Accessible Bathroom Design Ideas for the Shower
Wheelchair Accessible Homes
Whether your home needs to be fully wheelchair accessible, or accessible in certain areas, one room absolutely must be designed for accessibility - the bathroom.
An accessible bath must be easy to use, and can also be beautifully appealing. Today we'll focus specifically on accessible shower design tips.
Wheelchair Accessible Homes - Shower Design
A shower is just a shower, right? Not in a wheelchair accessible home. But there are many different ways a shower can be specifically designed to meet accessible standards.
Full Turning Radius Accessible Showers
Some wheelchair accessible homes may provide a full 5'x5' turning radius inside the shower.
The accessible shower can often be specially designed and completed with custom tile work - and may require the bathroom space be expanded.
All this can be done by a custom home builder experienced with accessible designs and floor plan modifications.
Multi-piece fiberglass accessible showers are also available by special order for wheelchair accessible homes. These accessible showers are often planned to have no rim, so that a mobility device can roll directly into the shower.
Transfer Accessible Showers
Other accessible showers may be set up with a planned transfer from wheelchair or other vehicle to a built-in or stand alone shower seat.
These showers can have a rim at floor level similar to a standard shower. A threshold ramp can still allow easy access for the chair if necessary.
Transfer accessible showers can come in multiple sizes - anything from a standard "bathtub" size of 60"x36" to an extended 72"x49" fiberglass multi-piece shower.
A fiberglass shower will be less expensive than a custom tile shower, but any special order costs should also be considered.
Hand Held Shower Head
A hand held shower head can be much easier to use and direct than a standard shower head. There are many different varieties of shower heads to match different styles and budgets.
A yoga glide bar allows the shower held to be held in place at adjustable heights.
The showerhead can also be removed from the glide bar and used by hand.
Hand held shower heads and glide bars can be found in chrome, brushed nickel, oil rubbed bronze, and other finishes.
Shower Seat or Bench
An accessible shower offers either an attached or detached shower seat or bench. A universal design shower seat can be constructed of wood, plastic, or metal, with cushion, plastic, or wood seats.
A fold down shower seat attached to the wall of the accessible shower can come in different widths and lengths for comfort.
Most seats are either 18" or 23" in width.
A shower seat or bench can be a great accessory even in a standard shower, particularly with aging in place in mind.
Accessible Design: Shower Grab Bars
Again, a shower grab bar can be a useful accessory for a wide variety of needs.
Shower grab bars can be installed vertically or horizontally, depending on the specific needs and requirements.
Grab bars should always support at least 250 pounds of weight.
The diameter of a grab bar should be 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches.
In order for grab bars to provide correct support, they should be installed into studs and not unsupported walls.
If you're building a universal design or wheelchair accessible home, make sure your custom home builder provides additional blocking and framing in the shower and bath area to support any necessary grab bars. Even if you're planning to install grab bars later, this will allow easy future installation.
Grab bars can be white, chrome, brightly colored, or finished in alternate finishes, depending on taste and budget.
Other accessible bathroom features will be covered in future articles.
Finding a Wheelchair Accessible Home
Considering building an accessible or universal design home? Go over our easy checklist of accessible features!