The bulk of mishaps at home that result in injuries occurs in the bathroom, where thousands of people are hurt every year. The restroom can be a challenging area for those with mobility restrictions, and extra care and caution is required to prevent catastrophic injuries and even fatal slip and falls. An ADA tub can help avoid such situations.
Thus, a limited range of motion does not necessitate complete dependency on others for personal care. Accidents occurring in the bathtub or shower can be prevented or reduced in some cases. Many manufacturers, like Kohler, American Standard, Signature, Jaguar, and others, sell ADA tubs.
What does ADA mean?
ADA stands for the Americans With Disabilities Act. It was passed in 1990 with the goal to end discrimination against individuals with disabilities in the public life – covering transportation, jobs, schools, and all other public places. When put in context of a bathroom, ADA compliance implies making the design and space of the bathroom and its fittings to be easily accessible by people with mobility restrictions or other such disabilities.
What is an ADA-compliant restroom?
The major prerequisite for a bathroom to be considered ADA compliant is accessibility for people who might have trouble moving about. The Americans with Disabilities Act is a civil rights statute that safeguards people with disabilities right to equal access by ensuring accessibility. The ADA must be followed by every establishment that provides services to the general public. Employee restrooms must also be ADA compliant because the ADA also addresses the rights of people with disabilities with regard to employment. Following consideration of building codes, ADA requirements must be followed. A restroom stall for each gender is one of the ADA’s requirements. The ADA regulations, however, do not just apply to the number of toilets or the dimensions of the finished floor and toe clearance. The design of the bathroom fixtures and fittings plays a vital role.
What’s an ADA tub?
An ADA tub is designed in such a way that it enables a safe and comfortable bathing experience for individuals with mobility restrictions such as the elderly and those with disabilities.
There are certain specific features that helps improve the accessibility of the structure:
Bath Tub Seat
For anyone with mobility issues, it is a necessity to have a seat in the bath tub for basic comfort. Tub seats should be strong, secured in place, and must have stable handholds/supports. It can either be an in-tub seat or the seat can be mounted at the head of the tub.
It is very important to provide clear floor space in the washroom for easy access of at least one wheelchair.
With Seat in Tub – A minimum of 30 inches (760 mm) in width and 60 inches (1525 mm) in the length of free space is needed next to the bathtub if the approach is parallel to it. A minimum clear space of 48 inches (1220 mm) in width and 60 inches (1525 mm) in length is needed if the approach is perpendicular to the bathtub. Within the open space at the tub’s foot end, an accessible restroom is allowed.
With Seat at Head of Tub – A minimum of 30 inches (760 mm) in width and 75 inches (1905 mm) in length of open space is needed next to the bathtub if the approach is parallel to the tub. The seat must span the whole width of the tub and be a minimum of 15 inches (380 mm) wide, measured from the back wall to the front of the seat. Within the open area at the tub’s foot end, an accessible restroom is allowed.
Grab bars are horizontal handrails which can be attached to the walls near the tub. It is installed to help people with mobility restrictions to hold onto for additional support.
With Seat in Tub – The grab bar at the tub’s foot must have rounded edges and should extend a minimum of 24 inches (610 mm) from the tub’s outside edge. There must be two grab bars on the back wall, each must be at least 24 inches (610 mm) long and spaced a maximum of 12 inches (305 mm) from the tub’s foot and a maximum of 24 inches (610 mm) from the tub’s head. One of these grab bars must be mounted 9 inches (230 mm) above the tub’s rim. The other must be between 33 to 36 inches (840 mm – 915 mm) above the bathroom floor. The grab bar at the tub’s head must be at least 12 inches (305 mm) long as measured from the tub’s outer edge.
With Seat at Head of Tub – When it comes to a tub which has its seat at the head of the tub, the grab bar settings is more or less the same as seen in the seat in tub. Just that the grab bars on the back wall must be at least 48 inches long, and positioned maximum 12 inches from the tub’s foot and 15 inches from the tub’s head. No horizontal bar to be mounted at the tub’s head.
