Pedestrian walking on tactile paving on footpath

Detectable warning surfaces are one of many requirements set by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). They help people with visual impairments identify transitions between sidewalks and roadways, the tops and bottoms of ramps, and the edges of transit platforms. The ADA sets guidelines on detectable warning surface colors, the size of warning tiles, and dimensions and placement of truncated domes.

The ADA requires these visual contrasts between detectable warning tiles and adjacent surfaces:

  • Light tiles against darker surfaces
  • Dark tiles against lighter surfaces

However, ADA regulations don’t set a specific color requirement. So long as the colors contrast with surrounding areas, any color or combination of colors can be selected. Businesses, municipalities, and other entities may set their own rules. For example, California requires warning surfaces to be yellow. In New York City, gray has traditionally been the color of choice, although safety-red is becoming more commonplace in New York and New Jersey.

Contrasting color is important because it:

  • Allows the visually impaired to notice the warning. A pedestrian may be legally blind or have depth perception issues; a highly contrasting color lets them know the raised domes are there and to be cautious when proceeding beyond the warning surface.
  • Contrasts with other surfaces. A community may use different colors of cement, such as a lighter cement around the perimeter of a park. An alternative to yellow may be used to help pedestrians navigate to and from the park at nearby crosswalks.
  • Helps meet Americans with Disability Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG). The ADAAG suggests, but does not require, a 70% light reflectance value or higher for the visually impaired. Depending on the color combination, 60% to 70% light reflectance can suffice.
    • What is light reflectance value (LRV)? A contrast percentage is obtained by dividing the LRV of a lighter area by the LRV of a darker area and multiplying the answer by 100. Concrete is generally rated LRV 50 while cast iron is typically around LRV 11; this exceeds the 70% threshold—LRV ranges from zero or black to 100 or pure white.
  • Stands out to individuals using their phones. People who make calls, text, or use social media are alerted they’re approaching a transition to a potentially hazardous area. Pedestrian fatalities due to motor vehicle accidents have been on the rise in recent years.

The Most Common Detectable Warning Surface Colors

Colors often used for warning tiles include:

  • Yellow: This is effective at catching the attention of the human eye and provides strong contrast with surrounding surfaces. Yellow is also a color that signifies caution.
  • Red: Red universally implies “stop.” It contrasts well with light concrete. In some states, regulations require the use of red tactile warning surfaces for controlled pedestrian walkways or crossings, such as those near major intersections or on pedestrian bridges.
  • Dark Red: This creates a brick-like appearance on a path. It is sometimes a design choice in areas where asphalt or concrete is lightly colored; in this case, it will meet ADA contrast requirements.
  • Blue: A bright blue paint is often used for warning surfaces in handicap-accessible areas. Blue tiles often have wheelchair symbols painted on the surface in white.
  • White/Light Gray: These may be used for detectable warning tiles placed on or near roads or paths made of dark-colored asphalt.

Orange-red, clay red, brown, dark gray, and black may be used for truncated dome tiles as well. Often, the choice of color is tied to aesthetics rather than purpose. The United States Access Board conducted a study in 2007 of tile colors and found that traditional yellow and brick red provided an equal level of contrast. In areas where a single color doesn’t provide adequate contrast, it found using multiple colors was beneficial. One color could be used as a border around a second color, as is often done at rail stations.

The Use of Custom Colors

There’s generally no limit as to what colors and shades are used, aside from federal requirements for contrast and any applicable state mandates. A business may use custom colors to reflect its brand. For example, an arena may use team colors for detectable warning surfaces, or a retail store may use tiles with different colors, images, and logos for specific seasons or holidays.

Beyond Detectable Warning Surface Colors

Color isn’t the only factor in making tactile walking surfaces more noticeable. Photoluminescent walking surfaces made by ADA Solutions emit light even when sources of electricity aren’t available. A product called Glow-Dome™ is suited for emergency situations such as power failures in pedestrian areas, as well as in train stations. The product is charged by ambient light and requires no power source; it is available in paver tiles and in a replaceable or retrofitted transit format.

ADA compliant detectable warning surface tactiles installation

ADA Solutions also offers replaceable graphic tile systems. They can feature messages, different fonts, and reflective ink in up to four colors. A custom message can be fit on one tile or be placed across multiple sequential tiles. All custom panels feature ADA-compliant, slip-resistant truncated domes.

