ADA Compliant Bathroom Design

Intended to regulate the construction and compliance of handicapped accessible bathrooms, the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that all public restrooms in the United States be ADA-compliant. The most prevalent aspect of ADA compliance is measurement and spacing of various bathroom elements, as wheelchairs and other devices can be cumbersome and difficult to maneuver in small spaces. If you’re renovating a bathroom and would like for it to be ADA compliant, here is a list of the most common guidelines that must be followed. For a complete list, please visit the official ADA website or contact the ADA directly.

Grab Bars

An important thing to remember when it comes to grab bars is that they cannot be replaced by towel bars – if you wish to install towel bars and have your bathroom be ADA-compliant, you must also include grab bars in your bathroom. The diameter of the pipe used must be between 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 inches, and must be installed between 34 and 38 inches off the ground. As a matter of safety and security, the bars must be round in shape and connected directly to posts or walls. This way, someone getting hurt by sharp edges can be prevented.

Sinks & Faucets

Sinks and faucets in an ADA-compliant bathroom shouldn’t be mounted higher than 34 inches from the floor. Additionally, they should have a knee clearance of 27 inches high, 30 inches wide, and 19 inches deep. When purchasing and installing ADA-compliant sinks, be sure to pay attention to the space under the sink: you’ll need a clear floor space and insulated pipes under the sink, so individuals in wheelchairs will be able to use the sink. Faucets should be lever-operated, push, touch, or electronically controlled. Any faucet installed in an ADA-compliant bathroom should be able to be used with one hand without the need to pinch or twist the wrist.

Handicap Toilets

Perhaps the most important part of an ADA-compliant bathroom are handicap toilets. They must have a minimum width of 60 inches, so wheelchairs can easily fit in front of the toilet, and inside and outside the stall. Horizontal grab bars must be installed behind the toilet and on the nearest wall or partition – whichever is closer. When it comes to toilet seats, the height must be between 17” to 19” above the finished floor. The lever for flushing must be placed on the open side of the toiler with the clearest floor space, and mounted no higher than 44” above the floor.

Hand Dryer

Hand dryers are one of the easiest requirements to comply with when it comes to ADA-compliant bathroom design. ADA guidelines require that the provided hand dryers must be either motion activated or touch-free devices. In the past, when push-button activated dryers were popular, these dryers had to be removed in all public areas where you should have handicapped accessible bathrooms. When it comes to bathroom equipment, touch-free is key – those who don’t comply with the touch-free ADA guidelines can be exposed to several fines and other legal repercussions.

If you’re turning an existing bathroom into an ADA-compliant bathroom, Modern Bathroom has an entire line of ADA-compliant vanities, faucets, sinks, and toilets, just to name a few of our ADA-compliant categories. Please visit our website for more ADA-compliant products.

What Type of Shower Base is Right for You?

If you’re midway through a bathroom remodel, you maybe browsing the Web for shower bases. When it comes to shower bases, there are many different types – each with their own unique pros and cons. Some of them are easy enough for an amateur to install, while others should be left to the professionals. From pre-cast to acrylic shower bases, here’s what you need to know in order to choose the right shower base for your bathroom.

Pre-cast Shower Base

This type of shower base comes in various shapes and sizes, and is ready to install right out of the box. Neo angle bases are designed for corner showers, and come with a curb, tile flanges, and a built-in drain pocket. Easy enough for even the most novice DIYer to install, most manufacturers will make custom pre-cast bases that are sure to fit almost any size, shape, and drain location. Note: before you begin installation, read and review the manufacturer’s installation instructions and tips. The entire success of your project depends on a good installation of the base – don’t install them out of level or you’ll be reprimanding yourself later on down the line.

Custom Tile Shower Base

While a custom tile shower base can be built from scratch or built from a kit, it’s time consuming and can be tedious. If you wouldn’t consider yourself a handy person and don’t have a ton of patience, choose the pre-cast base, as custom tile shower bases aren’t the easiest to put together. Made by framing the outline of the shower base with standard 2 X 4 construction, many municipalities will require an inspection before you can install a custom tile shower base. The pros include the freedom to make the shower base any size you’d like, while the cons include having to seal and clean the grout often so as to avoid leaks and mold.

