What the ADA Requires of an Accessible Bathroom

If you're looking at ideas for bathroom remodeling and considering a handicapped bathroom, there are several requirements you must meet to match the guidelines set by the Americans with Disabilities act. Here are a few handicapped bathroom remodeling design tips to help you meet those guidelines.

Grab Bars

Don't assume that your existing towel bars will be able to double as grab bars. They won't be sturdy enough. Grab bars must be completely anchored and provide handicapped bathroom users with a sturdy, smooth, rounded surface to grab onto. The bar must be between one-and-one-fourth and one-and-a-half inches in diameter, 34-38 inches off the ground and at least one-and-a-half inches away from the wall to allow room for a proper and firm grasp.

Floor and Rotating Space

Accessible bathrooms must have a clear space of at least 30 by 48 inches to navigate a single wheelchair through. Users should be able to take a forward or parallel approach to equipment like sinks and toilets. Clear space can include the space under fixtures like sinks as long the wheelchair can move comfortably under them. There should also be a space of 60 inches in diameter that allows a single wheelchair to complete a 180 degree turn.


Toilets should be at least 60 inches wide and feature a space for the wheelchair to go on either side so a user can transfer over comfortably, usually with the help of specially placed grab bars. Toilet seats have to be 17-19 inches above the floor and the flush control can't be higher than 44 inches above the floor.

Hand Dryers and Sinks

Hand dryers need to be touch free or motion activated, and they should also not protrude from the wall more than four inches since a protruding device without a sensor could injure a blind person. The bathroom remodeling costs associated with installing touch-free devices are cheap compared to the fines that could be leveraged for not having them. Sinks should be open underneath so a wheelchair could fit in the space below and the faucet should be touch-activated or controlled by easy-to-grip levers.

Talk to bathroom remodeling companies in your area that specialize in handicapped bathrooms to make sure you're meeting all of the requirements of the law.