New Home Tips, Trends, and Ideas - Raleigh Custom Home Builders

Wheelchair Accessible Bathroom Showers

Posted by Penny Hull on Mon, May 04, 2015 @ 15:05 PM

Accessible, Universal and Ageless Homes with Wheelchair Showers:

As more families decide to build multigenerational homes - with floor plans designed to accommodate extended-stay guests - we're seeing a strong increase in requests for home plans that integrate wheelchair accessible spaces.

When balancing the needs of multiple generations, bathrooms are one of first spaces you'll want to add accessible design components to. 

Wheelchair Accessible Bathroom | Accessible Showers


Wheechair Accessible Bathroom Features:

Accessible baths come in all shapes and sizes, with a range of features designed to suite your exact needs. Some features are required, while others are optional benefits you'll want to consider when bulding a custom home. 

Take a look at the wheelchair accessible guidelines in Raleigh custom homes, and see how easily they can blend in: 

1. Wheelchair Accessible Bathroom Guideline #1: 5'x5' turning radius inside the shower

A full 5x5 turning radius inside the shower enables a mobile device such as a wheelchair to turn around within the space, for ease of use. Here's an example:

Wheelchair Accessible Bathroom | Accessible Showers

In this photo, grab bars are positioned along the tile walls. A hand-held shower head supplements a rain shower head.   

2. Wheelchair Accessible Bathroom Guideline #2: 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.

Wheelchair Accessible Bathroom | Accessible Showers

 

A built-in shower seat or bench (like the one pictured here) can be a great accessory even in a standard shower, particularly with aging in place (or ageless home design) in mind.

Wheelchair Accessible Bathroom | Accessible Showers

3. Wheelchair Accessible Bathroom Guideline #3: Hand held shower head

A hand held shower head can be much easier to use than a standard shower head.  There are many different varieties of shower heads to match different styles and budgets. Hand held shower heads and glide bars can be found in chrome, brushed nickel, oil rubbed bronze, and other finishes.

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.

Wheelchair Accessible Bathroom | Accessible Showers

This master bathroom - from a version of The Judson - a corner bench offers a planned transfer space from the wheelchair or other vehicle to a built-in shower seat.

Beyond the tile shower, you can get a glimpse of a handicap accessible bathroom vanity. To allow roll-under space, the vanity cabinets are located on the counter top, still within easy reach.

4. Wheelchair Accessible Bathroom Guideline #4: Grab bars

Shower grab bars can be installed vertically or horizontally, depending on the specific needs and requirements. Often, you may see a combination of vertical and horizontal bars (horizonal along the walls, and vertical near the shower head). 

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.

Wheelchair Accessible Bathroom | Accessible Showers

In this master bathroom - from a version of The Firebird - you'll find an example of universal design door hardware. Instead of door knobs, which require greater hand strength and the ability to grasp and twist, this closet features "sliding closet door pulls." 

Here are some examples of recently completed Raleigh custom homes with mobile device accessible bathrooms:



How To Build a Wheelchair Accessible Bathroom:

Click here for a Houzz Photo Gallery of wheelchair accessible showers

Experienced Accessible Home Builders –

Stanton Homes is an industry leading accessible, universal, certified Aging in Place and VA-approved Specially Adapted Housing custom home builder.

Whether you start with a plan that is designed for accessibility, ask us to modify or create a new plan, we can build in wider hallways and doorways, entry ways, turning radius, non-slip flooring, ramps and walkways, special lighting, roll out or pull out shelving, easy grope door, faucet and drawers, accessible switches, no step entries, roll-in showers, ADA roll-under countertops and work spaces, and whatever else you need.

Tell us what new home features you're looking for, to get started on your North Carolina custom home.


 

Tags: accessible builders, Wheelchair Accessible Home Builders, accessible home requirements, accessible shower, Accessible Home Builders

NC Wheelchair Accessible Homes | Hallway and Doorway Requirements

Posted by Penny Hull on Wed, Mar 21, 2012 @ 08:03 AM

ADA and Wheelchair Accessibility

Accessible Hallways and Doorways

Wheelchair Accessible Homes | Hallway and Doorway Requirements

(Photo of an accessible custom home Raleigh NC - with wide archway entrances designed for wheelchairs.)

