Barrier Free Disabled Shower: 3 Basic Types of Handicapped Showers
A barrier free disabled shower is one that has been constructed for exceptionally easy access because of a low entry threshold that is built into the design.
Most of us take for granted our ability to get in and out of the shower or bathtub. There are many disabled people, however, who cannot negotiate the curb of a
walk-in shower and certainly cannot get in and out of a
traditional bathtub. For these people, the bathtub wall and the
shower threshold or curb form a "barrier" to easy access.
What's in a barrier free shower design?
A barrier free shower is a stall that has been designed
with no entrance threshold, unlike typical bathroom stalls in
barrier free shower stalls are constructed without a curb or
threshold at all, while other times it may be impossible to build a
disabled shower that has no curb. In these cases, some type of
small curb has to be employed to keep the water in the shower
Generally, these occasions occur when a small bathroom is
being remodeled to accommodate a handicap shower and the placement of the toilet interferes with the depth of the new shower being built. Although some type of lip or curb is employed, it is limited to four inches or less and is rounded so that wheelchairs can easily roll over them without chance of tilting or slipping.
When there is enough free space to build and recess the flooring, completely curb-free showers are possible. With the proper subflooring, a system can be installed that uses a special drain and plastic membrane combination. This combination allows for the drainage of water from the shower without the use of the customary shower-pan liner.
Types of showers for the handicapped
- One-piece barrier shower - This is the type best used when building new disabled bathrooms. The plywood backing on them allows for the installation of a grab bar and a handicapped shower seat.
- Corner showers - These are great for small spaces and come available as both one-piece kits or multi-piece kits. They also can be installed on the existing sub-floor without having to recess the floor.
- Multi-piece showers - This shower design offers a low curb for easy entry and exit. It is easy to install in bathrooms that are being fitted to be handicapped compliant, because they can be installed using the existing sub-flooring of the home. This particular design is the disabled shower stall of choice for many people.
Remember when remodeling, the showers and tubs must be adapted to your current bathroom and retro-fitted accordingly. In new building and construction, adaptation can be made in the planning stages. The sub-floors can be built lower to accommodate barrier free showers, and doors can be widened to make them wheelchair accessible.
However, if this is a project you feel encompasses more than you can handle, you can contact the ADA for names of recommended plumbers in your area who have the expertise to construct a barrier free disabled shower in your home. You may also want to locate a bathroom remodeling contractor to oversee your project.
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