When designing a new bathroom, an important factor to take into consideration is wheelchair accessibility. You may be in a wheelchair, have a loved one in a wheelchair, living in the home with a person with disabilities or have the person as a frequent visitor or you may be planning something that is a possibility in the future. Whatever your reasons for considering a wheelchair accessible sink, they are most likely good ones. A bathroom can still be the bathroom of your dreams even if your are making it wheelchair accessible. There are so many color and design options available for manufacturers who keep accessibility in mind.
Choosing an Accessible Sink
Choose a wall-mounted sink. Wall-mounted sinks are traditionally used as handicap or wheelchair accessible because they allow the person using the sink to slide the wheelchair under the sink without the wheels or arms of the chair prohibiting the person from coming in close to wash hands, brush teeth or just check themselves out in the mirror. Sliding in under the sink allows one to easily reach faucet handles, soap dispensers and toothbrushes. Imagine being able to get right up to the mirror and brush your hair rather than attempting to brush from a distance.
Measuring for an Accessible Sink
Take measurements for placement of the new sink. The clearance from the floor to the underside of the sink should be a minimum of 27 inches and a maximum height of 34 inches. Of course, adjustments can be made if the person is considerably shorter or taller. Test fit the sink before installation. Ask the person in the wheelchair to come by the proposed sink and measure. Make sure you allow for room for any side pieces and arm rests on the wheelchair. Ask the person to come close to the wall and make marks on the wall exactly designating placement rather than trying to rely on your memory. It is musch easier to measure and mark tahn it is to remove the sink and reposition after the installation is complete.
Position a mirror over the sink in direct measurement relation to the sink. The mirror should be no greater that 36 inches from the floor to the bottom of the mirror.
Safety for an Accessible Sink
Insulate exposed plumbing pipes connecting the sink to the water supply. This safety measure will keep everyone safe from hot pipes. Cover exposed pipes with pipe insulation or specialized pipe sleeves.
Choose ADA Approved Sinks
There is a wide variety of wheelchair accessible sinks available through retailers who carry specific ADA approved sinks. ADA stands for Americans with Disabilities Act that covers height specifications and requirements for people to have comfortable and free access to sinks.
Check your local code requirements and state laws before you add a wheelchair accessible sink to your house as they may differ from ADA requirements. Some local codes mandate the type of mirrors, for example they mirror may have to be shatterproof. The local codes may also mandate specific types of pipe insulation to prevent a person who is up close to teh sink from getting burned by a hot pipe. Local codes typically enhance safety features put in place by the ADA.