When Is ADA Compliance Legally Required?

ADA americans with disabilities act image

The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) provides certain protections for those with disabilities to provide an equal opportunity to access, like for people without disabilities. For business owners, it is important to understand when you are legally required to be ADA-compliant.

The ADA applies to organizations and businesses that fit one or more of the following criteria:

  • All local, county, state, and federal government agencies.
  • Any business that relies on the general public or for their benefit.
  • Privately run companies that currently have 15 or more employees.
  • Non-profit and charitable organizations which either have 15 or more employees or which operate for the benefit of the general public.

A good general guideline you can use to determine if your business should be ADA-compliant is to answer this question: “Does your business or organization have places or areas that are designed for public accommodation?”
equality for those with disabilities image
Public accommodation is defined broadly and could include one or more of the following types of businesses or locations:

  • Retail Stores
  • Restaurants
  • Public Parks
  • Public Restrooms
  • Airports
  • Train/Rail/Subway Stations and Terminals
  • Bus Stations and Terminals
  • Healthcare Facilities and Hospitals
  • Resorts, Hotels, and Motels
  • Apartment and Rental Properties
  • Public Sidewalks
  • Parking Garages
  • Sports Stadiums/Arenas
  • Schools/Colleges/Universities

Essentially, any areas where people have access without any restrictions should follow the ADA requirements. It is equally important to remember that privately run businesses that do not rely on the general public or function for their benefit can still be bound by the ADA, so long as they have 15 or more people in their employ.

How Can a Business Verify ADA Compliance?

The Department of Justice (DOJ) oversees the ADA requirements. The DOJ highly recommends businesses and organizations perform their own self-evaluations to determine whether their operations meet current ADA standards of compliance.1

To help get you started, let’s look at a general overview of what you can do:

  • Step 1: Create a floor plan for your business and its layout.
    You can sketch this or make one on the computer—whatever is easier for you. On the floor plan, make sure to include the location of furniture, doorways, entryways, elevators, stairways, and so on. Be as detailed as possible to include every aspect.

  • Step 2: Review the floorplan layout.
    The next step requires gathering a tape measure and taking measurements. You need to measure the width of doors, aisles, and other areas people walk through. These areas should be wide enough to accommodate people in wheelchairs, without any obstructions.
    In addition, in bathrooms, there should be at least one stall with a door wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair. The toilet in this stall also needs to be installed at the correct ADA-required height and include handrails. You will also need at least one sink installed that is accessible from a wheelchair.

  • Step 3: Make a list of action items that need to be addressed.
    As you are walking around your business and taking measurements, make a note of anything that does not meet current ADA measurement requirements. These items will need to be corrected in order to ensure ADA compliance.

  • Step 4: Put yourself in the place of a person with disabilities.
    A great way to tell how disabled-friendly is your business would be to get a wheelchair and use this to get around. Can you open doors easily and get in and out without any obstructions or problems? Are there specific areas where corners seem tight? You could also put on a blindfold and use a cane to walk around to see whether there are concerns or issues you need to address for people with visual impairments.

  • Step 5: Don’t forget to do an assessment outside of your building.
    ADA requirements extend to the exterior of your business, as well. You need to make sure accessing your building is possible. Two areas of importance are parking lots and sidewalks. Parking lots should have a certain percentage of handicap-accessible parking spaces that are clearly marked and fairly close to the main entrance.

    These spaces have to be wide enough to accommodate a van with a wheelchair lift. Additionally, there should be a clearly defined ADA walkway or crossing for people to use to cross traffic and gain access to your building.

    For a sidewalk, there needs to be a ramp for access to your building. The ramp should be near the main entrance and not hidden on the side or back where getting to it can be difficult. Ramps have to be at a specific incline and should include some type of ADA-detectable warning surface, like truncated domes.

    There are different types of ramps allowed under the ADA. As such, each one has its own specific requirements regarding width, placement, and so on, which you will need to review. In some settings, you may also be required to install handrails on the exterior of ramps.

Please keep in mind, this is just a general overview and does not include every specific requirement you may need to consider for your business.

The ADA offers different checklists that can be used for existing structures as well as new construction. In some cases, an existing structure may fall under previous ADA requirements, depending on when it was built. However, if any renovations or updates are made to the facility, then the business could be required to bring all ADA standards up to date using the current requirements.

What Areas Should Be Given Priority for ADA Compliance?

The ADA recommends breaking down your facility into four different priority areas when creating your checklist.2 The top priority is accessibility to approaching and entering the building. If people cannot access your building, then it will not matter what areas of your building are ADA-compliant.
The second priority is in regards to what type of access people with disabilities have to services, goods, and products your business offers. Basically, is it easy for them to get around and obtain the things they need? Or are there obstacles in their way that you need to resolve?
Your third priority is the accessibility of restrooms. You only need to worry about bathrooms if you offer the general public access to them or have 15 or more people in your employ.