How to Make a Custom Home Accessible

We were recently asked this question:  "How can we modify our new home floor plan for wheelchair accessibility? How wide do hallways and doorways need to be for a wheelchair?"

It is important to consider wheelchair accessibility before building your new home - modifications to an existing home can be much more expensive. 

What are the Minimum Hallway and Doorway Width Requirements for a Wheelchair?

Both ADA requirements and Specially Adapted Housing Minimum Property Requirements specify:

 - Minimum hallway width of 48"

 - Minimum doorway width of 36"

 

Standard doorways in a new home are usually either 2'4", 2'6" or 2'8" wide, and according to North Carolina building code, the minimum width of a hallway is 36". 

How wide should the doorways and hallways be in your home?  Depends on what kind of access you're looking for.

Wheelchair Accessible Homes | Hallway and Doorway Requirements

 - Minimum clear width for a wheelchair is 36 inches for a hall and 32 inches for a door.

 - Minimum clear space for a T-shaped turn of 180 degrees is 36 inches in all directions.

 - The minimum passage width for one wheelchair and one ambulatory person is 48 inches.

 - Many mobility scooters are as narrow as 21". 

What are Some Additional Doorway Options?

If the home buyer simply wants wider doorways, but is not as concerned about having a 48" wide hallway, there may be some options that don't require significant structural changes.   And it's MUCH less expensive to plan for wider doorways before construction starts than to try to retrofit hallways and doorways later.

Wheelchair Accessible Homes | Hallway and Doorway Requirements

 - A 3'2" wide hallway will allow a 36" door, but there will be no room for trim.

 - A 3'8" width works well for a 36" door, and allows 2 1/4" trim, or casing, around the doorway. 

 - A 3'10" width is ideal for a 36" door, as it allows 3 1/4" casing around the doorway.

However, if someone is planning to build with a Specially Adapted Housing Grant, they are required to include 48" hallways to obtain the grant.  There also must be enough space to "allow for maneuverability through the hall and into all rooms, including bedrooms, bathrooms, and ingress/egress routes." 

How Can My Hallways Be Widened, and When is the Best Time to Plan for This?

In most cases, wider hallways means adding more square footage to the home.  At Stanton Homes, we are able to make almost all floor plan changes in-house, which can reduce the cost of making a new home wheelchair accessible. 

Or bring us any plans that you're considering, and we'll be happy to discuss what changes might be required to make your next home accessible. 

 

Experienced Accessible Home Builders –

Stanton Homes is an industry leading accessible, universal, certified Aging in Place and VA-approved Specially Adapted Housing custom home builder.

Whether you start with a plan that is designed for accessibility, ask us to modify or create a new plan, we can build in wider hallways and doorways, entry ways, turning radius, non-slip flooring, ramps and walkways, special lighting, roll out or pull out shelving, easy grope door, faucet and drawers, accessible switches, no step entries, roll-in showers, ADA roll-under countertops and work spaces, and whatever else you need.   

Wheelchair Accessible Homes | Hallway and Doorway Requirements

Tags: accessible home design, Wheelchair Accessible Home Builders, accessible home requirements, wheelchair accessible homes

Is Universal Design Right For You? Questions to Ask

Posted by Penny Hull on Thu, Mar 24, 2011 @ 06:03 AM

Considering a Universal Design New Home

Questions to Ask about Universal Design

As families adapt their lifestyle to include children, the elderly or people inconvenienced by a temporary or permanent disability, incorporating universal design into their new home floor plan makes life easier for everyone.

Universal design homes are planned with future needs in mind – so that no matter what kind of disability may afflict the homeowners or their households, your home will “plan ahead” to accommodate it.

When you sit down with your builder to talk about a universal design custom home, the answers to these kinds of questions can help you create the kind of floor plan that will meet all your needs:

  • Will someone need to sit while preparing meals or at the bathroom vanity?
  • Do you have children who will need to be able to help in the kitchen?
  • Will getting in and out of the tub or shower be a problem?
  • Is everyone able to turn a doorknob?
  • Do you need to be able to maneuver a wheelchair?
  • Can every adult reach – and see – the thermostat?
  • Will you need to be able to vary the height of special lighting?
  • Do you plan to live in the home as your family needs change?
  • Is it possible that an elderly relative might move in with you?
  • Is this the home you’d like to retire in?

