Making your home more accessible for those who have disabilities or preparing as you or a loved one ages can seem like an overwhelming task. Yet, it’s important and can make life much easier for those who need it. In this blog post, we’ll discuss some tips on how to remodel your home to make it more American with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant. Keep reading for helpful advice!
Create a Functional Layout – It’s important to think about the layout of your home. Making sure that there is plenty of space for people to move around, and that all areas are easily accessible, is crucial for ADA compliance. The following bullet points review how to do this in more detail.
Remove Obstacles – One important aspect of ADA compliance is making sure that there are no obstacles in the way of someone who uses a wheelchair. This means removing obstacles like stairs, and replacing them with ramps or installing a stairlift to access a second story. Consider a residential elevator if your budget and home layout allow it.
Widen Hallways and Entryways – Make sure all doorways are wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair. Wider hallways and entryways should be at least three feet wide throughout the home.
Lower Countertop & Shelving Heights – Keep in mind countertops throughout the home should be low enough to use as a workspace. The standard countertop height is 36 inches tall, but ADA requires 34 inches so that faucets and cook-top controls for example are reachable. Also, If your kitchen includes an island, there should be enough room for a wheelchair to navigate around it. Shelving found in closets and storage areas should be no taller than 54 inches.
Keep a Well-Lit Home – It’s also important to make sure that all areas of your home are well-lit. This is not only for the safety of those who have disabilities but for everyone in the home. Good lighting can help to prevent accidents and make it easier to see obstacles that might be in the way. Keep in mind too light switches should be low enough to easily reach, not placed higher than 48 inches in most cases.
Redesign the Bathroom – Bathroom features needed for someone who uses a wheelchair could vary greatly from the needs of a person with a different kind of physical limitation or mobility issue. Many people are also redesigning a bathroom for easier accessibility as they age or for older family members.Here are a few ways to make the bathroom an accessible space:
- The bathroom needs to be roughly five feet in diameter to allow a 360-degree turn by a wheelchair.
- The door needs to swing outward.
- The doors should have latches that can also unlatch from the outside.
- The floor, including the threshold area, needs to be level to allow easy wheelchair access.
- Handrails should be placed throughout the bathroom, including in water closets (toilet areas) and the shower.
- The toilet should be higher and more elongated than a standard toilet, with plenty of room on both sides.
- The vanity should be a floating structure to allow easier access to the sink.
Add an Intercom System for Additional Safety – Should you or your loved one need immediate assistance, consider implementing an intercom system. ADA compliance requires it to be placed at a height accessible to all, including those who are in a wheelchair.
Making your home more accessible does not have to be a difficult task if you work with a trusted general contractor who follows ADA code rules. The tips provided here serve as an overview of what you can expect with an ADA-compliant home – If you need to retrofit your existing home or plan to build a new home that meets ADA standards, our Rossi Construction team of experts will walk you through the dimensions of the designs in detail.
By implementing the above tips, your home will be safer and more comfortable for everyone dwelling there. Some people are even adding an ADA-compliant bathroom to their home to potentially increase their property value and make the home more desirable to potential buyers.
Contact us at 813.436.0177 with any questions or to schedule an appointment for a free consultation today!