The fourth priority applies to other areas of your building and business, such as:

  • Elevator Call Buttons and Control Panels
  • Public Telephones
  • Self-Help Building Directories
  • Self-Service Kiosks
  • Drinking Fountains
  • Vending Machines
  • Employee Break Areas

Don’t forget, the ADA covers more than just accessibility for people with disabilities. It also applies to employment opportunities, internet websites, and more. This is why you will want to obtain a copy of the current standards and review these in detail to see which ones apply to your business.
gray warning safety surface

Where Can I Obtain ADA Flooring and Warning Surface Products?

Detectible warning surface must be installed in areas where there is a public right-of-way, like store entrances, crosswalks, walkways in parking lots, and so on. When looking for ADA flooring with raised tactile domes and warning surfaces, you need to make sure the supplier’s products meet all current ADA regulations and specifications.

At ADA Solutions, all of our products satisfy all current ADA requirements and specifications. We even offer a wide range of colors of tactile warning surfaces. While the ADA does not have any requirements regarding colors, except that they contrast with light and dark, some cities and states do have specific ordinances and laws that require businesses to use a specific color.
We offer ADA detectable warning surface products for existing sidewalks and walkways that can be installed over the surface. We also offer cast-in-place solutions for newly poured sidewalks and walkways, as well as replaceable panel options.

To learn more about our ADA-compliant surface products or assistance in selecting the right ones for your business, please feel free to contact ADA Solutions at (800) 372-0519 today!

Accidents Involving the Disabled: Common Causes and Prevention

For those who are not disabled, the relative ease of daily tasks is often taken for granted. The non-disabled have few problems getting to work, running errands, or crossing a busy street; the world has largely been designed for this majority. For a disabled person, however, the experience is very different. A visually impaired person, for example, may be unable to drive to work, have trouble using crosswalks, or be injured by a hazard he or she cannot see.

According to the World Health Organization, more than one billion individuals in the world are disabled in some way. Of those, approximately 285 million are visually impaired (having significantly low vision that cannot be helped with corrective lenses alone).¹ In the United States, the National Federation of the blind reports that more than seven million people have some form of visual impairment.²

Unfortunately, even with millions of disabled individuals worldwide, there are still many spaces that aren’t as accessible or safe for the disabled as they are for others. Because of this, the disabled tend to be at greater risk of an accident.

Common Accidents and Their Causes

The following are a few common types of accidents involving disabled persons, as well as their typical causes:

  • Falling
  • Common causes: Slippery surfaces that could not be avoided or foreseen due to their disability; tripping over hazards (e.g., uneven sidewalks); attempting to go upstairs when a ramp is unavailable.
  • Getting Hit by a Motor Vehicle
  • Common causes: Failure by drivers to acknowledge pedestrians in wheelchairs; inability to distinguish between the sidewalk and the road (if visually impaired).
  • Injury from Objects or Other People
  • Common causes: ADA non-compliance and unrecognized hazards (e.g., narrow store aisles), disregard for disabled individuals in a crowded space; lack of appropriate safety measures.

Using ADA Tiles to Prevent Accidents and Support Accessibility

One way to create safe, accessible spaces is to use ADA tiles to alert the visually impaired to areas bordering roadways, parking lots, and other areas of potential danger. ADA-detectable warning tiles feature a unique textured surface that can be felt through most types of footwear, providing a tactile alert to the person that he or she is approaching a curb or crosswalk. This type of warning is especially important now that curb design has become more sloped, making it more difficult to feel for the edges.

The use of ADA warning tiles for accident prevention and accessibility has numerous benefits for those installing them, as well. Using modular tiles to create tactile warning surfaces makes the application simple, flexible, and easy to replace. Focusing on accessibility and safety for the visually impaired also ensures that businesses aren’t alienating an entire group of potential customers.

The Unique Design of Detectable Warning Surface Tiles

Perhaps the most important aspect of tactile surface tiles is their carefully planned texture. While the bumps on the surface of the tiles may seem arbitrary, they’re manufactured to specifications provided in the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG). The shape, known as the “truncated dome,” has been determined to be ideal for detectability and overall surface safety. To be compliant with the ADAAG, each dome must be within the defined height, diameter, and spacing ranges.

It’s not just about the truncated dome, however; every aspect of an ADA-detectable warning tile’s design is intended to support safety for everyone who might come in contact with it. The texture, for example, is important not just for being easily detected by visually impaired persons; it’s also perfect for providing grip in otherwise slippery conditions.

