When adapting a home to be fully accessible, widening doors and walls can be a necessary update. If you are using a mobility aid, like a walker, wheelchair, or electric scooter, they may not fit through a standard door.
Standard homes have doorways and hallways that are not always wide enough for these mobility aids to move through easily.
The width of a standard interior doorway is between 28 to 32 inches. However, the ADA recommends accessible interior doorways are at least 36 inches wide to accommodate common mobility aids.
When replacing interior doorways, it is crucial to consider the extra inches taken up by the frame, trim, casings, and threshold. Some existing doorways may lack the space needed to expand to accommodate an accessible doorway. If this is the case, offset or expandable hinges can be used to give a door a wider clearance. If the doorway cannot be made wide enough, removal or relocation of walls may be necessary. Standard thresholds can block mobility aid wheels or present a tripping hazard. Standard thresholds should be taken out or replaced with lower options or thresholds which are flush with the floor.
The ADA recommends that accessible hallways be at least 48 inches wide to accommodate most mobility aids. Many existing hallways are much narrower, making them difficult to navigate. When widening walls, the width needed to turn into a doorway or connecting hallway should be considered. Most mobility aids will need at least 36 inches in either direction to make a T-shaped turn.
Accessible light switches should be placed at both ends of a hallway to ensure that the hallways can be well-lit. Well-lit hallways can prevent tripping or falling by allowing you to see any potential obstacles. Guide lights are another option for safer hallways. These lights are installed at ground level and can be motion or light-activated to save electricity. If you use a mobility aid, ensuring that you can navigate your home easily and safely is important for aging-in-place.
Portland Accessibility Remodelers can help you make necessary changes to existing hallways and rooms by widening or relocating walls to make these spaces easier to access and move around in as you age-in-place. Contact the professionals at Portland Accessibility Remodelers to get started on your home modification project today!