How to Measure for New Bathroom Fixtures

Heather Asiyanbi - 2/27/18 11:27 AM

You’ve heard the expression, “measure twice, cut once” when it comes to home improvement? The same adage holds true for bath fixtures and bathroom accessories: measure twice, buy once. Here's how to make sure everything fits just right.

Bathroom Faucets

For the most part, figuring out the size of the bathroom faucet you need is about measuring from the center of one bolt the center of the opposite bolt. This rule-of-thumb especially applies to faucets where the difference between an 8-inch widespread and a 4-inch center set is significant in both the kitchen and the bathroom.

If you are only replacing your faucet and have either an 8- or 4-inch faucet, exchanging your old fixture for a new piece in the same configuration will be relatively simple. But, if you're installing a new vanity, you'll need to consider a new top as well.

Many vanity tops come pre-drilled for either a single hole, 4- or 8-inch faucet. If you have the opportunity to customize your vanity top, though, you have the luxury of choosing your faucet in the configuration of your choice to more accurately bring your remodel dream to life.


Unless you’re gutting your entire bathroom and starting fresh, knowing how much space you have for your bathtub is paramount to a (relatively) stress-free installation.

No matter your configuration - freestanding, corner, or alcove - you have to measure your space from front-to-back and from side-to-side.

If you're adding or replacing your freestanding bathtub, you'll need to allocate enough space for your new tub faucet lines coming out of the wall or through the floor. Typically, you should give yourself between six and 10 inches of extra room on the side where you will mount your faucet. Not only will you have plenty of space for installation, but you'll also appreciate the ability to clean that area more easily. 

For a shower-over-tub (alcove) configuration, a 32-inch-wide tub will not – no matter how hard you try – fit into a 30-inch space. Likewise, the most common size for a bathtub is 60 inches long, and because these tubs are designed for snug spaces, measurements have to be accurate.

Corner units have requirements similar to those for an alcove bathtub. The back two sides of a corner bathtub usually form a 90-degree angle and length dimensions usually begin at about 48 inches.


Get the perfect fit with your new toilet by getting the rough-in measurement correct the first time. Measure from the wall behind the toilet to the center of floor drain. 12 inches is the most common toilet rough-in measurement, but if you live in an older home, also take the measurement from the wall to the center of the closet bolts.

For smaller bathrooms, measuring from the center of the closet bolts to the walls and/or vanity on either side of the toilet is also necessary so you know the space in which you have to work.

Towel Bars, Rings & Accessories

Towel bars are another item where measuring between the centers of the bolts determines the size you need. Instead of returning a product you thought would fit or just making do with what you get, take a second to consider the difference between an 18-inch bar and a 24-inch bar and order accordingly.

In general, you'll want two to four inches between bars when you hang them in a linear fashion and to place them five or six inches from the edge of your tub and/or shower so towels are in easy reach.

If you're using a towel bar for bath towels, a general rule to follow is to place them at least 48 inches above the floor. At this height, towels folded over the towel bar will more than clear the floor but aren’t too tall for little ones to reach.

Rings, which are most often used for hand towels, should be installed within easy reach of the sink. Hanging one above a sink and/or vanity requires at least 18 inches of space from the top of the surface to the center of the ring’s bolt. This will give your hand towel plenty of room to hang without interfering with anything stored on the deck of the sink or vanity.

Topics: Bathroom

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