ADA tiles can also be manufactured in a variety of colors, the most popular being a bright, easily visible shade of yellow. These different color options make it possible for development planners to create high contrast between the tiles and their surrounding surfaces, making the tiles ideal as visual cues for the sighted.

Your Obligations as a Business Owner or Public Servant

If you own a business or are responsible for planning a public space, you’ll need to make sure that your plans meet certain safety and accessibility standards. In addition to obeying all relevant building codes in your area, you have an obligation to meet ADA accessibility guidelines so that disabled individuals can easily access the space and be protected from accidents.

The ADAAG cover a variety of topics, including (but not limited to) the following:

  • Minimum accessibility requirements
  • Accessible room design
  • Bathroom stalls
  • Object heights (sinks, mirrors, hand dryers, soap dispensers, light switches, etc.)
  • Building entrance ramps
  • Detectable warnings (ADA flooring, ADA walkway requirements)
  • Detectable through footwear by the visually impaired
  • Sizing (minimum 6-8 inches from back of curb)
  • Truncated dome texture design
  • Signage
  • Curb Ramps
  • Usable by those with walkers, wheelchairs, scooters, etc.
  • Sloped transition from the street up to the walkway
  • Design of accessible routes
  • Doorways, elevators, hallways, etc.
  • Appropriate slope and width measurements
  • Alternatives to stairs
  • Sufficient turning space (for wheelchairs, scooters, etc.)

While following all of these different regulations might seem like unnecessary red tape, remember that they exist to protect and support the needs and safety of everyone, regardless of their abilities. It’s also not as difficult or time-consuming as you might think; ADA Solutions’ detectable warning surfaces, for example, are easy to order, install, and replace as needed.

Before you solidify your plans or do any installations, make sure that you look into all of the relevant construction, safety, and accessibility laws in your state and community. Depending on where you live, you may have other legal requirements in addition to the federal ADA guidelines.

ADA Solutions Is an Industry Leader in Detectable Warnings

Whether you need ADA tiles for new construction, to correct compliance issues, or to replace old worn-out surfaces, you can trust the superior warning tile products at ADA Solutions. Our fully ADA-compliant tiles are made from heavy-duty materials like cast iron and fiberglass polymer composites, giving you years of reliable function without wear. Our tiles are also UV stable, which means that even years in direct sunlight won’t change their color or contrast.

ADA Solutions offers a range of detectable warning surface products for various applications:

  • Cast-in-place tiles (standard or replaceable)
  • Delivered ready for installation in freshly poured concrete.
  • Made from durable composite materials, ideal for long-term use.
  • Replaceable version has a surface piece that is anchored into panel body for easy replacement after years of wear.
  • Surface applied tiles
  • Ideal for retrofitting and quick installation (5-10 minutes, in some cases).
  • Thin, bevel-edged tiles provide a safe transition when installed on the surface of existing concrete.
  • Radius systems
  • Designed to support accessibility and ADAAG compliance along curved areas (radius conditions).
  • Easy, fast cutting with pre-scored radius measurements at 10, 15 and 20 feet.
  • No cutting needed for radiuses of 11-13 feet.
  • Cast iron “Irondome” tactile systems
  • Exterior grade tactile warning surface tiles cast from solid, extremely durable iron.
  • Natural finish of cast iron meets ADA color requirements.
  • Eligible for LEED® points (ideal for businesses seeking LEED® certification).
  • Replaceable graphic tile systems
  • Custom-designed tiles featuring full four-color graphics, messaging, and/or advertisements.
  • Artwork can be displayed across one or more tiles.
  • Replaceable for easy updating of graphics and messaging.
  • Other products
  • Photoluminescent “Glow-Dome” systems.
  • Wayfinding surfaces.
  • All of our tactile warning surface products are designed to meet ADAAG standards. With appropriate installation, our tiles provide full compliance and maximum accessibility.

    To learn more about how you can prevent accidents involving the disabled and meet your obligations to safety and accessibility, explore our products online or call ADA Solutions at (800) 372-0519.


    1. http://www.who.int/blindness/GLOBALDATAFINALforweb.pdf
    2. https://nfb.org/blindness-statistics

What Does It Mean? Public Safety Signage in the U.S.

all-way stop sign

In the United States, both corporations and public safety organizations alike do their best to improve public safety by making the public aware of various hazards. The most common way to communicate this information is through the use of bright, clear messaging on easy-to-read signs, but it isn’t always easy to figure out what these signs mean. Furthermore, some people can’t see signs at all—including those with vision problems.

