4 Tips for Making Your Home Handicap Accessible
You may have friends or family members that suffer from some sort of handicap. By making your home handicap accessible, you’ll be able to make them comfortable each time they visit. You don’t actually need to invest a lot of money and time to do this. In most cases, a few small modifications and additions here and there should be enough to do the trick.
In this article, we’re going to giving some helpful tips to those who want to go the DIY route.
Take Care of the Entrance First
The most important thing is making sure that anyone that moves around on a wheelchair is able to get inside your house with ease. Accessibility ramps are the perfect solution for this problem.
There are three main ramp layouts to choose from: in-line, dog-legged and switchback. In-line ramps are straight from start to finish, hence if you need it to join the entrance the side, you should make sure that there’s enough space in your yard to achieve that.
Dog-legged ramps are ‘L’ shaped because there’s a 90-degree turn at an intermediate landing. Hence these are great for more compact properties, as are switchback ramps, which have a 180-degree bend at the intermediary landing.
Widen the Doorframe
Typically a doorframe needs to be at least 32 inches wide in order to allow a wheelchair in comfortably. This means you may have to chip away at the frame or install a new one, depending on how thick the existing one is. If you don’t have the budget to do that, we recommend install swing-away door hinges to gain a few inches extra.
You’ll need to do this for both the entrances and the lower-level bathroom(s) at least.
Make Changes to the Bathroom
First of all, there must be at least one bathroom on the lowest level of your house. The bathroom’s door should ideally swing outwards as this will make it easier for someone on a wheelchair to operate.
If your toilet is quite low, consider installing a raised seat. If you have the budget for it, you could replace the existing one with a special handicap-friendly model. Next, take a look at the bathtub and shower. If they’re not easily accessible, consider installing a transfer seat to help him/her get there. Lastly, it’s a good idea to install handrails around the bathroom, to prevent slips.
Handicapped people often have a hard time handling knob handles. Hence, if there are any on the lower-level bathrooms or the main entrances, have them replaced with pull handles. This isn’t at all difficult to do by yourself and it’ll be relatively expensive.
Likewise, you may want to replace taps that have knobs with the kind that uses a single lever. This can make things easier for you as well since single-lever washers do not come with washers. Hence they don’t require much maintenance.
And there you have it- four tips for making your home more handicap-accessible! Most of the modifications suggested above shouldn’t cost all that much, especially if you do it yourself. However, if you’re building a permanent wheelchair ramp, you may have to hire a contractor.