Contact ADA Solutions

ADA Solutions manufactures and supplies truncated dome, Directional Bar, and Guide Surface
Tiles. Our Cast-in-Place replaceable panels for fresh concrete and surface applied detectable warning panels suited for new construction or retrofits meet the latest ADAAG requirements. We can provide our products in all common detectable warning surface colors.

Different Color ADA Tile Squares

Continue browsing our online resources to learn more about our detectable warning products. Feel free to call us at 800-372-0519 for additional help or to request a free quote online today.

yellow detectable warning tiles

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law in 1990 to expand opportunities for individuals with disabilities, prevent discrimination, and improve safety. In addition, it set requirements for detectable warning systems. The criteria for these was revised with the ADA 2010 Standards for Accessible Design. To be compliant, you must factor in the latest guidelines; here are key points to think about when choosing detectable warning products.

  1. Color

Warning surfaces tend to be yellow, red, or other bright colors. However, the ADA does not require a warning tile to be a specific color, although state and local laws vary in what colors they permit or restrict. ADA guidelines do require the warning surface to contrast with the color of surrounding surfaces. If the sidewalk, street, or platform it is installed on is dark, the tile should be light; if the surrounding surface is light, the warning surface should be darker.

  1. Spacing

The ADA specifies precise spacing between truncated domes, based on studies of what works best for tactile feedback when using a wheelchair, walker, cane, or other mobility aid. From center to center, raised domes must be 1.6 to 2.4 inches apart. There must be at least 0.65 inches of space between each adjacent dome.

  1. Size

The base diameter of truncated domes must now be between 0.9 and 1.4 inches, with a height of 0.2 inches above the surrounding panel surface. Domes are arranged in a grid to provide a distinct feel when an individual’s feet or mobility aid contacts them. The warning surface itself must be at least 24 inches long and extend in the direction of travel. It must reach across the entire width of the surface it’s installed on. Detectable warning systems can be square, rectangular, or radial.

  1. Location

Since 2010, the ADA requires detectable warning surfaces only on curb ramps and transit platforms. They had previously been required in front of doors near hazardous locations, the edges of reflecting pools, and any area where vehicles travel that could be dangerous. A warning surface should be installed on any public right-of-way that transitions to an area that is hazardous. Therefore, transit platform edges, curb ramps, and crosswalks are among the most common places to find tactile warning surfaces.

  1. Curb Cuts

A curb cut must be at least three feet wide and a minimum of two feet from where the pedestrian path transitions into a street or other vehicular way. A 24-inch warning strip must be installed across the bottom of a curb ramp. The slope of a ramp must not exceed 8.33 percent. That means there must be at least 12 inches of distance for every inch of height change.

  1. Product Quality

For warning tiles and other products, the American Society for Testing & Materials (ASTM) provides data on strength and other properties. Make sure a detectable warning tile meets ASTM standards before choosing it. That way, you can verify it is reliable and safe.

  1. Function

Detectable warning surfaces must do more than provide tactile feedback. They need to be slip-resistant, as rain, snow, ice, oils, and other substances can create dangerous conditions for pedestrians. Tiles must also have low water absorption to extend their life. Water expands and contracts, depending on temperature, so water entry can damage the material, make the tile less effective, or put people in danger.

  1. Installation

The installation procedure depends on the type of product. For cast-in-place tiles, holes in the flanges of the panel help anchor it; concrete can flow through before it cures, effectively sealing the product. Surface-mounted detectable warning systems include fasteners and adhesives to secure them. The perimeter should be properly sealed during installation, using a high-quality sealant.

Cast-in-place replaceable Tile

Order Detectable Warning Systems from ADA Solutions

The leading supplier of ADA-compliant detectable surfaces in North America, we provide quality products including cast-in-place pavers and replaceable as well as surface-applied tiles. We also supply radius systems, cast iron ADA plates, photoluminescent domes, and replaceable graphic tile systems. Various tactile surfaces are available for transit platforms as well. To learn more or get a free quote, call us at 800-372-0519.

african american disabled man walking with friendly dog

Built on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design lays out 279 pages of guidelines for building and facility design, construction, or alteration. They apply to public buildings, facilities, and spaces. To be compliant, these must be accessible to and usable by individuals with visual impairments and other disabilities.

What Are the ADA Standards for Accessible Design?

The accessibility standards set minimum requirements for state and local government, public, and commercial facilities. These include schools, medical care facilities, libraries, government offices, and other spaces and buildings.