In today’s post, we’ll talk about what some of these signs really mean, as well as how you can best respond to them. We’ll also tell you how your organization can make it easier to recognize hazard zones even when individuals aren’t able to use visual cues.

Sign Colors and Their Meanings

  • The first thing you need to understand about signage in the United States is that color is extremely important. Not only does it make signs visually recognizable from a distance, but it also directly correlates to what the sign means.
  • Red is one of the most common sign colors. This bright, bold color is normally used to show the need to stop, either at intersections or other road hazards. You’ll find this color used on stop signs, yield signs, prohibition signs, and more.
  • White, on the other hand, is bright and bold in a different way. It stands out against the road and is easier to see at night. This color is only really used in regulatory signs, such as speed limit signage.
  • As you might guess, signs with green coloring indicate permission to go; the direction of traffic; and guidance for turnoffs, intersections, or overpasses. They are also sometimes used to identify the name of places, highways, or turnoffs.
  • Signs that are bright neon yellow or bright neon green, on the other hand, are mostly used to identify crossings where the risk of injuries is extremely high. This includes crosswalks near schools, hospitals, and, sometimes, shopping malls.
  • Orange is normally used for warning or hazard signs, such as bumps, uneven roads, sharp turns, or construction. This color grabs attention because it is used far less often than other road signs.
  • Coral signs are rare; they typically indicate an incident management event or emergency response is unfolding. This may include accidents on the road.
  • Blue signs provide guidance on local services, information on exits or turn-offs to “civilization” after long stretches of highway, or information detailing how to get assistance from road services.
  • Last, brown signs are governmental and/or state-based indicators for areas of special interest. Most Americans see this type of sign when they visit state or national parks.

The Problem with Visual Signs

road construction sign

Visual signs are a fantastic way to communicate safety or other information as citizens move around—but only if the citizens in question can see. Some Americans can’t visually confirm signage. These individuals may struggle to get around or stay safe if cities and towns don’t find alternative ways to communicate this vital information to them.

The good news is that there are ways to achieve this goal. ADA detectable warning surfaces take signs to the ground, putting a slightly textured surface underfoot. They’re most often used in doorways, entrances, intersections, and crosswalks. When visually impaired people walk over one of these surfaces, they feel the change in texture and know to use caution. This is a far more ideal and accessible choice compared to bright road signs, which are useless for those who are visually impaired.

At ADA Solutions, we provide access to a broad range of Detectable Warning and Wayfinding Products . You can help to make the environment in your local area safer and more amenable for visually impaired people with each tile you install. We are all responsible for making our world more accessible—won’t you help?

Can Businesses Be Sued for Not Having ADA-Compliant Surfaces?

One of the areas the ADA oversees is the protection of customers with disabilities who enter public spaces. They provide safety codes for businesses to adhere to in order to ensure the safety of anyone who visits the premises—but what happens when a company doesn’t follow the ADA flooring specifications and a person is injured on-site? Can businesses be sued for not having ADA-compliant surfaces?

Is Suing Even an Option?

The short answer to this question is yes. Property owners are responsible for doing whatever they can to prevent others from being injured on their premises. So, companies must adhere to ADA flooring standards at all times. Your business can potentially be sued by individuals who suffer injuries on your property.

What Does the ADA Cover?

ADA legislation exists to make publicly available spaces more accessible and safe for patients who have mobility issues. This includes sidewalks, entry ramps, hospitals, retail outlets, housing units, public facilities, grocery stores, and banks. The ADA provides clear outlines of what is required of property owners to ensure ADA flooring and ADA walkways are accessible at all times.

What Can Happen in a Non-ADA Compliant Space?

Someone who is injured in a non-ADA-compliant public space has the option of filing a complaint with the government. They may also file a premises liability claim against the business where the individual was hurt. A premises liability case looks at injuries sustained on private and public property and whether they were influenced by negligence—such as refusing to meet ADA-compliance standards.

Examples of ADA Specifications

ADA regulations are very extensive, especially when it comes to public spaces. Many business owners implement these regulations because they’re common knowledge. However, they may not be fully aware of other implementations that are just as important.

Here are some of the most important highlights:

  1. Wheelchair ramps at main entryways and potentially side entrances
  2. Ensuring curb entrances to sidewalks are accessible to everyone
  3. Proper positioning of merchandise shelving to be reachable
  4. Installing specialized doorway hinges or installing wider doors
  5. Leaving space between obstacles for easier wheelchair movement
  6. Replacing high-pile carpets to reduce or totally remove tripping hazards
  7. Installing grab bars and raised toilet seats in bathrooms to improve safety

If you haven’t sought out ADA-compliant renovations, this list is the best place to start. Even the most simple changes can help you assist people with disabilities to become happier and comfortable when they visit your business.

