Does changing the swing on my bathroom door actually buy me any space?
March 29, 2012 9:13 AM   Subscribe

What is considered good practice (but not ADA) for interior door clearance in a small residential bathroom with an outswing or pocket door?

I am planning the layout for a small (6.5x7.5 sq ft) bathroom. We currently have a 2.5 ft door that swings into the bathroom. The internet suggests that making the door swing out will buy space in the interior, presumably because I can put fixtures (e.g. sink) within the current sweep of the door.

However, I clearly can't put a sink right in front of the door because then I wouldn't be able to get into the bathroom. So how much can a sink encroach on the current sweep of the door if I change the door to swing outwards (or put in a pocket door)?

Is there a "good practice" rule about this, or something in the code? It seems like there should be, but I couldn't find it. Perhaps I am not searching on the right term. "Clearance" seems to refer to the width of the door. "Maneuver" seems to be associated with ADA rules, and I can't comply with that in this particular case.

This is in LA county.
posted by pizzazz to Home & Garden (5 answers total)
It's not clear why you 'wouldn't be able to get into the bathroom' if you put the sink right by the door. If the door swings outward, you will have (WidthOfBathroom - DepthOfSink)ft clear for you to get past the sink. Unless you are planning on getting a very deep sink indeed, this should be fine, surely?
posted by Acheman at 9:29 AM on March 29, 2012

Hi, architectural designer here.

You're right: there are no hard and fast rules or recommended dimensions for what you're describing, but in general I'd say you want a 30"x30" min. clear floor area in front of the door threshhold.

There are several factors not addressed in your question (where are your plumbing lines? because they're expensive to move... any windows in there? shower? if you reverse the swing of the door, will another space be impacted?) and I'm not sure if you're looking for other advice on the layout, but if you are, please feel free to memail me.

Acheman, I think the OP is suggesting something like this, which would make getting in and out of the bathroom very awkward.
posted by Specklet at 9:52 AM on March 29, 2012

Specklet, that layout is exactly the kind of thing I'm talking about.

The distance from the threshold to the (square) sink edge would be 17", which is 7" less than we have right now. However, the proposed sink doesn't stick out from the wall as far, only 18". This is far less than 30"x30". But the current layout is less than 30"x30", too (24"x24") and it works pretty well but there's no escaping that it's a small bathroom.

I'm willing to pay the cost of plumbing to get a good layout.

No space will be impacted by changing the swing of the door. The door would swing into a kind of alcove that would exactly accommodate the door swing. That alcove then opens into a hallway.

Thanks for the offer to help; I may indeed memail you!
posted by pizzazz at 10:12 AM on March 29, 2012

I'm willing to pay the cost of plumbing to get a good layout.

Moving your sink to the directly opposite wall would be much, much better than any encroachment on the door space. If the opposite wall is where your tub is then move your sink on to the wall where the door is. If you do the latter keep the door inswing as it gives a smidge more privacy to anyone on the toilet.
posted by Mitheral at 1:51 PM on March 29, 2012

The internet suggests that making the door swing out will buy space in the interior

This is true even if you don't put anything in that space; an open door swung into a space takes up some room even at its most open, and makes a small space feel smaller and cramped. Also, it gives you space to put not fixtures, but people using the fixtures, into that sweep space. When you're standing at the sink or sitting on the toilet, it's nicer if you're not in the path of the sweep of a door.
posted by redfoxtail at 3:44 PM on March 29, 2012

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