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Great Options For Wheelchair Accessible Bathroom Vanity

[BLOG] Published: 2021-12-09 - Updated: 2022-06-28

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Great Options For Wheelchair Accessible Bathroom Vanity

There are plenty of bathroom vanities to choose from. If you need one that can accommodate wheelchair users or other people with limited mobility, your options may be narrow. Your options for a vanity that is both attractive and functional are even fewer.

There is however some good news! There are now many ADA-compliant style bathroom vanities models in the market. These allow you to have a comfortable bathroom in a style you love without having to pay for custom work.

What Does It Mean To Be ADA Approved?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) establishes guidelines for design accessibility. It sets what standards certain common fixtures like bathroom vanities must meet to be usable by people with disabilities.

In terms of the law, this is primarily about ensuring that public accommodations are accessible to all people. Many manufacturers use these same guidelines to design more accessible fixtures and furnishings. This helps in alleviating some of the stress of trying to create a more accommodating space.

"Age in place" bathroom renovations can be a wise investment. This is a good option even if no one in your household uses a wheelchair or has specific mobility issues.

Installing accessibility features before you need them is the most effective way to go. This will ensure that your bathroom remains usable even if your mobility deteriorates.

Installing an ADA-compliant single bathroom vanity, grab bars, a taller toilet, or a permanent shower seat is great. Having a planned renovation that prioritizes accessibility can help you stay independent in your own home for longer. (T-Square Company, 2019)

 wheelchair-accessible bathroom vanities

What are the ADA Guidelines?

Adult accessible sinks should not be mounted higher than 34 inches above the floor, according to ADA guidelines. The sink should be set at least 29 inches above the finished floor for children.

Both of these heights are only guidelines and are dependent on the person using the sink. Knee clearance for adults should be 27 inches high by 30 inches wide by 11-25 inches deep.

A knee clearance of 24 inches above the floor is recommended for children and smaller adults. Sinks for handicapped people should have a depth of no more than 6 1/2 inches. In front of the vanity, which measures 30 by 48 inches, there should be a clear associated floor space for approach. (Lowe’s, 2021)

Designing A Wheelchair Accessible Bathroom Vanity and Sinks

There are two types of ADA vanities that have an unobstructed roll under area beneath the sink. These two types are the open type model and the closed model.

Both waste and supply insulating jackets should be applied directly to the pipes in the open type model. This will result in providing protection for the wheelchair user. 

A removable face or panel board covering the pipes should be included in the closed model concealing the pipes. This pipe concealing panel must be installed correctly. This provides the user with the necessary unobstructed legroom.

When it comes to updating a bathroom for better accessibility, you don't have to sacrifice style for function. There is a wide range of universal design products that will make your bathroom safer and more attractive. (T-Square Company, 2019)

Styles Of Wheelchair Accessible Bathroom Vanity

For both standing and sitting positions, mirror height is an important consideration. Consider a full-length mirror or one that is low enough to be used by people of all heights.

The height of the sink basin is particularly crucial. Accessible sink tops should be designed with safe and clear access to the sink, faucet, and vanity tops. This is to provide adequate space underneath for seated users.

However, a good-looking sink isn't the only consideration. It's critical that cleaning is simple. Choose a sink with a polished surface that repels dirt and makes cleaning a breeze. 

There are a variety of shapes to choose from on the market. Some of the units have a rectangular basin with a right-hand faucet. You'll also have the option of choosing between left and right-round options.

Keep in mind that the sink faucet should be easily accessible. Choose lever handles for your faucet. They're more user-friendly than knobs.

To allow for clearance under a vanity or wall mount sinks, consider a shallow vanity depth. Wall-mounted sinks take only a small amount of space. 

When the unit is mounted on the wall, it leaves enough space underneath for you to get underneath. You will also be able to easily access the washbasin. Because of its design, mounting the sink on a wall is quite easy.

In commercial settings, most ADA-compliant vanities have a flat countertop with a built-in sink and faucet. The large under-sink cabinets that are common in most vanity designs will not be found in ADA-compliant bathroom vanities.