Acrylic Shower Base

Made by thermos-forming acrylic over a fiberglass substrate, acrylic is an extremely lightweight shower base option. Not only is it light and easy to install, but it comes in a variety of sizes and colors. If your old shower base was especially scratched, an acrylic shower base may be the right choice – the color goes a long way through the material so, if you do scratch the surface, it won’t be a different color than the rest of the base. A con to keep in mind: most household cleaners are especially caustic and can cause significant damage to the finish. Since acrylic is more expensive than fiberglass, it’s important to clean your shower without using harsh chemicals.

Fiberglass Shower Base

While fiberglass may be lightweight and less expensive, it still has an attractive gloss finish. Unfortunately, there aren’t as many choices for sizes and colors for fiberglass shower bases as there are with the other options. Since a thin gel coat is sprayed onto fiberglass shower bases, the thickness of the finish may vary from base to base. Additionally, the color is only as deep as the gel coat so scratches and nicks will reveal a color that’s different than the finish. Over a period of time, the finish tends to wear and stain and, once stained, is difficult to clean.

Choosing the Best Paint for Your Bathroom

While replacing bathroom tile or tubs may require a professional touch, adding a fresh coat of paint is an easy way to transform your bathroom without a professional’s help. Picking a paint color for your home can be challenging, and one of the trickiest rooms to design and paint is the bathroom. Given the size and layout of the bathroom, you have to be careful not to choose a paint color that will make the room seem smaller than it already is. If you’re thinking about rolling up your sleeves and painting the walls of your bathroom on your own, keep this advice in mind.

Natural Light vs. Artificial Light

One of the things that makes choosing a paint color so tough is the lack of natural light in most bathrooms. Nothing can alter a paint color faster than the overhead and artificial light that’s so common in bathrooms around the world. In order to choose a color that you know will work well in the space, look at the paint cards and color swatches in the bathroom with the lights turned on and off. This way, you’ll know what the color will look like during the day with the lights off, and in the middle of the night with the lights on full blast. If the color works well in both environments, it’s passed the first test.

Look Down

If you’re completely unsure of what color you’d like in your bathroom, look at your bathroom floor for inspiration. For example, if your bathroom tile has tiny specks of color scattered throughout you may want to consider incorporating one of those colors on the walls. By choosing a wall color that compliments or blends in with your flooring, the room will look more put together. If your bathroom floor is carpeted, you may want to consider removing the carpet in the process- future homebuyers may see it as being outdated and unsanitary.

Pay Attention to Location

Another way to select your bathroom paint color is to let your location guide your selection. If you live in a typically overcast area, using a bright, uplifting color can improve your mood and give you a bit of sunshine in the morning. Similarly, if your home is located near a beach or lake, using a deep blue can accentuate the natural blue tones in the sky and seas surrounding your home. In addition to location, think about what the bathroom means to you – if you primarily use your bathroom to take a relaxing bath, consider using dark greys or light blues instead of bright, energizing colors.

Choose the Right Type

Since many of a bathroom’s fixtures produce running water, it’s not uncommon for a bathroom to get humid from time to time. Unfortunately, not all paint types can withstand the level of humidity caused by frequent baths and showers. When it comes to bathroom paint, it’s important to avoid paints that will develop mold or mildew due to exposure to excessive moisture. Many paint companies, such as Sherman Williams, offer paints that are designed to inhibit the growth of mold and milder in the bathroom. For more information, visit your local home improvement store and speak with a paint specialist.

The Benefits of an Eco-Friendly Bathroom

Whether you live in California or have heard the drought news from across the country, reducing your water consumption is as important as ever. While cutting back on water usage isn’t mandatory in every city or state, going green in the bathroom can not only save energy and water, but it can lower your monthly utility bills as well. Whether you're completely renovating your bathroom or are looking for ways to reduce your water consumption and be kinder to the environment, there are dozens of eco-friendly bathroom fixtures and products available from some of the most popular manufacturers. Here are some benefits of "going green".

Conserves Water

According to a 2013 report from the United States Environmental Agency (EPA), each person in the United States uses an average of 100 gallons of water each day. Unfortunately, a part of that waste can be contributed to dripping faucets and toilets that don't stop running. If your home is one of the 10% that have water leaks due to old and ineffective toilets and faucets, you should consider an upgrade – one person alone would use 30% less water by upgrading to water-efficient fixtures and appliances. Whether you live in an apartment, a rented home, or a home of your own, it's a good idea to invest in water efficient fixtures.

