Our Favorite Accessibility Features When Renovating

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Old tools on a wooden table

A lot of accessibility features can be added to a renovation project for little or no cost. Here are some of our favourites:

Install some lever style handles for your plumbing fixtures or door hardware – Lever style handles are easy to use and don’t require a lot of hand strength. They’re perfect for people with arthritis or reduced hand mobility. With both plumbing fixtures and door handles, they may even be around the same price as other styles of fixtures.

Light switches at 48 inches from the floor and outlets raised to 18-24 inches off the floor If you’re removing drywall or framing a new wall, consider moving electrical to an easier location to reach.

Ventilation Fans with push button timers – Another easy install if you’re redoing your bathroom. The best we’ve seen have 3 buttons with timers set at 10, 20, and 30 minutes and one button to turn the fan on and off. Everything fits in the same place a regular switch for a ventilation fan would.

Grab bars near the toilet and in the shower Installing grab bars after the fact can actually be expensive, as the walls need to be opened and backing needs to be installed in order to support a grab bar. Getting them installed during a bathroom renovation is a minor cost. Grab bars come in all sorts of styles now and look great in any bathroom.

Walk-in shower with a bench and shampoo nichesRather than replacing your tub with a..well…another tub, consider a curbless shower and bench combo. They look fantastic, are easy to keep clean. A little more expensive than a traditional tub setup, but a lot better looking than one of those bathtub chairs.

Pocket DoorsA traditional hung door can actually get in the way if someone is using a walker or a wheelchair. Pocket Doors allow people easier access into rooms. Choosing doors with good tracks and hardware helps to easily open and close the door.

More Lighting/Better LightingUsing LED lighting to light up pathways to your home, as well as providing more indirect light inside your home can help prevent falls.

Pull Out Drawers in Kitchen CabinetsGetting to the very back of a lower cabinet is hard enough when the cabinet is full. Pull out drawers are easy to install and can also help organize some of the clutter in your kitchen cabinets. Add in some self closing hardware and pull down shelves in the upper cabinets for easy access to all of your kitchen cabinets.

Widen your hallways and doorwaysSometimes this might be difficult in an existing home, but, if possible, doorways should be at least 32-36 inches wide and hallways should be 42 inches wide.

Ramped Entrances to your home – Ramps that blend in with your home and landscaping allow for easy entrance and exit.

Different kitchen counter top heights – Having different kitchen countertop heights means that everyone can use the kitchen countertop. Children, adults, and people with wheelchairs or walkers can all get in on the cooking.

Hand Railing on the Stairs – Making sure that a sturdy handrail on you stairs is a must. Having a handrail on both sides of the stairs is even better.

If you’re in the Greater Edmonton area and are looking for a contractor for you renovation project, visit our website at www.nordalta.com/contact.php to find information on how to contact us. We’d be happy to speak to you about what we can do to get the ball rolling on your next home or office project. You can also leave comments with us at info@nordalta.com.

Michael Breault is a project coordinator for Nord Alta Construction. You can find the company website at www.nordalta.com. You can also find Michael and Nord Atla Construction on facebook at www.facebook.com/NordAltaConstruction, on twitter at www.twitter.com/Nordalta, and on LinkedIn.

Robert Breault is the president and owner of Nord Alta Construction. You can find the company website at www.nordalta.com. You can also find Robert and Nord Alta Construction on facebook at www.facebook.com/NordAltaContruction and on LinkedIn.