I am renovating a bathroom for a new house I'm moving in to. This
bathroom has a very small shower, approximately 33x32. Doing the
renovation, we are planning on redoing the shower, putting in a 32x32
shower pan and tile on the side.
I've read in a few places that this may not meet some code. Can
someone comment on this? Specifically, I'm wondering:
1) Will a 32x32 shower not meet code? I'm thinking about getting of
these two shower pans:
2) What are the implications of not meeting code? Because we're not
doing any major work on the house, I'm not going through the
permitting process. I've been told that if you're just retiling and
putting some new fixtures on, it's not really a big deal.
This is a house in the suburbs of Boston.
PS. Does anyone have any experience with Faucet Direct? They have good
prices, but are they reliable?
here is a passage I lifted from on the web but it conforms with my
understanding (hearsay, though)
Under the International Residential Code (IRC) a shower stall is
required to have a minimum rough pan size of 32" x 32" and under the
UPC it is required to be 34" x 34"
A shower is required to have a 30" diameter area in the shower stall
with vertical clearance of 72" above the elevation of the finished
drain. (The shower control knobs or an handrail may project into the
When constructing a shower the shower head MAY NOT point towards the
When constructing a corner shower with an angled door on the front
corner, the UPC requires the pan to be 39-1/2" on each wall and the
door must have a minimum 22" width.
Under both the IRC and UPC a toilet or bidet is required to have a
side to side clearance of 15" from the centerline of the bowl to any
wall, fixture or appurtenance on either side.
The IRC requires a toilet to have a frontal clearance of 21" from the
front edge of the bowl to any adjacent wall, fixture or appurtenance.
The UPC requires a 24" frontal clearance.
that all said...I've rebuilt bathrooms in older homes where meeting
these requirements exactly would have required destroying some very
cool / unique tile work & fixtures.......so the code requirements got
fudged a bit.
From personal experience, a 32 x 32 finished shower stall is fine for
a decent sized person.....6' by 200+
Smaller, like 30 x 30 (finished) is a getting a bit tight but meets
the IRC 30" diameter rule.
I've did a very nice restoration of a "Neo-corner"; 32 x 38
(finished size), again it was a tiny bit small but totally
To meet the IRC or UPC requirements exactly would have ruined the look
of old bathroom.
Many shower door installers will not install a door even a fraction
smaller than 24"....I guess they're confused over the 22" door opening
I guess as Americans get fatter & fatter we need to accommodate them,
lest they get wedged in the shower opening and need to be rescued.
Not meeting code on a remodel or restoration is a risk that you
I've seen someVERY small Neo-corner stalls that were wedged into tiny
bathrooms that had been added to very small houses (oringally 2
bedrooms / 1 bath).
The door opening & shower stalls were so small that I wondered if I
could have fit.
And if I had fit, if I could maneuver my hands to adequately shower.
It reminded me of one of those midget RV / travel trailer shower.
One I had the opportunity to step into to get a feel for but my latent
claustrophobia told me not to.
I think this sort "mini- shower" would be the type of problem that
anyone could identify........not whether a stall is 30 x 30 finished
or 29 3/4 x 29 3/4 finished.
All this goes back to the "common sense" rule....if it doesn't look
right, it probably isnt.
I'm sorry, but I'm not familiar with these terms. What does under the
UPC mean? Does this mean the American Standard specs here (32 x 32
pan) would not meet the requirements?
What can happen? Can the town ask me to rebuild? I don't much
This is a bonus shower in the powder room on the 1st floor, so I
expect we'd rarely use the shower. From looking at it today, it looks
adequate for showering though.
Appreciate the help!
IIUC, this is an existing stall of these dimensions, not a new addition;
at most you're taking the thickness of tile off an existing wall.
There's always an outside chance the local Code requirements are so
onerous that you aren't allowed to do anything outside current minimums,
but it would be highly unlikely.
You can always contact the local code enforcement folks or in a large
municipality it's likely they're all online for an interpretation but
I'd not worry over what this sounds like it is.
It quite possible you are in violation w/o a permit even for this,
Most places let owners do minor 'repair work' without a permit. Some
areas, like up in new england, the local guilds have made things so
tight that only professional plumbers can legally do any plumbing, but I
suspect that is widely ignored. In general, 'old work' is grandfathered
from new requirements, but a total gut job may make current code apply.
OP may be confusing code with the ADA standards, which make bathrooms
and such more usable for people with mobility problems. That is why even
cookie cutter houses now have 3-0 doors on the bathrooms, and the old
5x9 bathrooms are a thing of the past. The ADA standards are a pretty
good guide to follow for new construction, IMHO. Ain't none of us
getting any younger, and most of us can expect to have some trouble
getting around at some point. This house needs a gut job on the main
bath, but there is no way to make it ADA compliant without a major
remodel, which isn't gonna happen.
firstname.lastname@example.org had written this in response to
Hi! I have worked for FaucetDirect.com for the last 6 yrs and can tell
you first that we are definitely a reliable company. Our customers come
first and foremost, which we take great pride in.
To chime in on your concerns with local building codes, from my
experiences, its always best to check with your local building codes to
insure that you are in compliance. Normally if you are not changing
anything structural, getting a o permit is not necessary. If you plan on
leaving in this house for a while, you probably don't have anything to
worry about. If you intend to renovate and resell within 1-2 years, than
I'd suggest to look into getting the proper permits so the sale process
I hope that helps, if you need any other help, feel free to call us.
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Just FYI, to amplify a little on what aemeijers said: in Massachusetts you are
not allowed to do
*any* of your own plumbing work, not even change a faucet. And as he stated,
this rule is widely
ignored. But I can guarantee that one person who would *not* ignore it is a
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