Tips for Retrofitting Your Home with Universal Design
Work with a qualified contractor or designer. Let them know you want a home that fits your needs for today and tomorrow.
Discuss your options. Compare the benefits of one feature over another, and don’t hesitate to ask for pictures or drawings.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you’re unfamiliar with any design features, just ask. Your plumber can explain things like how a pressure-balanced faucet works. And your contractor can show you drawings and samples, such as different flooring samples to compare slip-resistant and non-slip-resistant flooring.
Ask your contractor for guidance. Even if you don’t want to install grab bars now, for example, explore the benefits of adding plywood blocking between wall studs to simplify grab bar installation down the road.
Communicate. Retrofitting a home with Universal Design requires skilled tradesmen with a deep understanding of the project requirements. Communication among all members of the team is critical and will ensure you and your loved ones can live safely and comfortably in your home for as long as possible.
At T & S Plumbing, our expert plumbers have been installing high-end fixtures throughout the local area for years. Whether retrofitting your current bathroom or building a brand new custom bathroom, we work with contractors and interior designers to make sure every detail is covered and the job is done right.
Why Are Many Homes Unsafe for Aging Adults? Choose Universal Design Today!
Most homes today were built with the average, healthy family in mind. They were not built to accommodate people with limited mobility. Common features in an everyday household, such as lack of support in the shower, are potential dangers to an elderly person. Without grab bars and other slip-resistant features, the risk of suffering a life-threatening fall rises significantly. Falls are the leading cause of injurious deaths among older adults and therefore the greatest threat to their ability to age in place. You can prevent these dangers by remodeling your bathroom with Universal Design features in mind.
What is Universal Design?
Universal Design means creating an environment that’s easy for everyone to use—regardless of age, size, or ability. Homes retrofitted with the Universal Design (UD) model in mind are far more accommodating to the needs of older adults with limited strength, flexibility, and balance. Universal Design features help ensure that everything in your home is accessible to all family members, with or without functional limitations. And the best part? You don’t have to compromise on style. Universal Design goes beyond accessibility to include style at its very core.
Update Your Bathroom with Universal Design
When retrofitting your home with the Universal Design model, the bathroom is a great place to start. Not only is it a common site for slips and falls, but it’s also the most popular room for home remodeling. Of the Baby Boomers who said they plan to remodel, 56% are planning to update the bathroom. Here are several aging-friendly upgrades to consider:
- Grab bars in the tub and shower, with colors and finishes that compliment your decor and contrast with the wall for better visibility
- Curbless shower or walk-in shower with little or no threshold to step over
- Slip-resistant flooring throughout the bathroom
- Single-lever faucet handle, rather than two separate knobs or handles
- Pressure-balanced faucet to maintain steady water temperature and prevent scalding
- Adjustable height, hand-held shower hose with conveniently placed, easy-to-operate controls
- Comfort height toilet with a seat height of 17–19 inches, rather than the standard 14–16 inches