The standards are detailed chapter by chapter and cover:

  1. Application and Administration: Terms and conventions for diagrams used in the guide are defined. These cover dimensional measurements and symbols for proportional values, boundaries, direction of travel, and site plans.
  2. Scoping Requirements: These define and describe accessible routes, where they are required, and accessibility as it pertains to egress, parking, and fire alarms. Application in existing and historic buildings is explained, as are exceptions.
  3. Building Blocks: These cover requirements for clear floor spaces, such as for kitchen and bathroom fixtures, where wheelchair users must navigate (a minimum of 30 x 48 inches is set). The guidelines also define clearances for knee and toe space, minimum reach, and alcoves.
  4. Accessible Routes: Facilities must have at least one accessible route leading to the accessible entrance. Tables and diagrams demonstrate minimum clearances for door openings, access to elevators, and curbs and guardrails, as well as acceptable slopes for ramps.
  5. General Site and Building Elements: Guidelines for accessible parking spaces include a minimum of 1 accessible space per 25 total parking spaces. Passenger loading zones, stairs, and handrails are also covered in this section.
  6. Plumbing Elements and Facilities: Clear floor spaces in water closets must be at least 60 inches wide. Minimum requirements are set for fixture height, grab bar placement, bathtub design (with permanent or removable seats), and other elements.
  7. Communication Elements/Features: Forms of communication such as signs and fire alarms must have raised characters with specified distances between dots (in the same or adjacent braille cells), dot sizes, and other dimensional attributes.
  8. Special Rooms, Spaces, and Elements: These specify requirements for wheelchair seating in auditoriums, hotel rooms, fitting rooms, holding cells, courtrooms, and transportation facilities. Clear floor space for using kitchen appliances is also defined.
  9. Built-In Elements: These include the ADA-compliant bench and other small details. Guidelines for food service lines, dining surfaces, and checkout aisles are provided in this section.
  10. Recreation Facilities: Here, accessibility guidelines are detailed for swimming pools, golf courses, boating facilities, amusement park rides, and other recreational facilities and installations.

Why Are ADA Standards When It Comes to Accessible Design So Important?

The standards provide guidelines on making it easy for people with disabilities to access all public buildings and facilities. They ensure all individuals can open doors, use restrooms, and navigate stairs. ADA-compliance ensures people with disabilities are not left behind or out in the cold and addresses a number of safety concerns.

Application of Accessible Design

In addition to the elements mentioned above, the ADA requires tactile warning surfaces to alert people with disabilities of changes in walking surfaces. Detectable warnings alert them when a sidewalk exits onto a street or a flat surface transitions into an elevated ramp.

Handicap sign, wheel chair accessible logo pointing to left outdoor

Tactile surfaces provide audible feedback when a wheelchair, walking stick, or another device touches truncated domes. Bright colors provide visual cues, while raised bumps provide tactile feedback felt under the feet.

Order ADA-Compliant Tiles from ADA Solutions

Our cast-in-place and replaceable detectable warning tiles comply with all relevant guidelines. Produced at our own ISO 9002 certified facility, they are made of high-quality, heavy-duty materials. To learn more or receive a free quote on ADA tiles for your building or property, call ADA Solutions at 800-372-1519 today.

guide dog helps the owner climb the stairs, enter the building

Since their development in the 1960s, tactile surfaces for the blind or partially sighted have come a long way. These tiles are usually yellow or red. For most sighted people, these look like decorative features, but they serve as very important navigational guides. Today, you’ll find many types of tactile surfaces in places like:

  • Sidewalk corners
  • Curb cuts
  • Crosswalks
  • Subway platforms
  • Bus and tram stations
  • Pedestrian ramps
  • Any transition point between a right-of-way and roadway
  • Where there are changes in surface height

Way-finding solutions, with their characteristic truncated domes and distinct coloring, are also commonly used in facilities such as:

  • Hospitals: Navigating a hospital can be tricky, whether you’re visiting or are there for medical treatment. Way-finding surfaces and signage are beneficial for visitors, patients, and even staff.
  • Airports: Airport terminals are busy places with different facilities. Way-finding systems can help make a flight in time, connect to a different flight, or get to loading zones or baggage claim areas.
  • Hotels: Guests often need help finding check-in desks, their rooms, pools, vending machines, and other facilities, as well as elevators, escalators, or public restrooms.
  • Shopping Malls: Way-finding systems are used in parking lots, at building entrances, near escalators and elevators, near larger anchor stores, and around food courts.
  • Colleges/Universities: Many higher education institutions have sprawling campuses where prospective and new students can easily get lost. Way-finding solutions are often used around administrative offices, outdoor paths, and residential halls.

