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10 Considerations when Designing an Accessible Bathroom

Carl Christianson

Here are some simple things to consider when designing an accessible bathroom in your home or for someone else. G. Christianson Construction has a Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist available to help you design your bathroom remodel.

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1. Hand-held showerheads and shower benches. Inside the shower, hand-held showerheads mounted on a vertical bar allow users of different heights to select the perfect height for  them, or they can choose to use the fixture without the bar as a hand spray.

2. Hand holds. With the high incidence of bathroom falls, remodelers shouldn’t forget to add “hand holds” (aka “grab bar”). They can be built into items such as: a soap dish, towel bar, or a toilet paper holder.

3. Sinks that offer seated access. Pedestal sinks or wall-mounted sinks have space for people who might need to be seated; plus there’s more space for maneuvering in the room.

4. Multi-tasking toilets. There are new toilet/bidet combinations that wash the body and blow warm air for drying, features useful for anyone who might have difficulty managing personal hygiene. Comfort height toilets, typically two inches taller than conventional toilets, can be great for users with mobility issues who find the boost in height makes it much easier to rise from the toilet.

5. Wider doorways. Bathroom doorways in older homes are usually 24 inches, making it difficult for even an average size person to walk through comfortably. Pocket doors are an option, although they add time and cost to a remodel. Widening the door to 32 or 34 inches makes a big difference

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6. Better lighting. Use a mix of lighting, including task lighting. Place lights on either side of a mirror, or mirrored medicine cabinet, rather than above it. Designers are highly recommending some form of daylighting in the bathroom, which can be accomplished by adding a window, skylight, or solar tube. Also recommended are dimmer switches to control light levels, and rocker switches, which don’t require the fine motor skills needed to operate other types of switches.

7. No-slip flooring. Slippery floors are the culprit in many falls, so choose flooring carefully. Tiles with texture provide a better grip surface, and cut down on glare as well.

8. Lever handles instead of door knobs. These are easier to operate for those who have trouble grasping and twisting with their hands.

9. Hands-free faucets that work with sensors, or touch faucets that require only a tap to operate.

10. Walk-in showers. The walk-in shower has no step or edge to it, which removes a tripping hazard, and also opens the shower up to wheelchair users, who can roll in without help. Accessible Shower

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