How to Design a Handicap Accessible Shower - Innovative Building Solutions Across the Country Supplying Cleveland Columbus Contractors (2023)

Updated March 24, 2019

You and your husband 'talked' about Mom's move. They both know it's the right thing to do. It sure won't be easy. Since dad passed away 2 years ago, mom's mobility has gone in the wrong direction.

You are worried that she lives alone.

I wish she was wearing the panic alert necklace you bought her last year.

If only you didn't have to worry about him climbing on the high rail of the tub. Getting into a slippery bathtub is an accident you don't want to happen.

If only I didn't live 40 minutes away. Then you could check it more often.

As mom gets older, you age very fast and you worry about her too much.

You and John have come to the conclusion that mom moving in with you and the kids is the right plan. Mom finally (after many long nights of talking) agreed. Giving up the lifestyle completely independent of her is not an easy thing to do. Now you must make her home safe for her (since that's one of the main reasons she's making this move in the first place). You know that the bathroom is the first place you are likely to fall. You know your first floor one-piece fiberglass shower is no better than the one Mom has today.

The 'ADA bathrooms' you saw look like a bad memory from when you visited mom in the hospital, yuck! You and John are looking for an answer to the question of how to create a style.accessible showerthat doesn't yell 'Mom or Grandma live here!'

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In this article, my goal is to give you 5 1/2 handy (and little-known) secrets to designing a contemporary look and feel.elegant accessible shower. In the end, I'd love to hear your feedback on what ideas might help you with your next project, and any other ideas you haven't mentioned. Let's see these secrets.

Little Known Secret #1 - Don't even think about using an ugly white fiberglass roller on your shower drains. Use a wet or solid surface shower tray.

If you've had the "pleasure" (sarcasm intended) of trying to clean the bottom of the fiberglass shower pan in your kid's bathroom, you know that brown grime on the bottom is impossible. Nothing (and I mean nothing) removes these stains. So why use a standard fiberglass shower roller when you know it's going to look terrible afterwards?

The good news is that there are two better options.

#1) A Single Level Wet Bathroom With a Tile Floor Finish. wet rooms areone level bathrooms. There is no curb for mom to go over. They are completely waterproof. Without the 'lip' to go over, they will work well if you need to get in with a wheelchair or walker. If you want to get 'style bonus points', use a linear drain system so you can use large format tiles. Today these large tiles have a hot, hot, hot design and reduce the number of grout joints. That's a double bonus.

Get our definitive guide to shower trays! Renew your bathroom by shrinking your shower tray! get the guide

#2) A Solid Surface Shower Tray with a Low Profile Curb and Ramp Extension Kit– On the other hand, if the thought of grouting (and grout cleaning) gives you hives, use asolid surface shower tray. There are ramped versions (which screams at me unfortunately - wheelchair accessible) or you can go for a 'low profile' (which has a small 1 ½" curb height) and add a ramp extension kit that you can remove at any time. any time.time.With this option you get a beautiful base that does not have a permanent ramp.

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Little-Known Secret #2: Use Stylish, Maintenance-Free Walls. The “tile wall without tiles”

The reason you make your mom move is to enjoy time with her and keep her safe. The problem is that if she spends her time helping to keep her new space (and her bathroom) hers, you won't have time to be with her.

A time-consuming (and unpleasant) maintenance nightmare in bathrooms is tile grout joints. Most people love tiles. They hate cleaning grout joints. I am going to share with you a new way to enjoy the look of tiles without grouting the joints.

Enter the "Sin tiles, pared tiles".

How to Design a Handicap Accessible Shower - Innovative Building Solutions Across the Country Supplying Cleveland Columbus Contractors (4)

Get free samples! Click here to request free samples of our waterproof laminate shower wall panels.

Don't you know what a wall without tiles is? Well, it's high blood pressure.laminate wall showerpanel system that is 100% waterproof and looks exactly like tile. The laminate is applied to a strong 3/8” thick marine grade plywood that is attached to the studs.

The nice thing is that you can install them yourself with panels that snap together and seal together (much like a floating floor system). This DIY-friendly system can be essential if finding a competent contractor in your town is like a needle in a haystack.

These panels are contemporary, stylish, and come in many different 'tile' sizes, patterns, and textures (okay, they're not actually tile). “Wall without tiles, tiles” is the look of tiles minus the hassle of maintenance.

