When it comes to accessibility, few rooms are as important as the bathroom. This is a space we spend time in every single day and having it right for our individual needs makes a difference. If you have accessibility needs, this becomes even more important. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you are looking to create an accessible bathroom in your home or place of work.
Doorways — To accommodate walkers, wheelchairs, and other assistance devices, you will want to widen any doorways to no less than 36 inches. This provides ample room for a person to enter the bathroom with ease.
Pull Handles vs. Knobs — Along with a wider doorway, change out traditional doorknobs for pull handles. This enables those who have difficulty gripping or turning knobs to securely open and close the door.
Levered Faucets — Similar as with the doorknobs, you will want to replace sink and shower knobs with levered faucets. These types of devices are more comfortable for those with accessibility issues to use.
Light Switches & Latches — Wherever possible, look for ways to lower the height of light switches and latches so those who are in wheelchairs can reach them more easily. The standard height of 48 inches for light switches is the maximum height for ADA compliance. Lowering switches to a height between 15-42 inches complies with ADA standards and makes accessibility easier.
Counter Height — Just as other items in your bathroom are lowered to accommodate accessibility needs, so should your counters. Ideally, not only should the counters be lowered, but they should also have open space below such that a wheelchair can roll up and have room for leg space. Ideal height for wheelchair accessible counters is approx. 34 inches.
Grab Bars — Grab bars are essential for those who need help transitioning from a wheelchair to or from a toilet, as well as for safety in and around tubs and showers. Be sure to have these installed securely so they can withstand the pressure of a person's body weight.
Showers/Tubs — If your bathroom has a shower or tub, look to modify the space with either a roll-in shower or a walk-in tub. Also, plan to add a seat in your shower designed specifically to help with accessibility. The decorative seats provided in most pre-formed shower inserts are not sufficient.
If you would like assistance with any of these bathroom accessibility modifications, please give the team at Fort Rock Construction a call today at 541-767-1611. We are certified accessiblity experts and have been serving the Willamette Valley since 2001.
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