When designing a washroom, accessibility is just as important as aesthetics. However, this does not mean that you have to sacrifice one for the other. Whether your building is brand new, or you’re retrofitting existing bathrooms to be compliant with ADA regulations, it is important to choose bathroom grab bars that are right for your space in both form and function.
What is the Purpose Of a Grab Bar?
It is common to see grab rails in public restroom stalls, but owners of apartments and condominiums should know that installing grab rails in private tenant washrooms can be a wise business decision as well depending on individual circumstances.
The Americans with Disabilities Act has detailed design guidelines regarding how to make buildings accessible to anyone with mobility issues or limitations, and this includes bathrooms. Installing grab bars around toilets and inside shower or bath spaces ensures that anyone who needs assistance with balancing, sitting down or standing up has the appropriate means to do so without another person in the room.
Installing grab rails can be equally helpful to tenants or patrons who do not have a disability as well. According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control, bathrooms are the number one spaces where dangerous falls occur.
A grab rail is not the same as a mounted towel rack in terms of safety and stability. It can actually cause more harm to a person if he or she tries to use a mounted towel rack to prevent a slip or fall because it is not designed to hold a person’s weight.
Grab bars are made to very particular standards in terms of thickness, shape, angle, finish and mounting, and this is why it’s so important to have the correct ones installed in every washroom in your building.
Choosing the Correct Grab Rail
Each type of grip bar has its own use, so choosing the proper one is essential.
Vertical grip bars are ideal for installing near showers for safely stepping into and out of stalls or bathtubs. They can be especially helpful for providing extra stability, and anyone who struggles with arthritis may prefer the comfort of these over horizontal bars as well.
Horizontal grab bars are probably the most familiar. They allow for full-body rotation, and they can be installed along the length of a wall to help provide walking assistance or extra stability. These must be mounted at a fixed height in order to be ADA-compliant. For private bathrooms or small spaces, there are horizontal bars that swing up when not in use, such as these.
Finally, there are also diagonal grab rails. These can be purchased at different angles, such as 40 degrees or 90 degrees. These are convenient for users because they allow for a smoother, safer transition from standing to sitting or vice versa. They are also a good option for washrooms with limited space.
Don’t Sacrifice Safety For Aesthetics
Grab rails do not have to detract from the overall design of your building. Choosing the correct grab bars with the right finish can add beauty as well as security to any washroom facility.