Thinking about a home renovation? Perhaps one of the most important home improvement options a wheelchair user can consider is the type of flooring to install in your home. Quality flooring can not only make accessibility and ease of access easier for individuals who use wheelchairs, but it can also be a great place to start when considering a home upgrade to provide the biggest bang for your buck.
Below are some things to consider before choosing the flooring that’s right for your home renovation:
Durability is perhaps the number one factor to consider for wheelchair or scooter users. Look at a variety of materials and ask questions like will it show track marks?; how long will it last before it shows wear and tear?; is it possible to refinish the surface after a few years?.
Compare non-slip vs. standard finishes. A glossier surface may not provide the same non-slip safety that a rougher surface can provide. Weigh the pros and cons, however. Many non-slip, gritty surfaces can be harder to keep clean. Patterns and finishes with a variety of marbling or coloring can help camouflage dirt and dust if you prefer a more non-slip surface.
Ease of Movement:
Some tiles, carpets, flooring will affect the body differently and require more or less energy to push a wheelchair across their surface. Look for materials that require little effort to easily glide your wheels over them. While carpet may be a cost-effective option, it is not so easy to push your wheelchair on day after day.
Industrial vs. Residential Materials:
Do research to find out if going with a stronger more traditional industrial material would be a good option for your residence. Wheelchairs, walkers and other mobility equipment are harder on residential flooring than typical foot traffic. Perhaps a stronger, industrial option would be right for you.
It is important to consider the room that you are considering installing flooring in (i.e. kitchen, bathroom, living, etc.). Glazed tiles, for example, may not be a great option for a room with a great presence of water. Do you prefer carpet in the bedroom for warmth or do you prefer a hard floor with non-slip rugs?
Websites like www.findanyfloor.com can be a great place to start comparing your options and find the perfect option for your mobility needs.
Have you completed a flooring renovation in your home? Do you have any recommendations for wheelchair users or individuals with mobility equipment when exploring options for their own spaces? Share in the comments!
*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.