Simplest Way-Finding Techniques

Common tactile patterns and surfaces found in public spaces include:

  1. Blister Paving Pattern

Tiles with a square pattern of flat-topped blisters enable vision-impaired people and wheelchair users to identify and safely navigate a crossing where there’s little or no change in height. Offset blister tactile pavers are used on off-street Light Rapid Transit, underground rail, and heavy railway platforms. They feature flat-topped domes spaced about 2.6” center-to-center.

By comparison, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) specifies truncated domes for detectable warning surfaces have a center-to-center spacing of up to 2.4”.

  1. Lozenge Tiles

Raised lozenges, of about 0.02” high, are arranged in rows of six. These tiles can be made of any material and are used for on-street platforms. The raised shapes can be completely round or have an oval/oblong component. Tiles are placed roughly 15.7” to 19.7” parallel to the platform edge to provide ample warning time.

  1. Along Strip Tactile Paving

Detectable Warning surface

Otherwise known as corduroy hazard warning patterns, these tiles consist of rounded bars that run parallel to one another on a walking path. Each tile has six bars in a row that are about 0.02” high, 0.8” wide, and spaced just under 2” center-to-center. Across strips are used near level crossings or at the top and bottom of stairs, at the foot of a ramp, or pedestrian path where it joins a shared route.

  1. Directional Bars

At ADA Solutions, our Bar Tile is constructed with 11⅜” long x 1⅜” wide bars, the centers of each spaced 3” apart, oriented in the direction of travel. A non-slip surface ensures the safety of pedestrians who rely on this way-finding solution. We offer raised-tile bars in 6” x 24”, 12” x 12”, and 24” x 24” dimensions.

  1. Guide Surface Tiles

Detectable Warning Tiles

These serve a similar function to other tactile wayfinding solutions, except feature a depressed groove rather than raised lines or domes. Our Guide Tile has a groove that is ⅝” wide x 1/16” deep and centered on a 4” wide x ¼” thick sloped surface bar tile. It also features a non-slip surface. Like our directional bars, it is available in replaceable and surface mount versions.

Order Wayfinding Products from ADA Solutions

We offer a full catalog of industry-standard way-finding tactile surfaces for blind and visually impaired people. These include Directional Bar, Guide Surface Tiles, and surface-applied and cast-in-place replaceable detectable warning surfaces. All our products are ADA-compliant and slip-resistant. To learn more, request a quote or call 800-372-0519 to speak with our knowledgeable detectable warning experts.

Dear Valued ADA Customer,

As you know, ADA Solutions was acquired by SureWerx USA on March 1, 2019. The company has operated as a standalone entity since the purchase and we are working towards integration of systems and operations into the parent company, SureWerx USA Inc. Our target for ADA to operate as a division of SureWerx USA Inc. is December 1, 2020. Read more

Visually impaired working on computer with assistive technology

Facility operators and owners must address ADA compliance to accommodate people with disabilities—but did you know there are days, weeks, and months to raise awareness of various disabilities and related matters? One is International Day of People with Disabilities on December 3rd, and, with about 15% of the world’s population living with disabilities, it makes sense to have a day honoring them.1 However, there are many dates you should know about, including:

January 4: World Braille Day

Officially designated by the UN General Assembly in 2018, World Braille Day raises awareness of how important braille is as a means of communication, and recognizes the rights of blind or partially sighted individuals. It also commemorates the birthday of Louis Braille, born in 1809. In 2020, the World Blind Union urged all countries to support the Marrakesh Treaty, to improve access to braille and other accessible reading materials in less developed countries and during the COVID-19 pandemic.

March 1: International Wheelchair Day

Honors the positive impact of wheelchairs on those who rely on them. International Wheelchair Day was founded in 2008 by Steve Wilkinson, a wheelchair user born with Spina Bifida. His mission, which included starting this annual commemoration, also created “Wheelchair Ambassadors,” a network of people with disabilities, family members, and professional caregivers that helps meet wheelchair users’ accessibility needs around the world.

In partnership with Whirlwind Wheelchair, he also helps fulfill the needs of millions of people who can’t access or afford a wheelchair.

April 25, 2020: Show Your Mettle Day

group of students wearing masks in college with young man using wheelchair

The last Saturday of April is a day of Limb Loss Awareness. As of 2021, April is Limb Loss and Limb Difference Awareness Month. It is intended to encourage individuals to show off their “mettle,” or any prosthesis, wheelchair, cane, or mobility aid they use.

