Handicap Access Shower Enclosure

The handicap requirements for shower enclosures are simple –  for the wheelchair you need minimum 32” to enter, there should be no curb, or "curb-dumb on the floor" and the door must be dual swing. Absence of shower door curb – is something your contractor will take care of, along with tile guy. You just need to pay attention to how they are building it. Do they provide a proper pitch of the floor?

The pitch and the drain must be up to code otherwise you will not only have problems with home inspector, but also get water all around the shower in the bathroom. But I should say that good reputable contractor will take care of all that for you. See a picture of shower that could be for handicap access.   Just in case if you are doing your bathroom yourself – there are roles and requirements about that. 

You should provide a proper pitch of the floor toward the drain. Second aspect of handicap access shower enclosure is the size – it must be minimum 32” of “day light”. In shower door business “Day light” is the clear space of door’s walkthrough when door is open. Your door may measure 32”, but, depend on type of hinges used” have “day light” of 30”.

When planning for handicap access shower – please keep in mind that. In order to provide a full 32” you have to have a bit more space – 36”-40” is ideal. The total opening and configuration could be bigger of course. But for the door space itself it is important to have 36”-40”. Another question that should be answered it single door or double (French) doors. My personal preference is French doors. Let us say – there is a 40” opening for doors. Then with French doors each door will measures only 20” wide. In case of singe door is should measure 40” wide which creates certain problems with mounting hardware – 40”x76” door made of 1/2 glass may weight about 150 lb. it is very heavy door don’t you think?

Another good solution for handicap access is bi-pass doors. Especially when you have a large opening – 68” and bigger. There are types of bi-pass showers that are allow to have large “day light” of 36” and bigger. So, ask your local shower door company about them. And for the last let us talk about swing of the doors. Normally the shower enclosures are only out swing.  Meaning, when you are inside of the shower you push it to go out. It is a building code requirement for many locations.

It is made that way to prevent a person from being trapped in shower in case of sudden health problem. Pushing door is much easier then figuring out where the handle is to pull it in, especially when somebody is about to faint. God forbid of course and I wish you all a perfect health. But when it comes to a shower door. Let’s make it out-swing. But for handicap access the shower door or doors must be dual swing. That is mean – pull or push from outside or inside. It is very convenient for a person on wheelchair. Just pushing his way into shower or out of shower.  So, that is also something you have to keep in mind. Shower door companies are aware of it, I am sure, but if I would you, ordering a handicap shower enclosure, I would specially mention door swing to be dual. Or double….