How Premise Liability Cases Work

sidewalk curb anti slip pad

In premise liability cases, the property owner is the defendant. Slip and fall claims are the most common injury case for public spaces, though they’re not the only type a company without ADA flooring may face. The absence of grab bars in bathrooms is another common example.

In each case, the complainant’s lawyer will look for previous injury cases, investigate the premises, and reach out to the property owner’s insurance company to receive compensation. If they can prove that you purposefully avoided ADA compliance, you may be held liable.

ADA compliance protects your business from liability cases in the event of injuries or accidents, especially if you can prove you made attempts to install ADA-compliant elements. Protect your company today by contacting ADA Solutions for guidance and compliance products.

How ADA Solutions Provides Innovation and Quality Warning Surfaces

sidewalk curb anti slip pad

At ADA Solutions, we believe that every American has an important role to play in making our world more accessible to the disabled. For over 20 years, we have been serving customers and clients all across the country who strive to make spaces safer and more accommodating for everyone. We’re proud of our role in providing America’s businesses, contractors, and individuals with the products they need to create a safer America, sidewalk to sidewalk, pathway to pathway.

As an industry leader in ADA detectable warning surfaces, we are constantly innovating our products and processes. Get to know us in this post and learn what makes us such a unique leader when it comes to accessibility.

Strong Company Values

Integrity. Quality. Commitment. Innovation. These four little words define how we serve every customer, from someone just seeking advice to someone installing curb ramps across the better part of an entire city. Our employees work diligently and consistently to exceed expectations to bring you the easiest and best experience ordering the products you need.

Strong Connections to the Disability Community

Over the years, we’ve remained deeply involved and connected to the disability community. This includes organizations for the blind, the mobility-challenged, the elderly, and individuals deeply involved in leading-edge accessibility research. We consider it our duty to design every product to exceed ADA compliance standards by offering user-friendliness and ease-of-use.

As a company operating in the accessibility sphere, we know how important it is to listen to what people with disabilities really need. We remain actively involved in and actively participating in national, local, and global initiatives for a barrier-free world.

America’s Leader in Detectable Warning Systems

As an industry leader in detectable warning systems all across North America, ADA Solutions consistently strives to improve upon existing products. Our experts spend countless hours in the background researching, developing and testing new products,  in an effort to find the right balance between ease of use and safety.

Every product we sell is backed by research and rigorously tested for adherence to guidelines under the Americans with Disabilities Act. This includes our tactile surfaces, wayfinding surfaces, radius systems, cast-in-place tiles, as well as our line of Cast Iron products . From extreme precision manufacturing to technical support after any purchase, our goal is to help you remain ADA-compliant at all times.

brick red & yellow surface applied warning tiles

Experience and Skill

ADA compliance is important, but understanding the nuances of the ADA guidelines can be extremely difficult for laypersons. We are committed to ensuring that all members of our staff stay on top of new changes to these guidelines so that they can better answer your questions and serve your needs. With a history spanning over 65 million square feet of installed detectable warning systems, we have the longest and largest portfolio of past clients of any company in America.

At ADA Solutions, we know that every system we sell and every customer we service brings America one step closer to becoming fully barrier-free. That’s why we enter every interaction with integrity, respect, and a desire to help. Reach out to us today to learn more about accessibility products for your business.

Making Our Cities Safer, One Walkway at a Time

front side of ramp way to support wheelchair disabled people

Are you familiar with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)? Did you know that the ADA holds specific guidelines for walkways, sidewalks, and walking areas that American businesses must adhere to? These ADA guidelines specify exactly how walkways must be installed and how you must make them safe, including specific measurements, so they are traversable by patrons and employees with disabilities.

In this post, we’ll explore Curb Ramps and Pedestrian Crossings Under Title II of the ADA. By following these guidelines for ADA walkways, you can help make our cities and towns safer, one walkway at a time.


The ADA’s guidelines for sidewalks also apply to businesses that are responsible for the care and ownership of sidewalks or walkways alongside roads. They specify that the sidewalk cross-slope (the angle or slope from side to side, rather than along the walkway) must be no more than two percent. Both walkways and sidewalks must have a minimum clear width of no less than six feet to prevent collisions; more space is better if the space is available.

The ADA also defines lengthwise slope (the normal path a patron would traverse while passing by) for safety reasons. Any sidewalk or walking path that achieves a slope of 1:20 or more is no longer considered a sidewalk; instead, it is defined as a ramp and must be adjusted to follow ADA ramp guidelines.