(Video) Selecting a Custom Shower Pan Shower Base Designs Kits Ideas Columbus Cleveland Cincinnati Ohio

There are options in this line to create a farmhouse look, high gloss contemporary, or even a modern minimalist look. How cool is that?

How to Design a Handicap Accessible Shower - Innovative Building Solutions Across the Country Supplying Cleveland Columbus Contractors (6)

Little-Known Secret #3: A Little Thinking About Your Showers Can Make Them Easier To Use (And Safer)

We are all used to the stationary shower head with controls underneath to mix the water temperature. However, this traditional setup can be a ridiculous design for your mom if she's in a walker or wheelchair. You certainly don't want to turn around to turn on the water when the shower head is too high for her to reach and get hit with cold water before the water gets hot. Here are 3 potential water fountain changes you can make to simplify mom's life and make it easier to use.accessible shower:

  • Change #1) Reattach shower controls– Instead of having the controls directly under the shower, move them closer to the shower entrance. That way you can turn on the water and let it heat up before you go inside.
  • Change #2) Install a rain shower head– High pressure rainwater technology has allowed them to progress beyond the “weak” water source of the past. What's good about rain heads for aaccessible showerit is that they direct the water to a more compact place so that it does not splash everywhere. This can be useful for a shower that only has curtains or doors for the attendant.
  • Change #3) Use a hand shower –This can be essential for someone who needs to sit while taking a shower. Portable units not only allow someone to clean hard-to-reach places, but are also useful for cleaning your shower floor or walls (or your pets).

How to Design a Handicap Accessible Shower - Innovative Building Solutions Across the Country Supplying Cleveland Columbus Contractors (7)

Little-Known Secret #4: A flimsy framed shower door is a bad idea. Frameless glass, semi-frameless glass, or glass blocks are the way to go.

Since mom's balance isn't what it used to be, and you don't want the maintenance hassle of cleaning out the icky hair and dirt-infested bottom tracks of a thin-framed shower door system, you'll want to upgrade the glass in its accessible shower. .

There are many options to choose from. First of all, you have to decide if you want to go without a door (having part of the free space to roll or enter) or choose a complete cabinet. If you run out of port, some rugged, secure, and stylish options include aglass block showeror without frameShower screen(with or without pivot door).

If you are using a fully enclosed space, 3/8" thick frameless glass or ¼" thick frameless glass is a good choice.

(Video) Choosing shower & bathroom accessories -- door, grab bar, bench seat, soap dish, valves & heads

Little Known Secret #5: Accessories (and their placement) and wall-hung cabinets will turn your accessible shower into an enjoyable experience

Just as the accessories make the dress, it is also true that the accessories make the bathroom. When a family member has mobility issues, the right accessories in the right place are even more critical. If mommy can't sit securely, she can't reach the soap and shampoo without straining, or she doesn't have something strong to hold on to, she has an accident waiting to happen at her hands. Here are two tips for styling her accessories right the first time:

  • Tip #1: Avoid Buying Wall Panels or Cabinet Systems With Hardware Already Built In- Pre-built shower walls with pre-made surrounds or flimsy grab bars are built with everyone (and I wouldn't say anyone) in mind. This is a tragic design flaw for an accessible shower. You want to determine (and be able to control) where grab bars, seats, and built-in alcoves are placed. If mom has a weak left arm, think about where it's best for her to go in. Place grab bars in the best location for her. On the other hand, if she is using a shower chair, how high above the floor should a shampoo niche be placed so that she can reach it without help or effort?

  • Tip #2 – Don't settle for ugly accessories– In the past, the only grab bars available were like the ones you see in a hospital room. This is not the case. There are decorative grab bars. There are folding teak seats. There are stainless steel shower trays with removable inserts that make cleaning easy. Affordable accessories (say 5x faster) don't have to be nerve-wracking to look at.
  • Tip #3 – Hang the vanity in the bathroom –It's nice to have your dresser at the perfect height for you, without having to buy a custom unit.) It'swall hung vanitythen makes it easier to move and clean.

Little Known Secret #5 1/2 – CAPS aren't just useful for keeping liquids in a bottle. Get help from a CAPS, a "Certified On-Site Aging Specialist."

When you think of tapas, you don't associate them with an accessible shower, but I will argue that you should! You see, there are specialists all over the country (yes, I'm one, but you won't find me sitting on top of a Pepsi bottle) who call themselves Certified Aging-In-Place Specialists (or CAPS) (although I like a friend of my position, who is the best specialist in living in the place). CAPS are trained to design spaces for people who want to spend more time in their homes (and not in Assisted Living).