That doesn't mean you won't be able to find one that is both physically and functionally suitable for everyday use in a primary home bathroom. (The RTA Store, 2020)

ProTip Takeaway: These measurements for your preferred style bathroom vanities differ depending on the needs of the individual.

Designing Accessible Showers

The shower is a popular place to begin. A low curb and barrier-free shower make bathing much easier to enter and exit. 

Swinging doors are more difficult to operate than glide doors. They are a cost-effective way to enclose the shower while still allowing safe access. You'll also need to add waterproof tile, a shower seat, and grab bars to the bathroom. 

Grab bars can help users or caregivers navigate the shower area safely by providing extra stability. To comply with safety regulations, they must be mounted to studs or secured with the appropriate anchors. For added style, some grab bars resemble decorative towel bars.

A shower seat allows you to sit in the shower, which can help prevent falls while also making it more comfortable. A hand-held showerhead is another useful item that improves comfort and control. (T-Square Company, 2019)

Pro Tip Takeaway: A handheld showerhead that can be easily controlled from the seated area.

Designing Accessible Showers

Wheelchair Accessible Bathtubs

If you prefer a bathtub, getting a walk-in tub with easy access and comfortable seating designs is a good option. It's a lot easier to get in than stepping over the side of a regular tub. For a spa-like experience, get one where the doors form a watertight seal. You will also find some tubs that even include massage jets.

Pro Tip Takeaway: When stepping out of the tub, choose ADA-compliant flooring that is firm, stable, and slip-resistant to help prevent falls.

Wheelchair Accessible Toilets

A taller toilet makes reaching and standing easier in the bathroom. Consider adding side rails for added security. An elevated toilet seat can also be added to a standard (height) commode. 

If you're renovating, place the toilets 18 inches from the side walls. This will allow easy access from a chair or walker, as well as space for grab bars.

If a caregiver is required, make sure there is enough space in the toilet and bathing areas for two people. For wheelchair maneuvering, five feet of open space is ideal. In the event that someone needs to enter to assist, an out-swinging door is advantageous. (Home Thangs, 2018)

Wheelchair Accessible Toilets

Space For Easy Maneuvering And Turning

Your bathroom should, at the very least, have a five-foot-diameter open area. This should give you plenty of room to maneuver and turn. It's also a good idea to leave at least four feet between certain fixtures and in front of them.

While having more space is ideal, making a small bathroom wheelchair accessible is not impossible. All it takes is a little imagination when planning your layout and possibly replacing the existing plumbing.

Install Light Switches And Electrical Outlets

You'll want to make sure that any light switches and electrical outlets in your bathroom are within easy reach. A certified electrician will install them in a location that best suits your needs.

It would also be a great idea to increase the amount of lighting in the bathroom. You could install a window to allow more natural light into the bathroom, or new light fixtures to help brighten it up and provide more even lighting. (Sea Lodge, 2021)

ProTip Takeaway: As a precaution, some accessible bathrooms choose to include the installation of a phone or other type of alert system.

Conclusion

Let's face it, we'll all need accessible housing at some point in our lives. Whether it's for us, a family member, or a visitor, this is true. The desire is not fueled by age, but rather by life's experiences.

 Any family with a disabled member from any generation within its group can always benefit from more accessibility. As a result, everyone involved will feel safer and more independent as they go through life.

It can be difficult to find a disability contractor in Houston Texas. It is difficult to find one who is familiar with the construction guidelines for people with special needs. Check out any potential bidders' credentials before contacting them.

Check out Smart Remodeling LLC who handles aging in place home modifications. We will work with you to achieve wheelchair-accessible home remodeling and modifications. We understand and follow both the federal and, more importantly, the state's requirements. We provide fully handicap-accessible floor plans that are tailored to the needs of each of our clients.

We will help you to begin the accessible second chapter of your life while remaining safe and secure in your current home. Contact us today and schedule a free consultation.

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