For sidewalks that traverse upward or downward on steep hills, additional guidelines apply. Businesses must create level plateaus or landings along the path at each point in which the sidewalk elevation changes by 30 inches or more. For example, if a sidewalk is 100 feet long, and changes elevation by 30 inches every 10 feet, the business must install a landing every 10 feet.

Sidewalk Curb Ramps

woman on wheelchair entering the platform

Sidewalk curb ramps allow wheelchairs and people with mobility challenges to avoid the need to “step up” onto curbs. They are an essential part of accessibility and, as you might expect, are required by law in nearly every U.S. city.

The ADA guidelines state that all sidewalk curb ramps must maintain a cross-slope of two percent or less. Furthermore, you must install a landing at the highest point; it should be as close to level as possible with no more than a two percent slope, either crossways or lengthwise. This ensures people can safely come to a point of rest without rolling backward if they’re navigating via wheelchair.

Limits on steepness require that ramps never exceed 1:12. They should also have full-width ADA detectable warning systems installed in at least one spot on the ramp. For best results, install these systems in the first two feet of ramp at the bottom or start of the ramp.

As a business or property owner, you have a major role to play in helping people with disabilities enjoy freedom, independence, and safe enjoyment of available services. At ADA Solutions, we create custom warning systems to help businesses just like you better serve special populations. Give us a call today to ask us how we can help.

Important ADA Standards Businesses Should Follow for Surfaces

wooden bridge for wheelchair users

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a group of civil rights laws that exist to prevent discrimination against individuals with physical and mental disabilities. This includes mandates that demand businesses create accessible routes, like ramps and risers, that allow patients who struggle with mobility to reach, access, or enter public spaces.

This mini-guide contains important ADA-compliant standards businesses should follow for surfaces, with helpful tips to ensure your space meets all the necessary requirements.

Public Accommodations

It’s easier than you may think for your business to breach ADA regulations inadvertently. That’s a problem because lacking public accommodations in your building is considered a form of discrimination in many scenarios. ADA legislation applies to anything regarded as public space or accessible by the public, even if your business is privately owned.

Need a few examples? Restaurants, hotels, doctor’s offices, private schools, and daycare centers all fall under public accommodation law.

Public accommodations include a wide variety of structures and building designs. The ADA measure defines the minimum standards of accessibility required when altering existing and newly constructed buildings. The mandate also states that any existing barriers should be removed, assuming it’s easy to remove them and isn’t prohibitively expensive.

Business owners must make “reasonable modifications” to the ways they typically run their company to accommodate disabled individuals. These additions may include handrails, ramps, ground markers, and landing areas. Specific dimensions and designs for these structures are located on the ADA website.

Accessible Flooring

Installing accessible flooring in your business isn’t strictly mandated by the ADA—at least, not in most circumstances—but it’s still wise to consider constructing or modifying your building with ADA flooring to attract more clients and avoid any potential legal issues. Depending on how you want to design and style your business, you have several options available when it comes to ADA-compliant flooring.

Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood flooring is an excellent multi-purpose material, and it’s inherently ADA compliant. It has a very luxurious, high-end look that’s well-suited for business spaces, livening up any room, and it is also remarkably easy to clean.

The key to using hardwood in a business is to find the right type of wood. Avoid softer woods, like pine and fir, because they scuff and dent much easier than harder woods. Turn to oak, ash, cherry, maple, and cedar instead.

Ceramic Tile Flooring

Ceramic tiles are also suited to meet ADA regulations, but, like hardwood, it matters which ceramic style you choose. Avoid ceramics that have uniformly smooth surfaces, as they are traditionally slippery and may cause accidents. Tiles with textured surfaces that are at a minimum two inches in length are ideal for meeting ADA standards.

Vinyl Flooring Tiles

Vinyl flooring is a great option if you’re looking for something cheaper that’s easy to clean, water-resistant, and compliant. This material is ideal for kitchens and bathrooms, and an inlaid variation is more likely to be compliant with ADA regulations, as it is more secure. There are also luxury vinyl tiles with foam backing to make them more comfortable to traverse.

Carpet Flooring

Carpet is very resistant to slipping, but thick carpeting creates too much friction for ADA standards and can trip guests. Your carpet cannot have a thickness of greater than 1.5 inches, so look for shorter, compact piles. It’s also a cheaper alternative and is relatively easy to install compared to other types of flooring material.

Where to Find It

It can be challenging to find the right vendor for your ADA compliant flooring needs. If you’re having trouble finding the perfect ADA flooring for your business, help is available. ADA Solutions offers a wide variety of stylish ADA flooring at highly competitive prices.

