finally, I find this site with my questions answered in “see spot run” language even I can understand.

Thanks so very much!

Professor Toilet
May 6th, 2013 at 1:51 pm

Hi Pinky,
If your current toilet is tankless, unfortunately, a tank cannot be added. There would be no place to mount it and the toilet would not flush it was some way connected. Perhaps it’s a good time to embrace industrial chic or find clever ways to conceal the pipes? Good luck!

Professor Toilet

Professor Toilet
May 6th, 2013 at 1:54 pm

Hi Julianne,

There is no way to definitively say a 14” rough in toilet would work. Most toilets are designed to have 1” clearance however there is an allowed +/- tolerance of ¼”.

Hope that helps!

Professor Toilet

Professor Toilet
May 6th, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Hello Bob,

With the specifications you mentioned, the toilet would be considered a 12” rough in.

Good luck!
Professor Toilet


What if the wall has baseboard heating? Would you measure from the heating cover or from the wall?
Thanks for your help!


Can you please tell me if it matters that there is a 2″ gap from the toilet to the wall? I have a 14″ rough in and I currently have a 12″ toilet with a 2″ gap but I am renovating my bathroom and the toilet that I chose is again a 12″ rough but it doesn’t come in a 14″. I’m looking for a “pretty” toilet not just a standard looking tank so please tell me other than appearance if it matters that I purchase 14″ rough for a 12″ rough. Thank you!


My rough in measures 11 1/2 inches. What am I to do here?


My rough in is 12″. The toilet I bought is for 12″ rough in. Installed, there is nearly a three inch gap behind the toilet. What happened? And how can I fix it?


I have an old house with a toilet i am going to replace. the current rough in distance is 14 inches. I woudl like to install a new one that is made for a 12 inch rough in distance. Aside from having an extra two inches between the wall and the toilet are there any issues i need to take care of if i go wih this 12″ model??


I bought a toilet with a 12 inch rough-in assuming that this toilet’s rough in measurement would be the same as my other bathroom. Well I was wrong. Its actual measurement is 14 inch.

Do I need to exchange the new unused toilet that has a 12 inch rough-in with one that is 14 inches or is there a way to make this work?


So……….we are renovating a 1920′s cottage with a small round toilet coming off the flat wall with a 10″ rough in. This puts your knees against the side of the tub. We are considering a corner toilet. Where do we measure from? I am not at the location so someone is measuring this for me (yikes). If from the corner, will this still measure 10″. Do they make a 10″ rough in corner toilet?


I have an old house with a Crane Vitroware Graco two piece wall mount toilet with a cracked toilet tank. Based on your explanation of how to measure the rough in dimensions it appears the rough in is 15 1/2 inches and the distance from the floor to the top of the toilet tank is 36″. The bathroom walls have wall paper so I’d like to get a wall mount with similar dimensions to cover up the wall where the old tank was attached. I can’t seem to find any toilets with a rough in dimension greater than 14″ or a height greater than 30″. Any suggestions?


I am installing a corner toilet with a 12″ rough in, so would that be 12″ perpendicular from both walls to the hole centre or 12″ from the corner?


Thanks; great site. Many of the questions asked/answered fit my situation (replacement toilet).


Hello again. Tried to buy the Amer Std Cadet Pro (215AB-104) which has 10″ rough-in, but was told mfr discontinued. Any alternatives, other than having to pay for a much more expensive unit? I’m trying to replace a 43 year old, low rise water-eater. Thanks Peter.


Prof: Thanks again; will go for the 215AB.104 model. Peter


I am replacing an old toilet where the center of the bolts measure 11″ from the face of the wall. The back of the tank currently sits 2″ out from the wall. What size toilet do I need? Thank you!

Patricia Bitakis
March 1st, 2014 at 11:05 am

we are replacing a toilet which drains to the rear. How would we figure the roughin with such a drain system?


I’m replacing an old toilet w/12″ rough in. Why can’t I replace it w/10″ rough in toilet? Won’t that simply mean that the toilet will be 2″ further away from the wall in order to fit over the outlet pipe?


We are remodeling and about to install a corner toilet with a 12 inch rough in. How exactly do we measure it and do we include molding in that measurement?


We live in an older 100 year old home with a very small bathroom downstairs. Our current toilet seems to need to be replaced and our rough in measures 13.5″. We wanted to replace it with a smaller toilet, but now are concerned about how to find one to replace this one. Should we go with a 14″, 12″?? Or do we have to reconfigure our plumbing? Hoping not to have to do this final option, but looking for advice on what will work with a 13.5 rough in.
Thank you!

