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Planning a remodel for a disability

If you're planning a remodel for a disability, there are multiple spaces to consider.

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If you're planning a remodel for a disability, you'll need to analyze inside and out. Photo by whiteknuckled on Flickr.Planning a residential renovation can often boost the value of your home and improve your quality of life. When you are planning a remodel for a disability, certain critical factors should be taken into consideration.

Exterior access

One of the first areas that needs to be addressed when accommodating disabilities is access to the home. Consider whether there are any doors that are already wheelchair accessible. If the home has a raised porch, you may need to add a ramp, making it easier for individuals with disabilities to enter and exit the home.

Interior ideas


In addressing interior accessibility, it is important to carefully consider the existing design of the home as well as the needs of the occupants. Most interior residential doorways are too narrow for wheelchairs to pass through. If this is the case, you will need to retrofit each of the doors, including doors to pantries, bathrooms and closets. The cost to retrofit a door usually ranges between $300 and $600. Doorknobs will usually need to be replaced with levered handles.

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Planning a remodel for a disability? Smooth floors and wide spaces are ideal. Photo by Mirage floors on Flickr. Flooring

It is also important to carefully consider the type of flooring you have in a home when planning a residential remodeling project. If you need to accommodate the needs of an individual using a wheelchair, laminate or hardwood flooring is often a good choice. A low-pile carpet may be a better choice for an individual using a walker.

Bathrooms and kitchens

When planning a remodel for a disability, you will also need to ensure that all bathrooms and the kitchen are easily accessible. Sink depth can often be an issue for wheelchair users. To ensure ease of use, deep sinks should not be installed in the kitchen or bathrooms.

Faucets often need to be replaced in both bathrooms and kitchens with models that can be operated with the use of one hand.

You will also need to carefully check the counter height. By lowering work surfaces, it will be easier to accommodate an individual who is seated or who has a limited reach. Sliding cabinet doors rather than doors that open outward are often a better choice. Stoves and cooktops may also need to be installed at a lower height to accommodate wheelchair access. 

In bathrooms, it is important to install grab bars by the toilet as well as in showers and tubs. Handheld showerheads are also a good option to consider.

Light switches may need to be lowered to ensure they could be reached from a sitting position. You might also wish to consider the use of motion-activated lights.

Planning a remodel for a disability is an important task. By understanding what is involved, you will be better prepared to renovate your home so that is more accommodating for the ones you love. A contractor can help you determine the needs of your remodeling project.

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Photo credit: whiteknuckled. Second photo credit: Mirage floors. Both via Compfight CC.