How to Make Your Bathroom Handicap Accessible
If you or a family member uses a wheelchair and you don’t have a handicap accessible bathroom in your home, you’ll need to start thinking about how to update your bathroom to be more accommodating.
At Quality Advantage Home Products, we understand that taking on a project like this can feel overwhelming and it can be hard to know where to begin to ensure that you’ve thought of everything. Use this guide to walk you through every step of the process to help update your bathroom to be wheelchair accessible.
Things to consider before starting a redesign
The first step before getting started with any home improvement project is to think about how the new space will be used. Ask yourself the following questions to help you decide what you need to make your new handicap accessible bathroom functional for your family.
What bathroom activities will you or your family member need assistance with?
The answer to this question will influence the layout of your bathroom and determine whether you need a bathtub, shower, modified toilet seat, etc.
Will medical supplies be stored in the bathroom?
If so, do they need to be in a spot that is easily accessible? Plan out storage options for critical items before starting your renovation.
Would you prefer a tub or shower?
Your bathing area will determine how the rest of your bathroom will look and how much space you’ll need.
Will you or your family member’s condition change over time?
If so, plan for future accommodations now. Ideally, you’ll only have to renovate your bathroom once in your life. It’s a good idea to plan ahead now so you don’t find yourself in need of another renovation a few years down the road.
Once you’re able to answer those questions, you can start thinking about the more specific aspects of the bathroom and consider what you need from your renovation.
Vanities are a popular option in many bathrooms, but they can be limiting and difficult for those in a wheelchair to use. To make your bathroom handicap accessible, we recommend using a wall-mounted sink option instead, which is stylish and offers better wheelchair access. We can set up a sink area that fits your needs and can even replace your faucet with single lever controls to limit the water temperature from getting too hot.
Transferring to a bathtub or shower from a wheelchair can be difficult, especially if the bathing area isn’t designed for wheelchair accessibility. Here are a few safety features to think about adding to your bathroom to make it safer and handicap accessible.
Grab bars offer stability and support, giving you more peace of mind while bathing. Adding a simple grab bar to your shower or bathtub can help prevent a dangerous accident and offer more independence.
Replacing a standard showerhead with a handheld option gives you more freedom when bathing. They make it easier to use from a seated position and give caretakers more flexibility when assisting someone else with bathing.
Wheelchair accessible showers
The high walls of a tub can be dangerous, especially when transferring to and from a wheelchair. A roll-in option allows for the necessary space to comfortably fit your wheelchair in the shower.
A standard toilet may not fit your family’s needs, so you’ll want to think about making adjustments to the toilet area for ease of use.
Toilet seat height
While toilet seat heights can vary by a few inches, many of them are lower than the height of a wheelchair, making for a difficult transfer. You may want to plan to adjust the seat to make it level with your wheelchair.
Toilet Grab bars / Safety Rails
Similar to what we mentioned above, installing grab bars near the toilet will give you better balance and support when transferring to and from the toilet.
An often overlooked area when renovating a bathroom to be handicap accessible, ample lighting is key for keeping you and your family members safe.
Your existing light switches may need to be lowered so they’re more wheelchair accessible. Additionally, switches with large toggles or push buttons may be a better option for your family.
Consider installing motion detection lights in your bathroom for total ease upon entering the space.
One of the most important things to remember when renovating your bathroom to be wheelchair accessible is proper spacing. Accessible bathrooms need to allow for 30” x 48” in front of each plumbing fixture so that there is space to turn around in a wheelchair. Likewise, doorways must be a minimum of 34” wide.
Get creative with space
Sometimes, all it takes is a little creativity to maximize the space in your bathroom so that it can be wheelchair accessible. For example, outward swinging doors allow for more space within the bathroom. When working with a small space, try reworking the layout a few times until you can fit everything you need. Sometimes swapping the location of the toilet and the sink is all it takes to allow for a bigger entrance that will accommodate a wheelchair.
Before breaking ground on your handicap accessible renovation, take a few moments to think about small changes that can make a big impact in terms of accessibility in your bathroom. For example, you might want to install a bidet, as it’s a good option for those with limited mobility and it can help with hygiene concerns.
Similarly, you can replace doorknobs and faucet handles with lever handles, which are easier to use for those with hand coordination issues. And, don’t forget to remove tripping hazards from the floor, like bathmats, rugs, and scales.
Why choose Quality Advantage Home Products?
For more than 20 years, our team has been specializing in bathroom renovations in Virginia. As a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist, we are experienced in bathroom modifications to help homeowners stay in their homes safely and securely.
We truly believe that when it comes to remodeling your bathroom to be handicap and wheelchair accessible, we’re the best in the business. And our customers think so too!
Schedule a free consultation
Now that you’ve thought about the details of what you need to make your bathroom wheelchair accessible, take the next step by reaching out to home improvement contractors in your area. We’d love to talk with you about the details of your project and show you why we’re the best bathroom remodeler in Hampton Roads and surrounding areas.
Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today to learn more about how we can transform your bathroom into an accessible, safe, and more stylish space in your home.