Designing A Wheelchair Accessible Shower

If you are remodeling your bathroom to accommodate your wheelchair, you might be wondering how to expand the showering/tub area to make bathing easier. Some conventional bathroom designs are too snug for good maneuvering, and traditional tub-shower combos are difficult to use, even with support handles and lifts. Here are some design ideas to help you with your final plans.

1. Remove the tub.

If you have a tub-shower combo, it's time to lose the tub. Even if you do not use the whole space for your shower, it will provide you enough maneuvering room to park a wheelchair and sit in the shower with a bench. If you have a separate tub and shower, a basic stand-up shower space will not be enough. Still consider removing the tub and extending the shower. If the shower is large enough for you without removing the separate tub, taking the tub out can still make more external maneuvering space for getting around the bathroom more easily without help.

2. Install a sliding instead of a swinging door.

Many frameless shower doors open on hinges, allowing you to roll into the shower. But maneuvering around shower doors can be tricky, and so even if you can pull the door open and closed, it is still less user-friendly than it could be. Instead, have your clear glass doors installed on top sliders that allow you to wheel in easily. Doors on bottom sliders will not work because you need a seamless entry into the shower enclosure. Don't forget to put the slider handle at eye level. If you must have doors that swing due to shower design (corner or angled showers are harder to outfit with sliding doors), be sure they swing both directions to make maneuvering easier. 

3. Try designing a doorless option.

Shower doors provide comfort and privacy, but some bathrooms are not big enough for them and for your wheeling needs. Doorless showers use a static glass panel or a tiled wall to provide the shower boundaries. If you're really adventurous and do not share your bathroom with anyone else, you could have the floor of your bathroom outfitted with a drain and have a flat tiled floor with a shower head that has no boundaries to the rest of the bathroom, similar to a swimming pool public shower. 

For more information on great doors for your bathroom design, contact a shower door supplier in your area.