How to Make Your Home Wheel Chair Accessible

The corrections necessary for a wheelchair-bound person to move throughout your home can seem daunting. Fortunately, you can ease your stress by looking over this itemized list of renovation goals and working out what order to do them.

Entrances

If your home requires a stairway to reach its exterior doors, you can start with a ramp. The particular dimensions of this ramp are partly dependent upon the type of wheelchair involved, the maximum allowed slope for hand-powered wheelchairs is no more than one inch per ever foot of length. If your ramp is 6 feet long, it cannot slope higher than 6 inches. If the person uses an electric wheelchair, ramps can slope as much as 1.5 inches per foot. The ramp should 3 to 4 feet wide.

Doors

All door frames must be widened. While you may be able to skirt by if the door can manage the standard chair width of 25 inches, you may want to strive for 35 inches for some wiggle room. While you might have enough clearance from removing the door’s frame, you may still need to contract a renovation company.

You will also need to remove any door stops so as not to impede the chair. The same goes for any other structural obstruction on the floor-everything should be nice and evened out.

Lastly, you may want to install a chair-level peep hole at the front door.

Floors

A wheelchair runs the risk of wearing out your floor. Here is a breakdown of recommended floor options for wheelchair.

  • Hardwood. Hardwood offers beauty, class and an enviable level of durability.
  • Laminate. Beautiful and durable, this material is also easy to clean free of scratches with the right products.
  • Ceramic Tile. While the water-resistant nature of ceramic makes it ideal for kitchens and bathrooms, you may want to consider installing it throughout the rest of the house if you find a particularly attractive color or pattern. Note that it is best to stick to tiles no more than 2 square inches in size as larger tiles are prone to cracking and breaking.
  • Vinyl. Vinyl combines the water resistance of ceramic with laminate’s durability and ease of installation.

Bathroom

As not all bathrooms are suitable for wheelchairs at the start, it may be best to consult with a renovation company. That being said, here are some broad strokes to consider.

  • Turning Space. The bathroom needs to be free enough to allow the wheelchair to turn a full circle. This means you need to clear the room by at least 5 feet.
  • Toilet Space. There needs to be at least 4 feet of free space in front of the toilet.
  • Rails. A wheelchair-accessible bathroom requires a minimum of three handrails in order to reach the toilet.
    1. One at the wash basin, placed roughly 2.5 feet above the floor. This figure can be tweaked a bit to the person’s particular height in-chair.
    2. Around the bathtub.
    3. Along the shower wall.

Kitchen

Here are some of the broad strokes when it comes to renovating your kitchen.

  • Much like the bathroom, a kitchen needs to offer at least 5 feet of space.
  • Lowered work surfaces. While placing surfaces 2 feet above the ground is a good guideline, this figure should be adjusted to accommodate the person. Whatever allows the person to use the surface from a seated position.
  • Floor-based storage. Storage vessels should be placed along the floor while being compact and wide enough to safeguard cutlery and anything else normally stored in a cupboard or cabinet.
  • Lower Appliances. Ensure things like the oven, clothes washer and so on, can be operated while seated. Double check that every model opens and operates from the side.
  • Extend wall sockets and light switches with pull-chains and the like within easy reach when seated.

Inexpensive and Minor Changes

  • Swap doorknobs for levers positioned within the person’s reach.
  • Install handlebar grips for major locations like bedroom doors.
  • Install a panic button for emergencies.
  • Install a staircase elevator for interior stairways.
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