Show Your Mettle Day is built on an initiative created by Boston Marathon bombing victim and amputee Peggy Chenowith, and adopted by the Amputee Coalition, which hosts various awareness events around the country. The organization has promoted Be Strong Daily Dares in which people post their activities on social media.

Third Thursday in May: Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD)

Set for May 20, 2021, Global Accessibility Awareness Day promotes digital access and inclusion for anyone with a disability or impairment. It is focused on digital technologies, including software, the internet, and mobile devices and the use of assistive products to accommodate those who can benefit from them.

Launched in 2012, the initiative was co-founded by web developer Joe Devon and Jennison Asuncion, a Toronto-based accessibility professional. Activities have included online-only events to raise awareness, featured speakers, and, in 2017, a website accessibility testing clinic.

July 26: National Disability Independence Day

This day commemorates the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on July 26, 1990. Honoring the ADA’s requirements for public accomodation and prohibiting discrimination, this awareness day is celebrated on social media and with special events. It is also used to promote ADA training and certification, as well as podcasts, workshops, and webinars on ADA compliance requirements.

International Week of the Deaf

September 21-25, 2021 is the International Week of the Deaf, which is held annually in the last week of September. It commemorates the first World Congress of the World Federation of the Deaf in 1958. Promoting human rights for the hearing impaired, it is celebrated by enabling individuals to tell their stories. The International Day of Sign Languages has been part of this awareness initiative since 2018.

October 15: White Cane Safety Day/Blind Americans Equality Day

This day of national observance received its latter name by President Barack Obama in 2011. It has been celebrated on October 15th since 1964 and highlights the achievements of blind/visually impaired individuals; it was signed into law by the U.S. Congress that year. The white cane is a symbol of blindness and independence.

1991: Introduction of Detectable Warning Surfaces

Handicapped man on a wheelchair with colored balloons at the beach

The ADA was expanded in 1991 to require detectable warnings on sidewalks, crosswalks, and platforms where there were transitions to motorways. Assigned to oversee compliance, the Department of Justice later suspended detectable warning requirements to permit research into alternative designs. This suspension expired in 2001, as research showed truncated domes were the most effective at meeting ADA compliance standards.

Order ADA Detectable Warning Surfaces

ADA Solutions manufactures and supplies heavy-duty, UV-stable, fiberglass polymer composite detectable warning surface tiles to help facilities meet ADA compliance requirements. Our exclusive products include cast-in-place and surface-applied panels, as well as solutions designed specifically for transit platforms. To obtain more information or receive a free quote, contact us online or call 800-372-0519 today.


Americans with Disabilities Act ADA and glasses.

In the past, people with disabilities weren’t always accepted into society. It wasn’t until the 20th century that the physically and mentally disabled gained support. In the 1930s, the League for the Physically Handicapped was formed, helping to fight for employment rights during the Great Depression. Over the next few decades, advocacy groups and legislation would pave the way to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). Since then, ADA compliance has been a requirement for employers and businesses serving the public.


There were laws and policies promoting inclusion of people with disabilities since the mid-19th century, but it was the ADA that provided civil rights reform to prevent discrimination. It focused on inclusion and nondiscrimination based on disability regarding employment, access to government services, and use of public accommodations.

It was amended in 2008 to expand the scope of individuals who fit its definition, and it continues to be the standard for equal employment opportunities, community participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency.

Employers and facilities that don’t meet ADA compliance requirements are provided with opportunities to make improvements. If they don’t when doing so is within reason, they can be heavily fined and otherwise penalized.


The following inventions have reshaped the world for people with disabilities.

close-up of blind human hands reading braille.

  • Braille: Invented by Louis Braille, this tactile writing system for the visually impaired began as a code for the French alphabet in 1824 and was revised in 1837 as a binary system. Originally, braille was based on night writing, a military code used by Napoleon’s soldiers to communicate in the dark.

It consists of raised dots within rectangular blocks called cells. English braille encodes printed writing, illustrations, graphs, and musical notation. Today, refreshable electronic braille displays allow visually impaired individuals to use computers and even write in braille using specialized equipment.

  • Smartphone Apps: Smartphones have become invaluable tools for people with disabilities. A number of applications are available, including an interactive camera app that helps children with autism make eye contact, and iPhone and iPad apps that allow those with nonverbal conditions to interact with loved ones and strangers using natural sounding voices and word prediction for fast typing.

There is also a font for helping people with dyslexia read and an app that lets people with visual impairments take videos that sighted volunteers can access and describe to them.

