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Remodeling A Bathroom For Accessibility

By on Feb 13, 2019
Remodeling A Bathroom For Accessibility

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Accessible home remodels are becoming more attractive to those who are looking to age in place. In fact, the National Association Of Home Builders data shows that homeowners wanting to age in place was one of the rising top reasons for a remodel in 2018.

If you’re considering a remodel for accessibility, many homeowners tend to look at the bathroom first. It’s a common place for slips and falls due to moisture. Here are a few tips on how you can remodel your bathroom for accessibility.

Are you ready to get started on your bathroom remodel? Contact a bathroom remodeling contractor today and receive quotes from pros in your area for free.

Why Remodel For Accessibility?

You might be wondering why accessibility remodeling is important. As the home is a space for everyone of all ages and abilities, it should be made so that it’s easy and safe to maneuver around without worry. Often, wheelchair bathroom design is a factor when remodeling for accessibility, but aging in place has become a big priority for homeowners.

“The most common reason people want to update their bathroom for accessibility is aging,” Emily Hoefler, kitchen and bath designer at Renovations Group Inc. “We all age and will have different abilities at different stages in life, and hygiene activities tend to be impacted the most. We might also have an unexpected accident and need different accommodations at home which usually starts in the bathroom. Having an accessible bathroom prepares you for whatever life may throw at you, even if it’s recovering from a surgery where you might need to sit in the shower for some time. An accessible bathroom has a potential impact at many stages in life.”

Accessible Bathroom Layout

One of the first steps to consider before starting your accessible bathroom remodel is the layout. Often, for bathroom remodels, making it larger is the key. However, when it comes to accessibility, doorways and entryways may need to be widened, extra room for grab bars should be added.

“Think about the ADA guidelines which will begin with the layout,” Hoefler said. “A designer can help you follow those guidelines. Not every bathroom will need to be entirely ADA compliant, not every home can accommodate being entirely compliant, and you might not even want to follow all of the guidelines.”

View the ADA Standards For Accessible Design.

Accessible Bathroom Features

An accessible bathroom can have many features that make it safe and easy to move throughout the bathroom. Hoefler mentioned its best to start with a plan of wants and needs.

“The first place to start with an accessible bathroom remodel is what you want to accomplish," she said. “Everyone’s list looks slightly different as we all have different needs and priorities. Is the priority wheelchair accessibility, eliminating trip hazards, seated showering, or something else? Figuring out what the needs and wants are can help determine where to spend money and allocating space to that.”

Here are a few areas to think about:

Barrier-Free Showers

While bathtubs are nice to have, they can cause a hazard for anyone who has mobility needs. Instead, you may want to opt for a standing shower that’s barrier-free.

“Barrier-free showers not only eliminate tripping hazards and allow for wheelchair accessibility,” Hoefler said. “But also create a luxurious feel to a bathroom and are easier to clean. Even converting a tub to a shower helps lower the threshold needed to step over to shower. “

Keep in mind, the average cost to install a shower is $2,997, with most homeowners spending between $1,420 and $3,411.

Grab Bars

For an accessible bathroom, grab bars are a must. Having them in the shower is essential to prevent slips and falls that can occur on the surface. However, you should also consider placing them outside of the shower, say near the toilet or sink as well.

Many homeowners worry about how grab bars will look in a bathroom. However, there are more options than ever before to help incorporate them for style and function. Read The Secret Weapon For Bathroom Safety to learn more.

“These days, grab bars are as stylish as any other bathroom hardware,” Hoefler said. “and can coordinate with your plumbing fixtures. Having these features in place in a bathroom prepare you the possibility of needing accessibility while also adding style to your bathroom remodel.”

High Toilets

Having higher than the standard 16-inch toilet can be convenient for an accessible bathroom. The ADA recommends having a toilet height for 17” to 19” for accessibility. There is a significant chance that you may need to contact a plumber to install a new toilet, rather than install yourself.

Accessible Bathroom Remodel

As you can see, an accessible bathroom is becoming a more popular update among homeowners, and it only takes a few changes to really make a difference.

“At some point, the majority of the population will have a need for an accessible bathroom,” Hoefler said.  “Some people are already there and looking for a move-in-ready home, whereas others are looking for these features as part of their wish list for other reasons. 75% of my bathroom remodels last year included showers instead of tubs, with several of those showers being curbless. Almost all of those weren’t for necessity but because they wanted a larger and more luxurious shower. Things that originally came from accessibility are becoming luxury items.” 

If you’re ready to remodel your bathroom, make sure you budget for the project. On average, a bathroom remodel can cost around $8,820, with most homeowners spending between $6,569 to $9,872.


Remodeling for accessibility is becoming more and more popular, so it’s time to start planning your bathroom remodel. Contact a pro today to get started.

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