Basic rules and ideas for barrier free bathroom design
The need for barrier free bathroom design has grown dramatically in the past decade as the population ages and especially because of the “baby boom” retiring has come.
The need for barrier free bathroom design has not gone un-noticed and technology followed the trend providing products and services that were either too expensive or simply not available a decade ago.
A barrier free bathroom is essentially a bathroom that is built without the typical barriers to accessibility that are common in a standard bathroom such as narrow doors, narrow areas, high tubs, tight area toilets and more. Handicapped people must have barrier free bathrooms in order to try and carry on life in as much independence as possible, simple functions that able people take for granted every day.
When approaching the barrier free bathroom design we must look at the following areas:
Barrier free showers and tubs
Although it is dependent on the actual needs of the handicapped person, most barrier free bathroom designs will try to eliminate the tubs all together and install a barrier free shower instead. The barrier free shower will be spacious, easily accessible, possibly have a seating area or access to a wheel chair, have plenty of safety bars and most importantly have no height difference between the bathroom floor and the shower area. One should be able to move around and operate the shower easily, safely and without falling.
Toilet area design
Barrier free toilets should have safety bars for moving in and out of the toilet area, have easily controlled seat and mechanism and most importantly have ample space around the toilet to make sure it is easily accessible with or without a wheel chair or a walker.
Barrier free bathroom sinks
The sink is a very important element of the barrier free bathroom design and usually it is the easiest one to work with or modify because all you really need is to make sure the sink is as accessible as possible with a wheel chair with a clear area underneath and no pedestal or vanity below it. You must not forget the sink fixtures, the tap etc. that should be easily operated as well.
Floor and walls
We must remember that the bathroom is a wet area and therefore slipping and falling happen there more than any other room in the house. We must make sure that the floor is designed with non slippery tiles and that there are plenty of grabbing rails all over the bathroom.