  • Truncated Domes: Invented in 1965 by Seiichi Miyake, truncated domes became the foundation of tactile warning surfaces now used on sidewalks, transportation platforms, and pedestrian thoroughfares in many countries. They can be felt under the feet and by anyone using a cane, walker, or wheelchair, so it’s possible to tell when someone may be near an area that transitions into a street or where a staircase or ramp begins and ends. The ADA includes specific guidelines for the dimensions, spacing, and color of truncated domes.

Order Tactile Warning Systems from ADA Solutions

We design, manufacture, and supply warning tiles with truncated domes and other tactile warnings. Cast-in-place, surface-applied, and radius systems are available. All products are designed to meet ADA requirements for any business in which ADA applicability is a factor. Request a free quote or call 800-372-0519 today.

An ADA Solutions Surface Applied Tactile Tile in use at a pedestrian crossing.

Surface applied tactile tiles are often used in transit applications such as commuter rail, subways, light rapid transit, monorails, and bus stations. They have emerged as a requirement for public transportation facilities under Title II of the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA), which forbids public transportation authorities from discriminating against people with disabilities.

Tactile warning surfaces provide feedback for anyone using a cane, walker, wheelchair, or any other assisted device where there’s a transition between a safe path of travel and areas of traffic.

Truncated dome tiles are found along walking paths, in parking lots, on curb cut-outs, wheelchair ramps, and at building entrances. To function as intended, surface applied tiles must be installed properly. They are not set in concrete. This allows for more flexibility, and it allows existing surfaces to be retrofit without being repaved.

ADA Solutions makes the installation process easy, but here is a look at the installation process, with tips on ensuring a safe and secure fit.

Select a Product

Tactile tiles must meet specific requirements, including a material composition of exterior-grade glass and carbon-reinforced polyester material, and being uniform in color, as is the yellow tactile tile we offer for transit applications. A square grid of raised truncated domes must meet the Federal Code of Regulations requirements. All domes must be 0.2 inches high with a center-to-center spacing of 2.35 inches. At ADA Solutions, all our products meet the latest requirements and the highest quality standards.

Consider the Weather Conditions

Tactile tiles should not be installed where there is standing water or other extremely wet conditions. The ideal installation environment is one that’s clean and dry, but tiles can be installed where it is slightly damp. Installation should not be performed if rain is imminent. The colder the temperature, the longer it will take for the adhesive to cure. Ideally, air/surface temperatures should be above 40°F, but temperature conditions are less restrictive in terms of going ahead with the installation.

Make Sure Concrete Has Cured

Allow the concrete surface to cure for at least seven days before preparing it for installation of transit tile. The substrate must be clean and any damage must be fixed before commencing installation. It must also be level to within a fraction of an inch, and platform edges need to be completely or nearly straight. Tolerances must be within 1/8 to 1/4 inches over a 12-foot length of the platform.

Prepare the Surface Accordingly

The flanges of the tile will need to fit properly. To prepare the surface accordingly, parallel to the edges of the platform make saw cuts that measure 3/8 inches wide by 3/4 inches deep. An overall recess of 1/4 inch deep must be created. This ensures the tile sits flush with the platform surface.


A closeup shot of an ADA Solutions Surface Applied Tactile Tile.

Tactile warning tiles should be placed within the dimensions of a platform and exceed its edge as little as possible. Successive tiles can be installed, but each must have a uniform joint of at least 1/8 inches in between. These separating joints allow for expansion and contraction of the surface tile.

In general, only uncut tiles should be used, and a tile should never measure less than 12 inches long. Truncated domes should align between successive tiles whenever possible. When cutting, if this is necessary, grind off the dome if there’s less than half of it left. If there’s more than half a dome left, it should be beveled.

Apply the Adhesive

Applied on the backside of the tile, the adhesive should be spread across this surface in 12 to 15 spots, including where the fasteners will be secured, to create an effective seal. Use a square notch trowel to apply the adhesive. Curing takes about 24 to 48 hours once the tile has been positioned onto the platform.

ADA Solutions recommends Chem Link M-1® Adhesive/Sealant. This high-strength, one-part adhesive is polyether-based and low odor. It is also VOC-compliant and solvent-free. Providing a strong bond to properly prepared concrete substrates, it is also suited as a perimeter sealant and provides an adequate finish for tactile warning surface panels.