How to Find the Right ADA Surface for Your Building

wet concrete on new sidewalk construction

Creating accessible pathways into buildings is one part of building design that many people overlook. It’s easy for those without mobility hindrances to take ADA-compliant ramps and walkways for granted or to not notice them at all. It’s not possible to overlook these features as someone who designs building blueprints and layouts or needs more accessible routes in their current floorplan. You’ll need an inspection to know exactly which ADA flooring you need, but these tips will help you get started on the right path.

Plan Ahead

Figuring out what type of specialized flooring you’ll need involves careful planning and precise measurements. You’ll need some tools, floor plans, checklists, and a companion to help you out. You could do the survey yourself, but it’s far easier and faster when two people are involved. One of you can take measurements; the other can keep track of your checklists and take photos of the area.

Get your hands on the floor plans of the area you’re surveying. Study the layout and develop a general picture in your head of what you want the end result to look like. Take into account any entrances, drinking fountains, bathrooms, and other important landmarks that may change your plans. If you don’t have access to any floor plans, you should make a sketch of the area to work with. Make a checklist of places and elements of interest for your partner to keep tabs on while you perform your inspection.

Finally, gather up all the tools you’ll need for the job. Most of the tools listed below are standard for every inspection job. Others, like a carpenter’s level, you may not need. Most wheelchairs are around 24 inches in length, so do your best to find a level of this length if necessary. Ensure your bag or backpack is large enough to hold everything you need.

  1. Checklists and clipboard
  2. Floorplan
  3. Tape measure
  4. Digital camera
  5. Tablet
  6. Door pressure gauge
  7. 24-inch electronic or carpenter’s level

It’s Survey Time

Beginning your inspection from the outside will save you time and prevent potential headaches. Make a detailed survey of the most common and accessible arrival points to your building. Drop-off areas, sidewalks, and main entryways are high-traffic areas that you’ll need to get right before moving on. Van drop-off points are also something to keep in mind when determining what sort of ADA flooring you’ll need in your entryways.

(H2) Parking Spaces

Ensure your parking areas have the required number of accessibility spots in them. There may be differences in that number, depending on whether it’s a garage or a lot. Then, double check to see if your accessibility spots have easy access to your accessibility entrances and ramps. Each of these areas should have signs to point visitors in the right direction to those zones. You can continue your inspection inside the building once you’ve ensured that all exterior areas and entrances are properly set up.

Installing ADA-compliant walkways, ramps, and flooring in and around your building is a great boon to your business. Do you need high-quality and reliable accessibility flooring? ADA Solutions is here to help you with all your accessibility needs.

How to Make Your Shower Handicapped Accessible

Handicapped Access Bathroom Shower

Start by reviewing ADA guidelines, 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.
  • Thresholds 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).

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.

The Benefits of  Using ADA Tiles

A great way to complete your 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.

Detectable Warning Surfaces Increase Safety, Ensure ADA Compliance

Detectable warning surfaces play an important role in our society’s efforts to improve safety and quality of life for men and women with disabilities. These truncated domes give sight-impaired people warning of hazards that may be present when they’re crossing streets or boarding trains or buses. A growing number of municipal governments and businesses are adopting them to meet Americans with Disability Act requirements and because it’s the right thing to do.

detectable warning surfaces truncated domes


Significant Sight-Impaired Population in the U.S.

There is a large population in the U.S. of the sight-impaired. The term “sight-impaired” is broad and covers a wide spectrum of people, including those who are legally blind and those who suffer from vision loss. According to the National Federation of the Blind, there are more than 7 million people in the U.S. who have significant vision loss. Worldwide, the World Health Organization estimates that 285 million people are visually impaired, and 39 percent of them are blind.

One of the major challenges of living with sight impairment is the impact it has on daily tasks that the sighted often take for granted. Tasks like walking to a nearby location or using public transportation become significantly more difficult—and even dangerous—when one cannot see obstacles and hazards in one’s path.

A study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that blind people have significantly more difficulty in safely crossing streets when they had to rely on hearing alone to navigate the crossing. Truncated domes on ground surfaces provide a tactile warning to sight-impaired people that hazardous conditions or a change in conditions lies ahead, reducing the chance that these men and women will be injured.

detectable warning surface on sidewalk

What Are Detectable Warning Surfaces?

Detectable warning surfaces are ground surfaces that have a distinctive pattern of truncated domes that sight-impaired people can detect using their feet or a cane. Detectable warning surfaces notify sight-impaired people that street crossings or hazardous drop-offs are ahead.