Professor Toilet
July 24th, 2014 at 11:04 am

Hi Gale,

Thanks for your questions! The safest bet is to use a 12” rough in toilet. The space between the wall and back of the toilet is typically 1” +/- ½” so although a 14” rough-in may fit, it may actually hit the wall.
If you are looking for an American Standard toilet, try our Triangle Cadet PRO Toilets.

Professor Toilet

Professor Toilet
July 24th, 2014 at 11:10 am

Hello Marilyn,

Thanks for your question! To install a corner toilet, measure 12” out from the corner along each wall (not the baseboard). Using a square, draw a straight out from each 12” mark. The outlet is to be located where the two lines intersect.

Happy remodeling!
Professor Toilet

Professor Toilet
July 24th, 2014 at 11:16 am

Hi Gary,

Thanks for your question! You are correct. If you replace your current 12″ rough in toilet with a 10″ rough in toilet, the toilet will be 2″ further away from the wall.

Professor Toilet
July 24th, 2014 at 11:20 am

Hello Patricia,

Thanks for your question! To find the the appropriate rough in for this type of toilet, simply measure from the finished floor to the center of the outlet in the wall. Hope this helps!

Professor Toilet

Professor Toilet
July 24th, 2014 at 11:24 am

Hi Sara,

Thanks for your question! This means that you have an 11” rough in which requires a 10” rough in toilet. Hope this helps!

Professor Toilet

Professor Toilet
July 24th, 2014 at 11:27 am

Hi Meghan,

Thanks for your question! You are correct. To find the correct rough- in for a corner toilet, measure 12” out from the corner along each wall (not the baseboard). Using a square, draw a straight out from each 12” mark. The outlet is to be located where the two lines intersect.

Professor Toilet


Please help! I am so confused. I really need to replace a toilet in the house my father built in 1971. It is in a very tight space in a half-bath on a concrete foundation. The distance from the bolts to the drywall behind is 21 inches. Yes, I measured it 3 times. The distance from the top of the tank to the drywall is 9 inches. The whole thing is under a built-in cabinet that extends from the wall 12 inches. Would a 12 inch rough-in toilet be an accurate replacement?

Professor Toilet
July 31st, 2014 at 7:01 am

Hi Laura,

Thanks for your question! Well, 21 inches is quite a distance from the finished wall. If this is in fact the case, a 12” or 14” toilet would work. I do not think the 2 additional inches a 14” rough offers would make much of a difference. I hope this helps!


Thanks so much for your quick reply! I know that is a very oddball measurement but it is correct. I will go with the 12″ size since it is mostly under the cabinet and will not really show the distance from the wall. You have been a big help and settled a difference of opinion!


I just purchased (and returned already) a toilet that said the bowl height was “standard” but yet later in the specifications said that the bowl height was 15″. When I took it out of the box the bowl was 16 1/2″ from the floor. I checked and several other toilet specifications said the same thing…what is going on?


Hey Doug, thanks for your question!

Standard Height is 15”. What was the model number of the toilet that you purchased? If we have conflicting information on our specifications, it would be helpful to know what model it is.


Hi there!

I am replacing an old toilet in my bathroom and the distance from the wall to the bolt measures 11″. The tank sits against the wall now. Does that mean I’ll need a 10″ rough in toilet?

I really appreciate your help!!


If my current toilet that needs to be replaced has a 14″ RI do I find one that is the same or will the gap behind the toilet just be larger based on the difference in RI. ie. a 12″ RI toilet leaves me 4″ gap
Thank you.


Hi Professor,

I have measured the distance from the tile to the drain pipe and we are at 11.5″ to the centre. The home is a newer home, but did not come with tiles. After we put in the tiles, the distance went from 12″ to 11.5″.

We really do not want a standard looking toilet; looking for something more modern. Do you think it’s better to cut the floor and try to move the pipe or should we be OK with a 12″ standard toilet? Is a 1/2″ that big of an issue when fitting the base on?



Hi Professor,
I’m replacing a toilet that has a baseboard heating element behind it. I want to get an elongated model, but some reviewers indicated they ran into a problem as there wasn’t enough floor space to fit the base of the toilet. It’s a 12″ rough in from the wall to the center of the bolt cap. The baseboard heating cover comes out 2.75″ from wall and is about 6″ tall. How can I tell if a particular toilet will fit without having to mess with the baseboard heating element/cover?


Our old (1948) American Standard, wall mounted tank connected to Bowl vis 45 angle pipe, measure 15 1/2″ back wall to bolt. What rough, or toilet in should we get to replace it?


I have a very short space for the toilet. I am looking for an elongated bowl toilet which is compact and measures in depth about 29 inches. Any suggestions?


