The Best Floors for Wheelchair Use in Homes

The American with Disabilities Act makes three recommendations for the sort of flooring you must utilize to generate a room wheelchair accessible. Your flooring material needs to have a coefficient of friction of about 0.5; you should avoid high transitions; and carpeting must be firmly connected to the subfloor and have a pile less than 1/2-inch high. Durability is also an issue; wheelchairs are heavy and can quickly wear down some ground coverings.

Non-Slip Floors

The coefficient of friction is a measure of the sum of frictional resistance of a flooring materiall in other words, it is a measure of this substance’s slipperiness. Possible values range from from 0 to 1: The reduced the value; the more lustrous the flooring. Floor materials with a coefficient of friction in the area of 0.5 are deemed slip-resistant. These include these options as hardwood, a few kinds of ceramic tile, sheet vinyl with an embossed surface, luxury vinyl tiles and laminate flooring planks. Thin-pile carpets can also be slip-resistant, but thick carpets are tough to navigate in a wheelchair — they have a coefficient of friction greater than 0.5 — and should be avoided.

Hardwood and Laminates

Hardwood floors are not merely ADA-compliant, but attractive as well, but you should pay attention to the hardness of the wood you select. Softwoods, such as pine and fir, dent easily, while hardwoods with a high Janka rating, such as maple, hickory or virtually any exotic species, should withstand the bumps and grinds of regular wheelchair traffic better. Factory-finishes are harder and less likely to sustain damage than onsite applications. Laminate flooring has a similar overall look and also a factory-finished surface hard enough to withstand dents. Scuff marks come off easily with very little danger of ruining the finish.

Ceramic Tiles

Ceramic tiles are more water-resistant than hardwood or laminates and are a much better choice for the kitchen or bathroom. The perfect tile dimension is 2 inches square. Larger tiles are more fragile and likely to crack under the weight of a wheelchair, while flooring with smaller tiles are filled with grout lines which scuff easily and are difficult to wash. If the ground has 2-inch tiles, nevertheless, there are enough grout lines to boost traction. This is an important safety concern both for wheelchair-bound people and professionals when moving from the seat to the shower.

Vinyl and Carpeting

Vinyl is a water-resistant choice for kitchens and bathrooms which is cheaper to buy and easier to install, however inlaid sheet vinyl and vinyl tiles are more inclined to be slip-resistant enough to function as ADA-compliant. Luxurious vinyl tiles are another non-slip option; they have a foam backing that gives them a cushiony sense, and they install such as laminate flooring boards. If you must have carpet, the maximum allowable pile length is 1/2 inch, but you should keep it shorter than that to make propelling the wheelchair simpler. It is best to set up the carpet without a financing, and it must be firmly attached to the subfloor.

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