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What Does ADA-Accessible Mean for Your Bathroom?

Did you know that there are roughly 61 million people with disabilities in the United States? This statistic means one in every four Americans has a disability. That’s why the government created the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990 to create accessibility standards for private and public accommodations. However, you might be wondering what this act means for your bathroom.

Elderly man holding on handrail in bathroom

What Does ADA Accessible Mean?

The Americans with Disabilities Act made businesses and public spaces accessible to people with disabilities. It was signed into law by President George Bush on July 26, 1990.

The ADA and section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 provided civil rights to people with disabilities. For example, it includes the right not to be discriminated against.

An ADA-accessible space allows people with disabilities to transit without difficulty. For example, it can mean adding wheelchair ramps or a wheelchair lift. It can also involve making bathrooms accessible for people with wheelchairs.

Here are some of the spaces that need to be ADA accessible:

  • Bathrooms
  • Entries to businesses and homes (hotels and more)
  • Public spaces
  • Airports

According to the ADA accessibility guidelines, all states and local governments must comply with Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This rule means no government agency can discriminate against people with disabilities.

One important part of not discriminating is making the agencies’ offices and headquarters accessible to everyone.

Note: The ADA standards for accessible spaces for people with disabilities in the United States also cover web content accessibility.

Does Your Bathroom Need to Be ADA-Accessible?

Not all bathrooms are required to be ADA-accessible. For instance, old buildings are exempt from bathroom renovations to comply with the accessibility act unless they belong to government agencies. However, if your building is already undergoing renovations, it will need to become ADA-accessible.

All bathrooms need to be ADA compliant if they are for public use or used by more than one person. This rule, however, does not apply to private homes. In your house, you can decide whether you want your bathroom to be ADA-accessible.

Tip: Before renovating your business for ADA compliance, you should contact your local government to check what the guidelines are in your area. You can also see whether Title III of the act applies to your business.

ADA-Accessibility in Apartments

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires apartments and rental properties to offer accessibility to people with disabilities. For example, if you are leasing an apartment, it must comply with the act.

ADA Compliance in Assisted Living Facilities

All assisted living facilities constructed after 1995 must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Under the act, at least 50% of all public use and common areas in the facility need to be accessible for people with disabilities.

How to Make Your Bathroom ADA Compliant

To turn your bathroom into an accessible space, you will first need to understand the compliance guidelines. The main aspect you need to consider is having enough space for people with wheelchairs to access and use the bathroom.

Here are the layouts and dimensions standards for accessible design:

  • Accessible doors: Following ADA regulations, all doors should allow enough space for wheelchairs to maneuver. A door may not swing within 30” (76.2 cm) and 48” (121.9 cm) of the sink area.
  • Accessible stalls: An ADA-accessible stall needs to have its side walls 18” (45.7 cm) away from the toilet line. The stall also needs enough space for a person in a wheelchair to maneuver around.

Wheelchair-Accessible Showers

  • Accessible sinks: A sink may not be mounted higher than 34” (86.3 cm) above the floor. This also means that the space between the sink and the floor must be clear to allow people in wheelchairs. Additionally, sinks and faucets need to be easy to use with one hand.
  • Accessible toilets: The ADA guidelines dictate that all ADA-compliant toilets must have the same dimensions. The toilet seat must be between 17” (43.1 cm) and 19” (48.2 cm) tall. The center of the toilet must be 16” (40.6 cm) to 18” (45.7 cm) away from walls or sidewalls.

Note: There cannot be uncovered pipes inside an ADA-compliant bathroom. There should also be grab bars available to help people with disabilities.

How Many ADA Compliant Restrooms Do You Need?

The law says that if you have between one and twenty-five people working or using your facilities, you need one female and one male bathroom. If that’s the case, both bathrooms need to be ADA compliant.

If your facilities have more than one bathroom for females and males, at least one needs to be ADA compliant. It is common for businesses like restaurants to have at least one cluster restroom for someone with a disability.

Make Your Bathroom ADA-Accessible with American Bath Enterprises

Are you looking to make your bathroom ADA-accessible? American Bath Enterprises can help you during the process! The products and services we offer can help you make your bathroom more accessible and safe. You can view our full product catalog or call us at (888) 228-4925 for more information!