Answers to these types of questions can help determine the kinds of adaptations you’ll want to discuss with your builder, as you consider the advantages of a universal design.

More Tips and Ideas - Universal Design and Accessible Homes

How to Get Started Looking for an Accessible Home

Door and Hallway Requirements for Accessible Homes

Shower Design Ideas for Accessible Home Bathrooms

Choosing the Right Lot for Your Accessible Home

What is Universal Design, and how does it make living easier?

Laundry Rooms Designed for Easy Use

Top 10 Kitchen Tips - Universal Design

Entrances, Walkways, and Lighting - What To Ask For

Specially Adapted Housing Grants for Veterans

Tags: Raleigh accessible home, universal design homes, Universal Design Home Builders, New Accessible Homes, Wheelchair Accessible Home Builders, universal design ideas

Choosing the Right Lot for your Universal Design or Accessible Home

Posted by Penny Hull on Mon, Feb 07, 2011 @ 06:02 AM

How to Choose the Right Lot for your New Home

Universal Design and Accessible Homes:  What to Look For

How to Choose a Lot for Universal Design Homes | Custom Accessible Home BuildersLooking for a lot for your new Universal Design home requires even more foresight than a traditional custom home. Here’s what to keep in mind to help ensure the special features that make your home easy to use don’t end up costing a lot more than you’re ready for.

No reputable builder can tell you the final cost for your new home until he knows where it’s being built, and what work on the lot will entail.

If you have a new home plan in mind, the lot needs to be able to fit it. If you have some flexibility in your final design decisions, you have more options – but it’s still important to know the overall cost of construction can be dramatically different when a lot isn’t compatible to a Universal Design home.

Here’s what you need to know:

Lot size:

Smaller lots usually require multi-story homes – which necessitate the use of a stairway or elevator.

Lot slope:

A flat or gentle slope is the best terrain for a universal design home.

Steep slopes are usually more suited to a split-level home or daylight basement home. Since an accessible home requires that a bedroom, bathroom and kitchen all be located on a single level, this could require a much broader footprint for one of the levels. Due to the nature of a split level home, each level would also require a separate stairway or elevator – the floor cannot be navigated with a single system. If you opt to move dirt in order to avoid a split-level home, find out how much that will cost before committing to the lot.

Site conditions:

Soil: Sandy soil is the best natural soil for construction. Heavier silts and softer clay may require additional work, especially if a septic system is required. The cost of additional fill may be even higher to complete accessibility requirements.

Water: Foundation footings and slabs need to sit above the water table (depth where water sits year-round.) If the site has a high water table, your builder will need to fill to raise the grade. This also could necessitate extra cost, in maintaining accessibility to at least one entrance.

Building Envelope: Set-back, side-yard requirements and no-building areas may mean the lot is not as big as it appears, in terms of usable space. This could mean that the one-story home you have in mind cannot be built on the lot you have in mind.

When your Universal Design builder inspects your lot, he will be able to show you what it will take to orient a home on the site.  Ask an experienced accessible home builder to inspect the lot before you buy.

How to Choose a Lot for Universal Design Homes | Custom Accessible Home BuildersIf you love the lot, be prepared for possible changes to your floor plan, including basics such as moving the parking area from the low side to the high side of the home.

In addition to the special needs inside the home, the lot also needs to accommodate a smooth transition into the home through level or step-less entrances.

Just as the property may need to have dirt moved in order to provide its Universal Design interior, exterior access may require bridges, ramps, berms, or sloped walkways.

If the home is built so that the ground slopes upward to it, grading can ease the incline with gently rising pathways. Your builder may also recommend that a berm be created alongside the home, in order to accommodate a paved ramp. 

Don’t forget to make sure you’re thinking beyond your Universal Design home, itself, when considering the usability of your lot!

It's not as hard as it sounds, with the help of an experienced accessible home builder.

*Universal Design (UD) (encompassing “aging in place,” “accessible living,” and “barrier-free living”) is an approach to building that makes everyday actions easier.