Before applying the adhesive, the surface must be clean and free of loose materials and projections. All voids must be filled. The surface must be clean, damp, or dry and completely smooth. If any contaminants, such as oil, grease, wax, or other sealers and curing compounds, are present, then the adhesive may not properly bond to the surface.

M-1® Adhesive/Sealant cures within 24 hours and can be cleaned from tools, equipment, and panels with isopropyl alcohol. Coverage depends on the type of product used. For five-gallon containers, apply a gallon per every 45 to 60 square feet of substrate; with the 10.1-ounce Adhesive Cartridges, use one cartridge per every 10 square feet of panel.

Use of Fasteners

An ADA Solutions Surface Applied Tactile Tile being quickly installed.

Our tactile tiles contain 15 countersunk holes, but fastener holes can be drilled up to 1/4 x 2½ inches, being as straight as possible, to improve installation results and compensate for any irregularities with the surface substrate. To set the fastener, a hammer and punch pin can be used if necessary. When new holes are needed, drill them straight through the center of truncated domes. Any additional fastener used must be flush with the dome.

Drilling fastener holes generates dust, which can be dispersed with a leaf blower. Fasteners must also be placed, both across the width of the tile and on either side of expansion joints, within four hours of placement. Once properly fastened, the tile is then sawcut near the centerline of the expansion joint. Next, apply sealant in each sawcut, making sure it is flush with each tile’s bevel. Any excess sealant can be cleaned with a damp cloth and acetone.

If there is frequent activity during an ongoing project, protect the tiles during curing or while the site remains under construction by placing hardwood or plywood over them. Also, follow any other manufacturer specifications provided.

Order Transit Tactile Tiles from ADA Solutions

ADA Solutions Surface Applied Tactile Tiles in use at a train station.

We are the leading manufacturer of detectable ADA warning surfaces in North America. Our products are engineered to improve public access and mobility for the visually impaired and other persons with disabilities. With over 1,500 distribution centers, we serve distributors, their customers, and communities across North, Central, and South America.

In addition to surface-applied, we offer cast-in-place tile, composite pavers, and monolithic pre-cast blocks, as well as wayfinding, graphic tiles, and tactile wall tiles for a wide range of applications with the highest commitment to quality and innovation.

Call us at 800-372-0519 to learn more or receive a free quote.

Wheel chair traffic sign pointing to the right in parking lot

Passed in 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was revised later with the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design. It was originally intended to reduce discrimination. In these guidelines, we will discuss ADA-compliance requirements for accessibility in public spaces.

Two components of the ADA apply to businesses, including:

  • Title I: Covers qualified employers with 15 or more workers that operate for at least 20 calendar weeks per year, and which serve any industry affecting commerce. Individuals with disabilities must be provided with the same opportunities at work as others and workplaces cannot discriminate against anyone because of a disability. By law, businesses must provide reasonable accommodations to help people with disabilities to perform their job duties.
  • Title III: Applies to businesses considered to be “public accommodations” and prohibits discrimination against customers with disabilities. Title III requirements apply to any business that serves the public, regardless of size. They primarily focus on accessibility regarding removing physical barriers to existing structures, accessible design, and the use of mobility devices and service animals.

ADA-Compliance Standards

Accessibility requirements laid out by the ADA include:

  • Remove barriers by installing ramps, creating curb cut-outs in sidewalks and entrances, and arranging furniture such that areas can be easily and safely navigated. Other considerations here include:
  • Placement of tables/chairs, displays, racks, and vending machines.
  • Installation of accessible door hardware—knobs, locks, keyholes, etc.
  • Raised markings on elevator control buttons.
  • Grab bars in toilet stalls.
  • Configuration of toilet partitions to provide space to maneuver.
  • Placement of paper towel dispensers in bathrooms.
  • A path of travel must allow individuals with disabilities, including those with wheelchairs, to access restrooms, telephones, drinking fountains, and other areas serving primary functions of a facility, including cafeterias, offices, and meeting rooms. Paths of travel also include sidewalks, parking areas, and streets.
  • Parking spaces must be accessible. A facility with on-site parking must have at least one accessible parking space per 25 regular ones. This rule applies to both parking lots and parking structures, which must also provide an accessible route from the parking space to a building entrance.
  • Detectable warnings must be used. The most recent Title II ADA regulations, introduced in 2016, require state and local governments to install and/or enforce the use of detectable warning surfaces. These must include dome-shaped truncated domes, a slope of 8.33% or less, and a ramp of at least 36 inches wide. Curb ramps must be wherever a sidewalk or pedestrian path meets a curb, while transitions must be level with an opposing surface, such as a walkway or street.

