L-shaped shower folding seat

What are the ADA guidelines for bathrooms
and when do ADA guidelines apply to a project?

Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA are federal guidelines used to make public buildings accessible to all individuals. In public buildings, for example: schools, office buildings, hospitals, airports, nursing homes, retail stores, this means a handicap accessible toilet must be available. There are exceptions made for older buildings but in those cases the owners must make all the accommodations possible and work with the local building inspectors to see if they qualify for exceptions.

ADA guidelines in public buildings, call for the following:

1. 36” grab bar mounted horizontally behind the toilet

2. 42” grab bar mounted horizontally on the side wall beside the toilet

3. 18” vertical grab bar mounted on the side wall above the 42” grab bar

4. Horizontal grab bars should be mounted 33“to 36” above the floor

5. Grab bars must be 1 ¼” or 1 ½” in diameter.

6. Distance between the wall and the inside of the grab bar should be 1 ½”

7. Toilets should be 17” to 19” from floor to top of the toilet seat

8. Accessible stalls should be 60” x 59” (must have a clear 42” or 48” approach) or if the stall is at the end of a row 60” x 95” (this size can have a door that swings in)

9. If the toilet stall is only 36” wide, then two horizonal 42” grab bars should be mounted on both side walls of the stall – the door should swing out.

10. Grab bars should be rated to accommodate a load of 250 pounds or more

ADA guidelines do NOT apply to private buildings, such as a residential home. However, recommendations can be made for bathroom safety in private, residential home to make them safer for owners and guests.

Ponte Giulio USA, a leading manufacturer of bathroom safety products, suggests the following:

1. All bathroom walls around the toilet and shower/bathtub should have blocking added during construction or remodel to accommodate safety products in the future. Grab bars and other safety items, like shower seats, should be mounted into wall studs or blocking.

2. Grab bars should be placed near the toilet to assist owners and their guests

3. Grab bars should be placed near the entry of the shower or bathtub to assist with safe entry and exit

4. Grab Bars should be installed in the walls of the shower or bathtub to assist with balance and movement

5. Grab bars can be mounted vertically in the shower to replace a “shower slide” that holds a hand-held shower head – adding a true safety assistance to the shower. Shower slides are not designed to support an individual should they slip and fall but a grab bar may prevent the fall and injury.

6. Grab bars can be mounted near the sink and used as towel bars.
The best grab bar is the one that is properly installed and available for use in case of a slip, trip or fall.

L-shaped folding shower seat