The toilet that I wish to replace is in the original part of our house built around 1876. Behind the toilet there is old wainscoting. Underneath that there may or may not be plaster. When I measure from the wainscoting to the bolt it’s 10 inches (not countung molding). Do you think I can trust that it’s a 10 inch rough or do you think that the wainscoting is taking up 2 inches from the wall. Do you recommend that I take the toilet out before ordering? Your advice is appreciated.


Help! I guess I had a 16″ toilet in my home, and i just had a new one installed, but it is 4 1/2 inches from the wall. Do they make 16″ rough in toilets anymore? If i got a 14″ rough would that look okay?


I have an old American standard one piece toilet which I’m going to replace.It has 4 hold down bolts,which ones do I measure the rough-in

thanks Howard.



I measured rough in to be 13 1/2″. Should I use 14″?

Thank you.


I have an 111/2 inch rough can I install a 12 inch rough toilet???


Hi Bill,

Yes, a 10″ rough-in toilet is what you will need.


Hi Micah,

Thanks for your question. You will need a 14″ rough- in.


Hi Mike,

Thanks for your question. Most 12” rough toilets have a clearance from ¾” to 1-1/4”. However, there is a 1/4” +/- allowance. Selecting a 12” rough toilet that offers the greatest clearance would be suggested. It cannot be guaranteed to be with acceptable limits if the wall is not plumb. The safest bet is to A, opt for a 10” rough in toilet or B, move the flange 1/2″” to achieve a true 12” rough in.


Hi Kayla,

Thanks for your question. Most standard 12” rough- in right height toilets offer 2.75” of maximum clearance at a height of 8”. The 215AA.004 Cadet Pro should install with no issues.


Hi Jennifer,

Thanks for your question. I would suggest a 14” rough in toilet.


Hi Ralph,

Thanks for your question. Unfortunately, American Standard does not offer a compact model that is 29” or less in depth.


Hey there Flora,

Thanks for your question. If there are no plans to remove the wainscoting, a 10” rough in toilet can be installed.


Hey Howard,

Thanks for your question. The bolts that measure 12” from the finished wall will be the location of the outlet indicating a 12” rough in.


Hi Anna,

Thanks for your question. A 14” rough in toilet will of course get the back of the tank closer to the wall. However, installing a 2” offset closet flange to achieve a true 14” rough in is also an option.


This may seem a little odd, but I have a basement bathroom was poorly designed. The rough in for the toilet is 7″… Yes, 7″. We had a terrible time looking for a toilet the last time we replaced it about 5-6 years ago. We are currently remodeling the bathroom and looking to replace the toilet however I cannot find one with a 7″ rough in anywhere!! There is a water pipe behind the toilet that is creating this short distance and moving the pipe doesn’t seem to be a option. And moving the drain is even more out of the question. Is there anything else we can do? Or any place where we can get a toilet with 7″ rough in?




Yes, you can use a 14″ rough-in.


Hi Pablo,

Thanks for your question! It would depend on the model. Some 12” models may hit the finished wall if installation is attempted.


Hi Mohammed,

Thanks for your question! American Standard does not offer a 7″ rough- in toilet. The shortest rough-in available is a 10″ rough-in and there would need to be alterations made to the drain to accommodate a 10” rough in.


My house was built in 1929. Toilet is 2 piece wall mounted tank. 4 bolts attach bowl to tiled floor. Only marking on toilet is Made in USA. From wall, bolts measure at 13.5 inches and 20.5 inches. How do I know what size toilet to purchase? I’ve replaced toilets successfully in past but this presents a new challenge.


Hi Melissa,

Thanks for your question!

It sounds like the waste outlet is at 13.5”, which would then require a 14” rough-in. I hope this helps!


Our old American Standard toilet in the powder-room is actually touching the wall behind it. It’s a ~12″ rough-in but they left no room at all for tile when they built the house in the 1940s. I think it measures about 11.5″ from the finished (painted) wall.

We would like to tile the walls. If we buy a toilet with a 10″ rough-in and place it at the existing flange location, that would create some additional space behind the toilet, right?

We don’t want to use an offset flange because the room is small and the front of the toilet is already flush with the door jamb.



And do 10″ rough-in toilets use the same flange type? No special flange is required?


Hi Professor – I have a very small space. The rough in has not been done yet. I am looking at the dimensions on the toilet I want to buy and there is both a 10″ option and a 12″ option. Can you clarify if I do the 10″ option do I save length? Every inch counts. Thanks

Professor Toilet
March 23rd, 2015 at 9:21 am

Hello Mr Blint,

Thanks for your question! Yes, using a 10” rough toilet will increase the distance between the back of the tank and the finished wall. And, 10” rough toilets use the same closet flange type.

Professor Toilet
March 23rd, 2015 at 9:25 am

Hi Thea,

Thanks for your question! Roughing in at 10” will reduce the overall length by 2”.

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