Q: How can I renovate a small bathroom to accommodate someone with arthritis?
A: While specific design will depend on the person's mobility, you want to consider factors such as toilet height, wall and shower handrails, faucet heights, and towel hooks. An occupational therapist (find one through AOTA.org) or a remodeler who specializes in accessible spaces should be able to help customize your plan.
Q: Are there set standards or dimensions to follow for Universal Design?
A: Even a small bathroom can be modified to improve accessibility. There are various resources, including the AARP Guide to Revitalizing Your Home and online sites, to help you get ideas (search for "universal design"). You could also start by discussing your project with a CAPS contractor. These are builders, designers and architects who can help you remake your home to meet this type of need.
Q: How can I design a wheelchair-accessible bathroom with a shower?
A: The Center for Universal Design has an installation guide that can be downloaded. The guide includes information on shower sizes, water control, fixtures, drains, etc. It is a good starting point for answering these questions. After reviewing the guide, consider hiring a professional to discuss your specific situation and needs.
Q: We are renovating our bathroom. How much of the room should be tiled, and how far up the wall should the tile go?
A: This varies. In wet areas, the tile should extend at least to the height of the water source (shower head or tub spout). Tile can be used decoratively as well, according to your tastes and budget.
Q: We are replacing tile in our bathroom. Should I use the existing size (very small) or chose a larger size?
A: This depends on personal preference. The trend today is larger format tile with 12’x12’ or 13’x13’ being the most common.
Q: What alternatives to tile could I consider?
A: Corian and other solid surface materials make tub and shower surrounds. Sheets of these materials can be used in custom applications. These should be installed by a contractor to be sure the surround is water tight.
Q: Does cork work well on a bathroom floor?
A: Please check with the manufacturer as water can be an issue.
Q: Can I put tile on top of other pre-existing surfaces, like cultured marble?
A: Some companies offer systems that can be installed over existing surfaces, or the existing surface can be changed in color. But tile-over-tile is not recommended.