Accessible Shower Design Basics

Posted March 28, 2016

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 maneuver around with room to spare safely. 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 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—There is no one-size-fits-all installation height for shower heads. 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, we can help.

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