There's a lot to think about bringing mom into your house (and making sure the bathroom is safe for her, but still looks nice). It can be overwhelming. After all, you're probably not a construction and design professional. So I would recommend, even if you are doing your own research, find oneCAPS Certified Contractoror designer. They'll have more knowledge than the average contractor about accessible spaces and help you save money on design and construction decisions that are new to you.


Bringing Mom into your home is an exciting experience for you, her, and your entire family. There is a lot to manage and often many decisions to make.

If you need an accessible bathroom, I would recommend looking into the systems, products, and certified professionals listed above. They'll save you time, money, and create a stylish (but safe) space.

How can I (or a member of my team) help you?

For service and supply of products directly from the factorygroutless shower wall panels, wet room systems and glass partitions nationwide, contact Innovate Building Solutions at 877-668-5888. For an affordable bathroom remodeling project in Northeast Ohio, callCleveland Design and Redevelopmental 216-658-1270 oThe Bath Doctor in Columbusem 614-252-3242.

If you're a remodeler or builder and want practical tips on home improvement products, industry trends, marketing, and sales tips to grow your business (and reduce the hassles of everyday life), then start reading my latest blog:Innovate Builders Blog. It is full of ideas that you can use right now. Click here toInscreva-se no blog Innovate Builders.

(Video) 9 Frequently Asked Questions: Waterproof Laminate Wall Panels

If you are in the construction business, click here to learn howbecome a shower wall panel distributoror call and ask for Mike at 877-668-5888.

If you would like to connect with me and/or learn more about renewals, please follow me on Twitter@Mike Foti, or my companies@InnovateBuildo@InnovateHomeOrg.

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How do you design an ADA shower? ›

How to Make Your Shower Handicapped Accessible
  1. Standard roll-in showers must be at least 30 in. wide by 60 in. deep, accessible from a front entry at least 60 in. ...
  2. The threshold height for roll-in showers must be no taller than ½ in.
  3. Grab bars must be installed horizontally no lower than 33 in. and no higher than 36 in.
Aug 2, 2021

What is the best shower for disabled person? ›

Wet rooms could be considered the ultimate in accessible showers. The entire bathroom is converted so that there is a flat surface that is slip resistant and waterproof, making it ideal for wheelchair users and people with mobility difficulties.

How to design a handicap bathroom? ›

A handicap accessible bathroom should be large and spacious enough to accommodate mobility devices, and the all doorways, storage compartments, and countertops should be widened and lowered as well. All bath mats should be removed from the floor in order to prevent mobility issues.

What are the dimensions of a handicap accessible shower? ›

Standard Roll-in Type ADA Showers (minimum 60" x 30" inside dimension) Makes maneuvering in a wheelchair easy, with 60" x 30" of accessible shower space. Some jurisdictions require a 60" x 36" inside dimension so that caregivers can easily assist.

What is ADA requirement for shower 2022? ›

Size: The shower should be at least 60 inches long and 30 inches wide. Additionally, you should leave a clearance of the same size outside the shower. Thresholds: The rise into the shower should be 1/2 inch or less.

How to build a handicap accessible shower? ›

Tips for an Accessible Shower
  1. Create a wide shower entry. ...
  2. Skip the door. ...
  3. The floor should be nonslip. ...
  4. Use contrasting colors. ...
  5. Provide good lighting. ...
  6. Install a handheld shower. ...
  7. A fixed shower head is optional. ...
  8. Controls should be accessible.
Jan 4, 2022

How do you keep water from running out of a handicap shower? ›

5 ways to contain water in a roll-in shower
  1. (1) Achieve a sufficient slope of the floor towards the drain. ...
  2. (2) Direct the water towards the drain. ...
  3. (3) Use partial walling sections of the shower to avoid gaping on the edges. ...
  4. (4) Use a heavy weighted shower curtain. ...
  5. (5) Incorporate a linear drain or flexible water dam.
May 22, 2019

What is the best length for a walk-in shower? ›

The average walk-in shower in the U.S. measures 60" x 30", though size options can vary widely, typically up to 60" x 42" for a rectangular shower and 42" x 42" for a square one. For smaller bathrooms, most experts recommend a shower enclosure no smaller than 36" x 36".

