Accessible Bathrooms: Safety in Design
More homeowners than ever before are requesting renovations that make their homes accessible. Homeowners may have household members who have difficulties with mobility, hearing, vision or self-care. In addition, they may want to prepare ahead of time for their own future needs. Even younger homeowners these days are including accessibility in their renovations as they consider the possible needs of their parents, children or pets.
Fortunately, professional remodelers like us have considerable expertise in this type of home improvement. You can trust us to know and follow the guidelines that have been developed for accessible homes.
As you are anticipating the renovation of your bathroom for accessibility, it is important first to analyze the layout. Does it provide space for those who use walkers and wheelchairs to easily enter the bathroom and close the door behind them? Pocket doors with a 34”-36” wide opening are the perfect option since they eliminate the awkwardness of the door swing. And if someone should fall while using the bathroom, a pocket door makes it easier for a family member to enter the bathroom to help.
Make sure there is adequate space for people with mobility issues to maneuver their way around the entire bathroom to use the toilet, shower, and sink. The vanity should be designed so that someone in a wheelchair can roll under it to reach the faucet handles and have a good view of the mirror. A single hole faucet that is designed with a single lever handle is available in a wide variety of attractive styles and is simple to manipulate.
Comfort height toilets are very popular today since, in general, people are taller than they were years ago. These toilets are especially appreciated by those who have difficulty standing up from a low seat height. Include grab bars at the toilet. They do not need to look institutional, rather they can match the lovely design and finish of your towel bars.
A doorless, zero-threshold shower is very up-to-date in appearance. It is wonderful for anyone who is healing from hip or knee replacement surgery since they will not have to lift their feet over the barrier. Those who use a wheelchair can easily roll right in. Grab bars can be placed at the entrance to the shower and on the back wall for good balance while showering. Add blocking in the shower wall to give the grab bar the necessary support. A built-in shower bench or a flip down shower seat mounted on the shower wall provides a comfortable place to sit while showering. In the vicinity of the shower seat, install a detachable hand-held shower with a control switch, and a niche where shampoo bottles and soap can be reached. The bathroom floor needs to be covered in slip-resistant materials, such as non-slip tile. Smaller mosaic tile on the shower floor means there will be more grout lines, which increase slip resistance. For those who prefer to take baths instead of showers, a walk-in tub would be a great option.
Plenty of natural and artificial light in the bathroom is important, so tripping accidents are less apt to happen. Electric outlets should be installed at a height that is easy to reach.