How to Make Your Shower Handicapped Accessible

Handicapped Access Bathroom Shower

Start by reviewing the guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act, for, most often, ADA accessible design standards are the concern of those who intend to serve the general public in some way, whether it’s by running a business or providing a public facility. Of course, the specifics of these guidelines may vary, depending on the building’s intended use. However, these accessibility guidelines are useful for anyone who wishes to meet the needs of the disabled—including homeowners.

ADA shower guidelines are meant to provide information about measurements, materials, and designs that are ideal for the needs of individuals with various disabilities. This includes things like spacing measurements, shower control and spray unit heights, grab bar placement, shower seat strength, threshold requirements, and more.

Examples of ADA shower standards include the following:

  • Standard roll-in showers must be at least 30 in. wide by 60 in. deep, accessible from a front entry at least 60 in. wide.
  • The threshold height for roll-in showers must be no taller than ½ in.
  • Grab bars must be installed horizontally no lower than 33 in. and no higher than 36 in. from the shower floor (unless meant for children, in which case it must be between 18 and 27 in. from the floor).

Handicapped showers must have a shower spray unit with a hose at least 59 in. long mounted no higher than 48 in. from the floor. It should be usable as either a fixed shower head or hand-held sprayer.

Disabled Access Bathtub with Grab Bar Hand Rails

Creating a Handicapped Accessible Shower

In addition to basing your shower design on ADA guidelines, you’ll want to think about how you can tailor your accessible shower to the user. Do you need a roll-in type shower (for wheelchairs) or a transfer type shower (for those who can walk but need to be seated while showering)? Consider whether they have needs beyond the ADA standards. Someone with a large build might need additional shower compartment space, for example.

If you know what you need but aren’t sure how to install it, that’s okay—there are many professional shower installation companies that offer fully ADA-compliant systems that can be personalized and fitted into most bathrooms. If you have an existing shower with compliant dimensions, you might choose a shower surround system that installs in its place.

Additional Tips

Here are a few more ideas for making your handicap accessible shower as comfortable as possible:

Install a glass block shower – These kinds of walls provide a number of benefits over those flimsy thin sliding doors you see in so many showers. Glass blocks can offer balance support for handicapped individuals, and these walls also offer a large degree of privacy. They’re also an effective solution for those looking for a barrier-free shower entrance.

Install waterproof wall panels – It’s a good idea to make your shower as maintenance-free as possible. One way to that is to eliminate standard shower wall tiles. Tiled shower walls can be difficult and time-consuming to clean, so opt for wall panels instead.

Make shower accessories manageable – Creating a well-functioning handicapped shower is more than just a matter of getting doors and shower heads in the right place. Are shower accessories—soap, shampoo, and all that—easily reachable? Trays and recessed niches need to be constructed with that in mind. Make sure you take the individual’s unique preferences and physical challenges into consideration.

The Benefits of Using ADA-Compliant Shower Floor Tiles

A great way to complete your handicap accessible shower is by opting for specialized ADA flooring. The truncated dome pattern on ADA tiles provides a tactile warning surface for those with visual impairments, allowing them to feel for the edges of the shower with their feet. The tiles’ texture also provides traction, protecting those with limited mobility from slipping on a slick shower floor.

ADA Solutions offers a variety of durable ADA detectable warning surface products that can help you create accessible spaces throughout your home or business. Plus, our tactile warning surface tiles are available in a variety of colors, allowing you to coordinate with décor without sacrificing functionality. Explore our selection online, or call us at (800) 372-0519.