Remodeling a Handicapped Bathroom

A remodeled handicapped bathroom will help you achieve aging in place. Many people are now choosing to age in place so that they can be close to friends and family. Their homes are filled with cherished memories and comfortable surroundings. There are a number of ways that you can start planning and remodeling to age in place with a handicap accessible bathroom.

Walls: Reinforce the walls for extra support around the toilet, shower and tub. This will allow you to install grab bars and shower bars where needed in the bathroom.

Cabinetry: Install cabinetry under a sink that is removable to allow for wheelchair access. Place the counter at a height that is accessible from a sitting position. Select drawers that are easy to pull out.

Floors: Create enough clear floor space in the bathroom. Allow a 60 inch turning area of clear space in the bathroom. Use a slip resistant flooring material in the bathroom. Avoid using throw rugs.

Showers: Install a shower with no threshold. Some showers come with a removable threshold that makes it easy to adapt to a roll in shower. Plan to use a shower chair in the shower. Place a light in the shower. Mount the faucet controls offset from center. Install a hand held shower head.

Walk In Tub: Install a walk in tub. This allows a safe transfer in and out of the tub.

Plumbing: Select lever style faucets that are easy to use. Install an anti scald valve in the shower, tub and vanity faucet.

Sink Vanity: Plan to install the sink so that a wheelchair can roll under it without having your knees hit a pipe.

Toilet: Select a comfort height toilet that is about 17 to 19 inches from the floor. Install a toilet paper holder that allows toilet paper to be changed with one hand.

Doors: Widen the doors to allow wheelchair access. Allow 36 inches for the door width.

Electrical: Allow a clear space in front of the light switches and electrical outlets.  Use a rocker style or touch light switch. Place the electrical outlets 15 inches above the floor.

Windows: Install a motorized window shade. Allow plenty of light in the bathroom.

Remodeling a handicapped bathroom will help you to age in place. Plan the bathroom to be on the main level of your home. The money that you spend on remodeling will be saved by not having to go into an assisted living or a nursing home.

How to Widen a Door

for a Handicapped Bathroom

Widening your doors will make it easier to maneuver a walker or wheelchair into a handicapped bathroom. If you are making a straight approach through the door the minimum width of a door should be 32 inches. If the doorway is part of the typical hallway and you need to turn a wheelchair to maneuver through the door than the width of the door should be 36 inches. Widening a door for a handicapped bathroom can be accomplished by installing a new wider door and frame or simply adding an offset hinge.

Widen the Doorway

Hire a remodeling firm or a carpenter to reframe and widen the doorway. Remove the old door and jam. At the same time that the door is being renovated move the light switch lower for easier accessibility. Install the new frame and door. Repair and patch the flooring and wall. Install a lever style handle on the door.

Install a Pocket Door

A pocket door slides open into the wall. This type of door needs enough available space in the wall to slide into. This is a good choice when a door would be in the way and unable to close because of a small area of clear floor space. The sliding pocket door may be harder to open and close for some people but does offer more space to maneuver than a regular doorway.

Install Offset Door Hinges

An offset door hinge is a simple, affordable option for a quick and easy door widening project. These hinges also work well for a temporary need to have a door wider. An offset hinge adds about 2 inches of clear space to the door opening. This hinge replaces your current hinge which is approximately 2″ x 3.5″. The existing screw holes and screws of your current hinge are used to install an offset hinge. Simply remove the old door by taking out the hinge pin.  Remove the hinges and screws from your existing door. Replace the new offset hinge in the same screw holes as the old hinge.

Install Lever Style Door Knobs

Install a lever style door handles on all of your doors. A lever style door handle makes it easy to open a door.

Plan for Aging in Place

Plan ahead when building a new construction or doing a remodeling project for your future needs. Installing wider doors is an important design element in the handicapped bathroom.


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