How to Measure Toilet Rough In

Let’s talk about a toilet’s “rough in” today. Many home owners don’t actually know what a rough in is. Asked about their rough in, they often look surprised and lost for words. You don’t have to anymore. At the end of this post you should know everything about a toilet’s rough in.

What’s a Toilet’s Rough In?

This is usually the distance between the wall behind your flushing toilet to the center of the flange (outlet drain/ pipe). The outlet drain is where the wastes leave your toilet and enter the main drain.

The standard distance of a rough in is 12”. However, there are a few special cases that you will find the toilet’s outlet closer or further away from the back wall. Such cases will leave you with a 10” or 14” rough in.

Measuring the Rough In

Before you purchase a new toilet, you should measure your toilet’s rough in. To measure your rough-in accurately follow this simple guide.

Step#1: Take a tape measure. Stretch it from the main wall behind your toilet up to the middle of the bolts that hold the toilet bowl on top of the drain (closet bolts).

Step#2: Write the measurement down and repeat step#1 above. This will help you to confirm the measurements that you found from an initial try.

Step#3: If your measurement doesn’t fall on 12”, 10”, or 14” you should round it off to the nearest rough in measurement that you have.

Why is Must You Measure the Rough-In?

If you are replacing your old toilet, the new toilet should actually have the same rough in as the old. However, if it is the first toilet that you are installing, you should take the measurement of the rough in.

The reason is simple. Placing a small toilet, for example, a toilet with a rough in of 10” in a 12” rough-in will allow your toilet to fit. However, it will leave so much space behind the tank and the back wall.

Meaning the items you store on top of the tank will tend to fall often inside or behind your best flushing toilet. This can often leave you with a clogged toilet. A larger toilet in a smaller rough in won’t fit at all.

How do I Get the Exact Rough In Measurement?

If you want to measure your rough in accurately, the experts recommend measuring from the wall behind the toilet – NOT – from the closet bolts, tiles, bolt caps, or molding. Doing this will keep your tape measure linear.

What Other Measurements Do I Need?

Apart from the rough in, you should have your toilet bowl and height measurement. For the bowl, the width and the length must be taken. The height is rather easy as it depicts the distance between the floor and the toilet’s rim. Visit the toiletrated experts to find out how to measure the bowl.


Your toilet’s rough in is very important. Indeed you should always have it at your fingertips so as to get the perfect fit toilet for your home. Write the measurements down and take it to your vendor.

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