Key Elements for An Accessible Bathroom

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If someone in your home uses a wheelchair, you want to make sure as much of the property is as accessible as possible. But there’s nowhere more important than the bathroom. Ensuring the toilet and shower room are accessible is essential for everyone’s wellbeing at home.

Unfortunately, most conventional bathrooms these days are focused on having as much as possible in a small space – rather than having as much space as possible in a small room. If you are looking at a bathroom renovation to accommodate wheelchair access, here are some of our best suggestions: 

Update Your Doors

Start with the door itself. Your door hardware shouldn’t be too heavy to open – you want to be able to open it with one hand, without having to pull it hard or grip it too tight. Round doorknobs aren’t ideal, so opt for lever handles instead, or you even might consider automatic doors. 

Consider the width as well. Accessible doors should also be at least 85 centimetres of clear width. That’s the measurement between the face of the door itself, and the opposite stop. So, whether the door is hinged, folding, or sliding, the space between when it’s fully opened should be no less than 85cm. 

Check the space. You want to make sure there is plenty of room for the wheelchair user to approach the door, reach for the handle, open the door, maneuver through the doorway, and then close the door behind them. 

Check the Flooring

Ensure the floors are stable, level, and durable. Consider the amount of friction each flooring type offers – you want something that is slip-resistant, especially when it’s wet. As texture is also important, and carpet and tiles could be a problem here. You need durable flooring, so your wheelchair doesn’t leave dents, scuff marks and scratches. But you also want to make sure the bathroom flooring also matches the aesthetics of the rest of the home. 

The best types of flooring to consider for your bathroom renovations include small, slip-resistant tiles. Smaller tiles will hold the weight of the wheelchair better and there will be less risk of it cracking. They also create more friction, which will help keep the tires from slipping. Another option is vinyl flooring – it’s water-resistant, durable and the thick protective layers it has will prevent slipping. 

The Fittings and Fixtures

Now that you have the room access and flooring complete, it’s time to consider the fittings and fixtures. The most important thing you need to look at is how easily accessible your shower, toilet and basin are. 

Key elements you might want to include are: 

  • Scald-guard for faucets so the water doesn’t burn and to control water flow
  • Pull out spray tap at the basin, and removable shower head for easy washing
  • Hand railings, particularly near the toilet and shower
  • Portable shower chair or shower stool – you may also consider installing a permanent wall-mounted chair in your shower
  • Towel racks/warmers
  • Emergency call button, should anything go wrong
  • Vent fans to remove moisture from the room
  • A toilet seat that is around 49 centimetres from the ground 

Finally, make sure you have good lighting in the room, with switches low enough so they can be reached while sitting in a wheelchair. Motion sensor lights are also a great idea. 

If you’re ready to get started and looking for a Sydney bathroom renovations company, Crystal Bathrooms is here to help. Get in touch and our bathroom designers will help you come up with the ideal layout and turn your dream bathroom into reality.