Grab bars provide safety in the bathroom.
There are universal guidelines to follow when designing a handicap-accessible bathroom. These guidelines suggest the height for toilets, sinks, showers, light switches and the amount of space that is needed to maneuver a wheelchair. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 guidelines can be found at www.access-board.gov. Many products are available to make a bathroom handicap-accessible, and they can be both stylish and functional.
- Make a list of your needs and wants. Browse magazines and cut out pictures of items that you want to include in your handicap-accessible bathroom. Visit websites that offer products for accessibility. Select items that you wish to use in your bathroom, and print pictures of the items and any product information sheets.
- Create a binder to store your ideas and pictures. Use tabs to separate products such as shower, vanity, flooring, toilet, and accessories. Insert pictures and product information sheets in the binder.
- Draw a floor plan of the bathroom on graph paper. Draw the placement of the tub or shower, toilet, sink, and vanity. Keep a minimum clear floor space of 30 inches by 48 inches to accommodate a single wheelchair. A wheelchair will need a space of at least 60 inches in diameter to make a 360-degree turn. Allow plenty of clear space to maneuver a wheelchair freely in the bathroom.
- Plan a space for the door that is at least 32 inches wide, but preferably 36 inches wide. Choose a pocket door to allow more space in the bathroom.
- Design the bathroom sink with space underneath to allow a wheelchair to roll under it. Leave between 30 inches and 34 inches of clear space under the sink. Use faucets that have lever handles. Place the towel bars in “reaching distance” from a sitting position.
- Plan a walk-in tub or shower. Design a shower seat or allow room for a shower wheelchair to be used.
- Design the mirrors to tilt so that they can be seen from a sitting position.
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