Ways to Make Your Business ADA-Compliant

Title III requires business owners to make reasonable efforts to make their facilities accessible. You can meet ADA-compliance requirements by:

ramp for wheelchair disabled people at office building

  • Designating accessible parking spaces close to the nearest wheelchair-accessible entrance.
  • Installing signage directing individuals to the nearest accessible entrance or path.
  • Installing door hardware, such as levers and loop handles, that people with mobility issues can use.
  • Providing ramps or lifts and using ADA-compliant covers over hoses, electrical cords, and data cables.
  • Having at least one accessible entryway—if there’s one, other non-accessible entrances are permissible.
  • Creating direct access from accessible entrances to elevators.

Order Warning Surfaces from ADA Solutions

Our cast-in-place and surface-applied detectable warning surfaces help your business meet ADA-compliance requirements. Manufactured in our ISO-9002-certified facility, these heavy-duty fiberglass polymer composite panels/tiles provide tactile feedback via foot or mobility device on paths and transition areas. Request a free quote or contact us today to learn more.

A young woman in a wheelchair in front of a high curb at a pedestrian crossing

Lawsuits filed against large businesses and local governments regarding failures in ADA compliance have become commonplace, leading to settlements in the billions of dollars that require major renovations and repairs. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires cities and businesses to install equipment and design spaces that ensure meaningful access for those who are disabled.

While Atlanta, Portland, and Los Angeles are famous examples of cities with settled lawsuits and commitments into the billions of dollars to make their sidewalks, crosswalks, and ramps ADA-compliant,1 small businesses and localities are increasingly a target of litigation, often under Title III of the ADA. These recent examples of landmark lawsuits are lessons for smaller communities and business owners alike.

Manderson v. New York City Department of Education

This case was filed in May 2020, pointing out the lack of accessible restrooms and evacuation points for disabled employees. The lawsuit alleges that less than 25% of New York schools meet ADA compliance standards.2 As a community center that also hosts town meetings and serves as a voting place, local schools can be required to provide accommodations for all community members who seek access, regardless of disability. The costs for this single education system to achieve compliance are sure to be quite high.

Liberty Resources, Inc. v. the City of Philadelphia

Despite losing a lawsuit almost 25 years ago and being found liable for the condition of sidewalks in the city at that time, another lawsuit has been filed calling out the failure to remove barriers to accessibility. The suit cites unsafe curb ramps, slopes, or a lack of any accessible routes that continue to prevent access for disabled pedestrians or which have only become worse through a lack of maintenance and promised improvements.3 This case is likely to result in legal fees, settlements, and spending commitments in the millions or billions of dollars.

Forsee v. Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Transit centers, airports, and even Uber and Lyft have been targeted for failing to meet ADA compliance standards, and this suit against the MTA in New York highlights the legal consequences of failing to consider ADA compliance when remodeling or renovating a public space.

By not installing elevators or other stair-free means of access during renovation, the lawsuit alleges that the MTA is causing harm to the public, not only to those who use a wheelchair but to those with heart, lung, or joint conditions that make using stairs difficult or dangerous. In an earlier lawsuit from 2016, the court ruled that the MTA must meet its ADA responsibilities regardless of how much improvements will cost.4

Person wheelchair user at station at barrier free accessibility compartment sign mobility transport

Defending Against Legal Action Increases Compliance Costs

Of course, these large-scale cases are featured in the news, but the impact of legal action on small businesses cannot be denied. Most small businesses that face a surprise lawsuit under Title III of the ADA find it easier to settle for a few thousand dollars and then correct the conditions that resulted in the complaint. While Title III traditionally limits damages to correcting the accessibility issue, legal fees of the plaintiff are also covered and can drastically increase the total a small business owner must pay.

A few states, including New York, Florida, and California, do allow additional money damages in Title III cases, adding to the price of settlement. In these states, business owners and public service facilities can pay more than $20,000 for these additional fees, while still needing to invest in improvements to achieve compliance. The costs of having a suit filed against your organization continue to increase, and the volume of cases rises each year.

Business owners may be taken by surprise with a local lawsuit, but there are steps they can take to lessen the risk and lower the costs associated with being sued. Scheduling an accessibility assessment can make you aware of problems with your ADA compliance and allow time to correct issues and design for accessibility when building or renovating. ADA Solutions can assist your business in planning and supplying the materials needed for ensuring safe accessibility and preventing a lawsuit against your own business, non-profit, or public facility.