*Difference Between Accessible and Universal Bathroom Design

June 19, 2011

If you are planning a bathroom remodeling, it may be a good time to learn about types of bathroom design efficiently able to serve the family.  This is especially true if there are members of the family requiring specific parameters to have seniors or the handicapped use the bathroom.

An accessible bathroom design ensures the area allows ample space to accommodate the movements of a wheelchair.  It also means proper height of sinks and countertops to be used by someone on a wheelchair. To accommodate a wheelchair, an accessible bathroom design should measure, at a minimum, 24 inches deep by 36 inches wide.  The doorway should be no less than 32 inches wide.  Sinks should have ample leg room underneath with a height of about 32 inches.  Shower and water closets should likewise be the right height.

On the other hand, a universal design bathroom focus more on seniors rather than handicapped.  It should be friendly enough to be used by anyone in the home.  There should be hand grabs and anti-scalding devices for seniors and yet safe enough for children.  It should have adjustable hand-held shower heads or seating in the shower.  Rather than providing ample space like the accessible design, the universal design focuses on safety, stability, adjustability, and ease of use.  It will need to take into consideration people with mobility problems, but not necessarily those requiring wheelchairs.

The best design is to incorporate the essential designs of both types in one bathroom, especially if you have grandma or grandpa living with you.  Otherwise, the bathroom can be a dangerous place without these safety precautions.  Since a bathroom remodeling can cost substantial expense, it would be best to design it based on anticipated needs.

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