Universal Design meets the needs of the present and the future.

Consider universal design concepts for your next home - universal design is most cost efficient and effective when incorporated directly into your new home.

Read More Universal Design and Accessible Home Topics:

Accessible Home Builders | Universal Design Custom Home BuildersSpecially Adapted Housing for Veterans and Servicemembers - How to Get Started

How to Get Started Looking for an Accessible Home

Door and Hallway Requirements for Accessible Homes

What is Universal Design, and how does it make living easier?

Getting into a Universal Design home: Entrances, Walkways, and Lighting

Laundry Rooms Designed for Easy Use

Top 10 Kitchen Tips - Universal Design

One Story Floor Plans

Featured Homes - Virtual Tours

Tags: universal design homes, Universal Design Home Builders, accessible homes, nc custom home builder, accessible home design, New Accessible Homes, Wheelchair Accessible Home Builders

Getting into a Universal Design home: Entrances, Walkways, and Lighting

Posted by Penny Hull on Wed, Feb 02, 2011 @ 06:02 AM

Universal Design Home Builders | Accessible Home Design

Entrance, Walkways, and Lighting for Universal Design Homes

Getting in and out of your Universal Design home begins with its entrance, walkways and lighting. Here’s what you need to know – with tips on questions to ask an accessible home builder:

Universal Design Home Builders | Accessible Home Design

Entrance

  • At least one entrance that doesn’t require steps
    • Porch floor, stoop, or landing should be at the same level as the floor inside the home (see the photo above for an example of no-step entry homes)
  • Exterior door at least 35 inches wide
    • Eye-level peephole for adults, children, and wheelchair access
    • Lever or D-shaped door handle
    • Easy-to-reach, lighted doorbell or intercom
  • Flat threshold
  • No slip flooring
  • Large, simple typeface house numbers 60 inches off the floor
  • Overhead covering (roof extension, overhang or awning)
  • Chair, small table, bench or shelf by the door

Universal Design Home Builders | Accessible Home Design

Walkways

  • Textured
  • Nonslip
  • Level or gradually sloping
  • 36 inches to 66 inches wide
  • Concrete or other solid surface material
  • Ramps (see an example of a new home wheelchair ramp, below)
    • No more than one inch rise for each 12 inches in length
    • Five foot landing at top and wherever ramp changes direction
    • Handrails on both sides that can be gripped while sitting and standing

Universal Design Home Builders | Accessible Home Design

Lighting

  • Small, low-voltage lights that illuminate walkways, with extra lights as elevation changes
  • Covered light fixtures above eye level at entrance to minimize glare
  • Illuminate door handle, lockset and house numbers 

Ask your accessible home builder about these additional considerations:

  • Placement of the home that does not require ramps
  • Several fixtures such as scones or hanging lanterns
  • Recess lights in the underside of eaves or roof overhang
  • Perimeter area spotlights directed at walls, dark corners and garages
  • Motion or light sensor that switches on and off automatically
  • Door locks that are easy to operate, such as keyless locks with remote control, push-button or keypad
  • Intercom system—connected to phone or stand-alone
  • Passive or active solar heating (e.g., south facing windows)

Universal Design (UD) (encompassing “aging in place,” “accessible living,” and “barrier-free living”) is an approach to building that makes everyday actions easier.


Experienced Accessible Home Builders –

Stanton Homes is an industry leading accessible, universal, certified Aging in Place and VA-approved Specially Adapted Housing custom home builder.

Whether you start with a plan that is designed for accessibility, ask us to modify or create a new plan, we can build in wider hallways and doorways, entry ways, turning radius, non-slip flooring, ramps and walkways, special lighting, roll out or pull out shelving, easy grope door, faucet and drawers, accessible switches, no step entries, roll-in showers, ADA roll-under countertops and work spaces, and whatever else you need.  

Get help finding an accessible home floor plan in North Carolina, here.

Universal Design Home Builders | Accessible Home Design

(See photos of NC accessible homes - like this version of the Scottsdale, with wider hallways, doorways, and entrances.)

Tags: universal design homes, Universal Design Home Builders, accessible homes, nc custom home builder, accessible home design, New Accessible Homes, Wheelchair Accessible Home Builders