When hiring a bathroom remodeling contractor, an important design option to discuss is how to make your bathroom handicap accessible for aging adults. Designing a handicap-accessible bathroom is an essential step in the aging-in-place remodeling process. According to the CDC, the chances of experiencing a potentially life-threatening injury in your bathroom increases with age, peaking at around 85.
Having the necessary aging-in-place accessories, such as vertical and horizontal grab bars installed next to your toilet and shower, can give you greater leverage and stability when sitting and standing. The goal of designing a handicap-accessible bathroom is to allow a homeowner the opportunity to live out their golden years with complete independence. If you’re looking to renovate your bathroom so it’s more accessible for everyone, this guide can help you by highlighting the key home modifications and accessories that will make your bathroom more handicap accessible.
Evaluate The Size Of Your Bathroom
The ADA recommends that handicap-accessible bathrooms should be at least 30 inches by 48 inches in dimension to allow easy access to all the bathroom fixtures. If now or in the future you’d like your bathroom to be wheelchair accessible it’s important to think about the square footage you have to work with. Installing bathroom fixtures such as wall-mounted sinks and toilets allow for plenty of toe and knee clearance when making turns in a wheelchair.
Large roll-in showers with no curbs are the ideal option for homeowners who want to keep their privacy and independence when bathing, but some bathrooms don’t have the square footage necessary for these types of home modifications. One creative bathroom remodeling option is to turn your entire bathroom into a wetroom. With a slopped floor drain in the center, everything from the shower to the toilet will share one open space.
Install A Handicap Accessible Entryway
To make your bathroom wheelchair accessible, installing a doorway to the bathroom with a clear width of at least 32 inches is ideal. You want to position the bathroom door so it opens outwardly and doesn’t obstruct the interior space of the bathroom. An option to consider is to install a pocket door that prevents the need to readjust yourself once you open the bathroom door. If you did choose to install a curbless shower, making sure it’s a straight shot from the doorway to the shower is also an excellent idea.
Install Accessible Lighting In Your Bathroom
When updating any existing bathroom, installing lighting options that are accessible from a sitting or standing position is always a smart choice. Both safe and aesthetically pleasing, large rocker light switches are simple to use and offer a stylish modern appearance. To illuminate your bathroom upon entry, you could also try motion-censored or voice-controlled smart lighting which will automatically turn on and off when you enter and exit the bathroom.
Add A Handicap Accessible Toilet
When designing your handicap-accessible bathroom, consider installing a wall-mounted toilet which creates the necessary space needed for turning in a wheelchair. A handicap-compliant toilet also needs to be accessible from the seated position, which is why we recommend chair-height toilets which simplify transferring from a toilet to a wheelchair. The replacement toilet will often have a longer base or an additional base beneath the toilet that increases the height.
The ADA recommends that toilet bowl rims, which includes the toilet seat, should be 17 to 19 inches from the finished floor. If you want to increase the height of your existing toilet try using a toilet seat riser to give you an elevated seat. Certain elevated toilet seats provide padded arms to add additional leverage when getting on or off the toilet.
Install Bathroom Grabs Bars
There are plenty of hardware options available for your handicap-accessible bathroom that are equally functional and stylish. More often than not, you can add aging-in-place hardware to your bathroom without committing to any major renovation changes. Installing horizontal and vertical grab bars in convenient locations, such as by the toilet and shower, gives patrons leverage and stability when transitioning between sitting and standing.
An important point to make is that all bathroom grab bars are required to be reinforced to the studs of the wall. This process is much easier and more cost-efficient when doing a complete bathroom remodel due to the bare studs already being exposed after the demolition phase of the project.
If there’s no sidewall next to the toilet where you can put a grab bar, a creative solution is to install a fold-down grab bar that attaches to the wall behind the toilet. This home modification gives you the benefit of an additional grab bar that can also be moved into an upward position to allow more space for wheelchair access. When purchasing and installing bathroom safety accessories always make sure to hire a bathroom remodeling contractor who understands the ADA guidelines regarding bath safety products.
Install A High-End ADA Compliant Sink
Depending on your unique situation, the height of your sink may need to be adjusted for easier access. You should think about providing clearance for a wheelchair beneath the bowl, as well as options for someone who may have difficulty bending or reaching the sink. Installing an ADA-compliant wall-mounted sink is an excellent way to make your bathroom more handicap accessible, as they’ll be low enough to be still accessed from a seated position and will include faucets that are easy to reach and operate.
While removing under-sink cabinets may seem like a huge loss, opting for a pedestal sink allows the user to get as close as possible when washing up. Also, replacing bathroom faucets that have twisting handles with easy-to-use lever handles, or even touchless faucets, removes any operating difficulties someone may experience when using your sink.
Are You Ready To Make Your Bathroom Handicap Accessible With Perry Brothers Construction?
As a vendor of the state for handicapped renovations in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, Perry Brothers Construction offers an array of bathroom design ideas and innovative accessories to properly outfit a handicap-accessible bathroom. If you have any questions on aging-in-place remodeling or any other residential construction project, contact a Perry Brothers Construction representative today to learn more.