What is the best type of walk-in shower? ›

For durable, water-resistant, safe (not scratchy or slippery), and easy-to-maintain flooring, ceramic and porcelain tiles are both excellent choices for walk-in showers.

What is the minimum size for an ADA bathroom with shower? ›

With a shower, the smallest ADA bathroom could be about 54 square feet. Without a shower, the bathroom can shrink to 37.5 square feet.

What are the dimensions of a universal design shower? ›

As for size, your shower should be at least three feet square and have a wide entry, so there's ample room to get in and move around. Designer Mary Jo Peterson, CKD, CBD and a universal design specialist in Brookfield, Conn., says 42 by 60 inches is even better, particularly for showers that have no door or curtain.

What does an ADA compliant shower look like? ›

Therefore, an ADA shower is one that is sufficiently handicap accessible. Such showers typically feature wide openings, low thresholds, grab bars, and built-in seating. One of the most common versions of an ADA compliant shower is a transfer shower.

What is ADA compliant shower base? ›

ADA transfer shower pans have minimum interior dimensions of 36″ x 36″, a maximum 1/2″curb, and ADA roll in bases have a minimum interior dimensions of 60″ x 30″.

What is the height of a handicap seat in a shower? ›

SHOWER SEATS must be mounted with the top surface of the seat 17 inches to 19 inches (430 to 485mm) above the finish floor (Fig. 23b). Permanent or folding seats are now required by the 2009 ICC/ANSI Standards.

What is the difference between handicap accessible and ADA compliant? ›

The most significant difference between ADA-compliant and wheelchair-accessible units is that to be ADA compliant, there must be enough space for a wheelchair user to do a 360-degree turn. These units also have reinforced construction and reinforced handrails.

What is the difference between a transfer shower and a roll in shower? ›

There are two types of showers: Transfer showers and roll in showers. Transfer showers are one's people with mobility impairment will “transfer” onto. Roll-in showers are the ones that a person in a wheelchair will roll their wheelchair into. ADA Section 608.4 requires permanent shower seats in transfer showers.

Can you put a shower door on an ADA shower? ›

Answer: Roll in showers are intended to be as accessible as possible. Adding a shower door will limit the accessibility of the unit‚ making it harder for wheelchair users to get in and out. We recommend using a shower curtain instead, for full accessibility.

How much does it cost to convert bathroom to handicap accessible? ›

Converting to bathrooms and kitchens that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines: $9,000–$40,000. Widening a doorway: $700–$2,500.

Where do you put a handicap bar in a shower? ›

Shower Stall Grab Bar Placement
  1. Vertical entrance bar should go close to the shower door jamb.
  2. Horizontal bar should go along the side wall, 34-36 inches above the floor.
  3. Vertical bar on the faucet end wall should go near the faucet handles.
Dec 5, 2017

How do you keep water off the floor in a walk-in shower? ›

Design Features to Stop Water Getting Everywhere
  1. Showerheads that point downwards. ...
  2. Correctly Sized Shower Screens. ...
  3. Low profile floor tiles. ...
  4. Install a higher flow drain than needed. ...
  5. Consider a pivoting glass door.
Apr 9, 2022

How much does it cost to build a tiled walk-in shower? ›

On average, professionals charge a little over $2,000 for this type of job, as tile needs to be cut to fit around fixtures. This is a challenging project, but with the right tools and equipment, you could tackle this on your own for under $1,000. Tile surrounds for your walk-in bathroom can be done in a weekend.

Do walk-in showers get water everywhere? ›

With a walk-in shower you'll get too much water on the bathroom floor. You'll be cold in there without a full glass enclosure or shower curtains. You don't have enough room for a walk-in shower.

Does a walk in shower devalue your home? ›

In general, removing a tub and installing a well-appointed walk-in shower also increases the value of a home. Removing your only tub to install a walk-in shower can make your home's value take a hit because most prospective homebuyers, especially families with small kids, want at least one bathtub.

How big is too big for a walk in shower? ›

The National Kitchen and Bath Association recommends a larger size; 36” by 36”, to be exact. The most common rectangular walk-in shower sizing is 36” by 48”. That means that there are a wide range of sizes that can accommodate the walk-in design, making it one of the most versatile options available.

Is it cheaper to build a walk in shower? ›

You'll save money on labor costs when you handle a walk-in shower installation on your own instead of hiring a professional. If you're willing to do the work, the money you save on labor costs could instead allow you to upgrade finishes, features and hardware for a more luxurious bathroom design.