Saves Money

Since eco-friendly bathroom fixtures and appliances conserve energy and water, homeowners are sure to notice a decrease in their energy and water bills. Traditional showerheads use an average of 2.5 gallons of water per minute, while water-efficient showerheads use just 1.5 (or less) gallons of water per minute. Similarly, replacing your old toilet with a low flow toilet can help the environment and your bank account. Depending on the fixtures or appliances you replace with water-efficient alternatives, you'll notice a decrease of 10-50% on your monthly water and energy bills. Over time, this can quickly add up to thousands saved per year.

Improves Indoor Air Quality

Before the 70s, every product seemed to be coated or made from lead – including faucets, paint, and other bathroom fixtures. If your home was built before the 60s, replacing the fixtures with eco-friendly alternatives will not only conserve water and save money, but it can improve the indoor air quality of your home. In order to truly preserve your home's air quality, switch to eco-friendly cleaners. Major cleaning brands have green cleaning products available that are affordable and easy for the public to get their hands on. Biodegradable and natural products will serve your home's cleaning needs without negatively harming the planet.

Durable & Sustainable

Eco-friendly homes require less effort to maintain since eco-friendly products tend to be more durable. Since installing green bathroom fixtures give you the unique opportunity to conserve our Earth's resources without having to change your lifestyle, you'll be actively protecting natural resources for future generations to come. With constantly dwindling natural resources, homeowners should make every effort to conserve what they can while they still have the chance. Since eco-friendly homes will only continue to grow in popularity, installing eco-friendly fixtures could even help you sell your home more quickly once you decide to put it on the market.

How to Create More Space in Your Bathroom

Despite its functionality and frequency of use, bathrooms are typically the smallest rooms in the home. Combine minimal square footage with limited storage space, and your bathroom can become a haven for junk. If your bathroom is feeling cramped or cluttered, it may be time for a bathroom overhaul. To maximize the space in your bathroom, consider these bathroom design and organizational tips.

Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall...

Does your bathroom have a plate glass mirror that’s been attached to the wall since the 1970s? If so, you should replace it with a smarter solution designed with storage in mind. If your bathroom is lacking a vanity with available shelving, replace your plate glass mirror with a practical medicine cabinet. To create additional storage space, purchase a medicine cabinet that can be recessed into the wall. Once you’ve installed the medicine cabinet in your bathroom, fill it with prescription medication bottles, tubes of tooth paste, and other eyesores that have been cluttering your countertops.

Throw Out the Old

Most homeowners accumulate too many toiletries, towels, bathroom cleaners, and accessories than can realistically fit in their bathroom space. In order to avoid over accumulation, go through your medicine cabinet, vanity drawers, and cabinets every few months and throw out any unused or expired items. From there, assess your bathroom lifestyle needs. Do you need more counter space? Do you need extra storage? Often times, homeowners find that if they throw out old items and forego replacing them until necessary, the storage space already available in their bathroom is more than enough.

Install Under Vanity Lighting

While this design tactic doesn’t actually add more storage space to your bathroom, it’ll make your bathroom look more visually appealing and feel larger than it is. Aside from making your bathroom vanity appear more beautiful, installing under vanity lighting is also functional. Those who install under vanity lighting find that groping for things under the drawers and cabinets becomes a thing of the past. Installing lighting under your vanity isn’t difficult and, in most cases, can be done without the help of a contractor or handyman.

Utilize the Hidden Space

It might be difficult to imagine where you might find an extra inch of space in a small bathroom, but there’s one secret area that’s easy to access and can be used to your advantage. If you have access to a blank wall, the space between the studs offers a lot of potential storage space. Whether you build floating shelves directly between the studs or actually cut into the wall and install built-in bathroom cabinets, you can add a lot of extra space for things like spare toiletries or linens without having to alter the existing layout of your bathroom.

Get Wired

When it comes to charging personal care items in the bathroom the excess cords and wires are not only visually distracting, but they can be dangerous as well. By purchasing cabinets equipped with outlets (or installing your own), you can keep your electric toothbrushes and razors fully charged and completely out of sight, while minimizing the risk of electrical shock. This strategy is especially useful for families or those with young children, as children of toddler age are most susceptible to accidentally shocking themselves in the bathroom.

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