Bath Tub Enclosures
Bathtub enclosures must not interfere with controls or transfers from wheelchairs to bathtub seats or into tubs. Tub enclosures cannot have tracks attached to the rim.
Before installing faucets, it should be kept in mind that lever, push, touch, or electronically controlled faucets must be simple to use with one hand. The maximum amount of power needed to operate a faucet should be 5 lbs., and it shouldn’t be necessary to twist, pinch, or tightly grab the handle. The faucet’s reach depth cannot be greater than 11″.
The shower spray should be at least 60 inches in length so that it can be used both as a shower head or a hand shower, depending on the need.
Benefits of an ADA Tub
Having a user-oriented design is what makes an ADA Tub more accessible. Everyone can benefit from making the bathroom more accessible, whether it’s with an ADA tub, walk-in shower, standing sinks, or even railings. Every significant appliance is now easier to access because of designs that prioritize accessibility.
ADA tubs also improve safety and convenience in the restroom, enabling all people, regardless of ability, to complete their daily tasks safely and quickly.
Walk-in Tubs are a great example of this feature. Walk-in tubs are accessible bathtubs with a low threshold that allows the user to enter the tub and sit down. The bathtub complies with American accessibility regulations and makes bathtub transfers simpler because it is the same height as a chair. The design and the slip-resistant flooring lowers the risk of slip and falls. A walk-in tub also has the following safety features:
- Grip handles
- Anti-scald devices
- Traction-resistant surfaces
- Built-in furniture
The ADA tub’s ergonomic design enables a bathing experience tailored to the unique requirements of those with limited mobility or other such restrictions. The straightforward and user-friendly controls promote greater autonomy and, as a result, more respect for individuality and privacy.
Comfort and Relaxation
Additional features can elevate the bathing experience, including heated backrests, air jets, and chromotherapy, to offer complete relaxation and the feeling of a therapeutic bath right in the comfort of one’s own home.
2022 Best ADA Tubs
Looking for the best ADA tub in 2022? Here is a list of few of the best ADA tubs designed keeping accessibility and comfort in mind:
The MediSpa 52.5″ x 27″ Walk in Whirlpool and Air Tub is a great choice when it comes to comfort. It offers various features including lifetime warranty, watertight pressure seal, 18 acu-steam air jets, 12 fully adjustable hydro-therapeutic whirlpool massage jets, quick fill faucet, and much more. Along with all the comfort features, it also has low entry threshold, in-built grab bars, slip resistant floor, and built-in seat making it fully ADA complaint.
American Standard Gelcoat Premium Series 30″ x 52″ Walk-in Tub is another well-designed ADA tub. The 109 Premium Series is fully furnished and provides the most cutting-edge therapeutic alternatives together with the newest safety and comfort features.
American Standard 60″ x 32″ Integral Apron Bathtub is also a fine choice for an ADA complaint tub. Additionally it is a good alternative to a cast iron tub. This bathtub is light in weight, features headrest, lumbar support and slip resistance flooring.
PROFLO PFB16L 60″ x 30″ Enameled Steel Soaking Bathtub is constructed with steel and porcelain enamel. It is a standard choice for someone looking for a bathtub which is ADA complaint. It has no fancy features, but does consist of all basic requirements. This tub has high gloss, scratch resistant finish and has non-skid floor.
The Kohler Underscore 60″ x 30″ Alcove Bathtub is a good option for those seeking a traditional alcove bathtub. The tub’s length of 60 inches makes it both comfortable yet small enough to fit in most bathrooms. Relax in a sumptuously deep bath as users lean back on the plush sloped backrest thanks to a slotted overflow drain. For ease of access, this ADA-compliant bathroom features a low step-over height.
Searching for a bath tub that is suitable and easy to use by an individual with mobility restrictions does not have to be a dead-end search anymore. A good ADA bath tub will serve its purpose – providing comfort and ease for everyone, irrespective of their mobility status.