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Accessible Shower Design Basics

For many homeowners the idea of universal design – where the environment and plumbing systems are accessible to everyone, whether young, old, big, small or physically disabled – is an important consideration when designing a bathroom. Creating an accessible shower involves more that just making entry and exit as safe and easy as possible. There are other consideration as well, including:

1. Space – If the shower must be large or accommodate a wheelchair, it should be big enough to safely maneuver around with room to spare. If the bathroom is too small for a large shower, consider creating an open bathroom without walls between the shower, sink and toilet. Instead the bathroom can have a central floor drain and use waterproof materials.

2. Curb-less Stalls – To allow ease of entry and prevent tripping, compressible plastic strips can be installed on the floor to contain water. The strips can be rolled over but won’t create a tripping hazard.

3. Non-Slip Surfaces – Tile with a matte finish and wider grout can provide a better gripping surface. Consider adding contrasting accents to tile floors and shower walls, which can help visually impaired occupants.

4. Lighting – Waterproof, compact LED light fixtures are perfect for providing bright light inside shower enclosures.

5. Seating – Consider adding built-in or a fold down seating inside the shower.

6. Storage – Wall niches provide a safe, convenient place to store shower accessories. Having niches at different heights will make them accessible to children and adults.

7. Shower Heads – When it comes to shower heads there is no one-size-fits-all installation height. For the most flexibility consider a rail mounted shower head that can be moved up and down to accommodate everyone from children to tall adults.

8. Grab Bars – Installing grab bars at an angle will make them easier to use at a range of heights.

Need help making your shower more accessible? Call ABC Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electric. We can help.

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