What is the best wall material for a walk in shower? ›

Ceramic / Porcelain

Ceramic and porcelain tiles have been the classic and staple shower wall materials for years! Similar to glass tiles, they come in a variety of textures, sizes and colors. To add, these tiles are inexpensive, water resistant and less likely to stain.

What is the best flooring for a shower? ›

Ceramic or Porcelain Tile

The most popular choice for bathrooms is tile. Specifically, ceramic and porcelain tiles are great options for bathrooms. Tile flooring is resilient, waterproof, available in a variety of colors and designs, and generally less expensive than other hard surface options.

What is the cheapest material for walk in shower? ›

Acrylic panels

Acrylic is one of the most cost-effective materials for your bathroom. Cheaper and with fewer problems than tiling, it can give you the look and functionality you're after at a fraction of the cost.

What is the smallest space for a walk in shower? ›

The smallest size for a walk in shower is recommended to be 36 inches by 36 inches, inclusive of a bench attached to a wall within the space. By sticking to the suggested minimum sizing of 36 by 36 inches, you'll create a walk-in shower area that offers adequate room for comfortable, easy showering.

What is the average depth of a shower? ›

The smallest size is typically 32 inches wide x 32 inches deep (although the International Residential Code allows for showers as small as 30 inches x 30 inches), and they go up incrementally from there, usually to about 36 inches x 60 inches.

Is 32 inch shower big enough? ›

In general, a shower should measure at least 36 square inches. However, if your bath space is especially petite, 30 square inches is the absolute minimum space requirement for a shower. To determine the minimum shower size you'll need, step inside a few showers at a plumbing showroom or home improvement store.

What are 2 things to consider when designing a bathroom? ›

Top 7 Considerations when designing a bathroom
  • Space. Fully utilising your available space is essential. ...
  • Size. What matters here is getting the balance right between the good use of the space available and the design of the room. ...
  • Light. Your bathroom lighting should not be an afterthought. ...
  • Colour. ...
  • Access. ...
  • Budget.
Jan 21, 2021

What makes a shower stall ADA compliant? ›

Must be minimum 60” x 36” from center points of opposing sides. Must be 36” from front wall to back wall - no construction tolerance is stated in the code. 36” minimum opening at the entry of the shower from the top to floor. Folding seat placed on front wall.

Can an ADA shower have a curb? ›

The base can have a side or rear curbs, or rounded corners for cleaning. This would not obstruct access at all. The 36-inch (915 mm) minimum width entrance is required so access to the transfer seat is not blocked by side lips rounded in at the entrance.

What makes a shower faucet ADA compliant? ›

The operating parts of a water faucet cannot be higher than 48" from the ground if the area is free from obstructions and no lower than 15". Make sure the faucet handles won't be elevated too high. Mounting bathroom faucet handles on the base can help ensure the installation meets the height requirement.

How high should a handicap rail in a shower be? ›

The grab bar(s) shall be mounted 33-36 inches (840-915 mm) above the shower floor measured at the entry. The controls shall be placed in an area between 38-48 inches (965-1220 mm) above the floor.

How tall is an ADA compliant shower? ›

In a 36-inch by 36-inch transfer-type shower compartment (the person must move from a wheelchair to a shower seat), controls, including the valve, faucet, and shower spray unit, are to be installed on the wall opposite the seat no less than 38 inches and no more than 48 vertical inches from the floor.

Is a shower seat required in a ADA shower? ›

ADA Section 608.4 requires permanent shower seats in transfer showers. These must be either folding or not folding seat. The only exception is for residential dwelling units required to comply with ADA (not Fair Housing).

What is code for shower slope? ›

In a stall shower, the plumbing code requires the floor to be sloped one quarter (1/4) of an inch per foot in order to carry the water effectively to the drain. This slope, according to the TCNA Handbook is called “sloped fill” or commonly known as the pre-slope.

How high does a shower curtain rod need to be ADA? ›

A standard shower curtain is typically 72 inches long, so the curtain rod should be installed around 75 to 77 inches from the floor. This height will keep the shower curtain from touching the floor.

What are ADA requirements for handicap bathroom? ›

A clear circle of at least 60 inches around the side wall and 56 inches from the rear wall to allow a wheelchair to turn (the door cannot swing into the minimum required area for wheelchair-accessible toilet compartments). A toilet seat height of 17-19 inches.


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