For example, at a pedestrian street crossing where the pedestrian route transitions to the street route with a flush instead of a curbed connection, detectable warning surfaces would alert sight-impaired pedestrians to this change. At train stations or bus stops, detectable warning surfaces are used to indicate unprotected drop-offs along the edges of boarding platforms.

blind man with seeing eye dog

The ADA & Detectable Warning Surfaces

The Americans with Disabilities Act is the major piece of U.S. legislation dealing with access to facilities for the disabled. Originally passed in the 90s during the first Bush Administration, the ADA provides protections to people with disabilities, similar to those granted to various ethnic and religious groups under the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

The ADA is a complicated piece of legislation and covers many things, including accommodations at work for the disabled and how private and public facilities are designed. Making the legislation even more complicated is the fact that it is updated from time to time by the Department of Justice.

In general, when new ADA rules come down, facilities owners don’t have to tear up existing facilities to comply with the new regulations. Instead, when and if they upgrade their facilities, new construction must comply with ADA rules. This keeps business owners and municipalities from having to spend a lot of money to upgrade facilities every time new rules are announced.

In 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice released its 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, which included new rules regarding facility design to improve accessibility for individuals with disabilities. The new guidelines were intended to improve accessibility to public and private spaces for people with disabilities, including the sight-impaired. The 2010 regulations revised regulations established in 2001.

yellow detectable warning surface next to sidewalk

The new guidelines created new rules regarding slopes for walking surfaces and slip-resistance for ground surfaces. In addition to these requirements, the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design also created new rules for detectable warning surfaces.

The 2010 revision created some more lenient technical requirements for truncated dome sizes and placement on detectable warning surfaces. According to the new rules, domes should have a diameter of 0.9 to 1.4 inches. Their center-to-center spacing should be between 1.6 to 2.4 inches. Dome height should be 0.2 inches. The new guidelines give builders and facilities owners a little more leeway regarding spacing and diameter.

The major impact of the 2010 revisions to the ADA Standards for Accessible Design concerned changes to where detectable warning surfaces are required. According to the 2001 standards, truncated domes were required on curb ramps, in front of doors to hazardous areas, at dangerous vehicular areas, at transit platforms, and around the edges of reflecting pools.

blind person crossing street

The new standards are less demanding. Detectable warning surfaces are now only required on curb ramps in the public right-of-way and on the edges of transit platforms.

For companies not sure about whether they’ll need to upgrade facilities with detectable warning surfaces, a conversation with the Department of Justice or a supplier of detectable warning surfaces may clear up any ambiguity in the matter.

While many businesses don’t have to comply with ADA rules regarding detectable warning surfaces, compliance may be a good option, anyway. Having these surfaces in place could help businesses fight claims of negligence should disabled people be harmed on their properties. Installing infrastructure to make a property more accessible will also win a business the support of the disabled community in their area and will certainly be good public relations for that business.

Investing in making your facilities more accessible to people with disabilities can provide a nice return on your investment. The disabled community is growing in influence and wealth, and catering to this often-overlooked population can be lucrative. Nielsen estimates that one in three households in the U.S. has a member with a disability, representing more than $1 billion in spending power.

People can’t shop where they can’t go, so, by improving your facilities to make them more accessible for people with limited vision, you open your business to a group of customers with whom few other companies are doing business.

Recent Upgrades to Public Facilities

As municipalities upgrade and replace their sidewalks and other pedestrian infrastructure, many are adopting detectable warning surfaces to comply with ADA regulations and to receive grants linked to compliance.

For example, in Leetsdale, PA, the city government recently received funds from the Community Development Block Grant initiative, a federal program that aids low to medium-income areas. The funds are being used to renovate sidewalks on a major thoroughfare to be wider and to incorporate detectable warning surfaces. CDBG grants require sidewalk renovation projects to be ADA compliant.

Woodland Park, N.J. recently received $575,000 from the New Jersey Department of Transportation for upgrades to an often-traveled streetscape. The project will make a stretch of McBride Avenue more pedestrian- and bike-friendly and allow more convenient access to local merchants. A number of ADA renovations are being funded by the project, including the installation of barrier-free curb ramps, detectable warning surfaces, and more.

For municipalities and businesses considering making ADA-compliant changes to their facilities, partnering with a reputable maker of ADA compliant building materials can help ensure these projects are a success.

ADA Solutions is a leading manufacturer of detectable warning surfaces in North America. In business for 20 years, the company manufactures a variety of tactile dome and related products, including easy to install cast-in-place surfaces, durable surface applied panels for existing concrete or new construction, radius systems for curving surfaces, and more. If you’re looking to upgrade facilities and need an ADA-compliant ground surface, consult with ADA Solutions now for safe and reliable products.


  1. https://nfb.org/blindness-statistics
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3358127/
  3. http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2016/understanding-the-shopping-habits-of-the-disabled-consumer.html