Essential Features of an Accessible Home

Millions of children and adults in the U.S. have disabilities, yet the idea of an accessible home is still considered revolutionary. Existing homes can be renovated to improve accessibility, although it’s ideal to design new construction projects with built-in accessibility features. For example, some contractors in Salt Lake City may install elevators in the homes they build. Residential elevators are beginning to be perceived as an essential feature, rather than a luxury option.

Floorplan

The ideal accessible home is one with an open floorplan. Thanks to the popularity of this design approach, many new construction homes today are built with an open floorplan. However, there are some pitfalls to be aware of, such as transitional elements. Since an open floorplan does not feature many room dividers, it may require more transitional pieces between different types of flooring materials. This can result in a slight elevation in the transition from carpet to tile floors, or from carpet to hardwood planks. These transitional areas should be designed carefully, so as not to create a tripping hazard or a wheelchair obstacle.

Elevator

Accessible homes are traditionally thought of as being one-story ranch houses, but not every family enjoys this design. Two-story and three-story homes can easily be made accessible with the addition of a new elevator. This allows family members and guests to enjoy the benefits of inclusivity. There are quite a few choices available, ranging from accessibility elevators designed especially for wheelchairs to beautiful glass elevators with panoramic views.

Clearance

Even if the home is built with an open floorplan, it will, of course, still have doorways. Doorways can be problematic for individuals who use wheelchairs, walkers, and even canes. An accessible home features enough clearance to enable a person using durable medical equipment to easily pass through. Clearance might not be an issue for people using canes, but it’s entirely possible that these individuals will need to transition to a walker or wheelchair at some point. Older homes can be renovated to provide a few more inches of horizontal clearance at each doorway.

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