Top 3 things we consider when designing an accessible kitchen for wheelchair users.
2 million people use wheelchairs in the United States.
Many people find themselves needing accessible homes for themselves or family members. There are approximately 2 million people in the United States that use wheelchairs and the number of people who need accessible homes will continue to increase as disabled and aging people are finding more ways to remain living in their homes. One important way to increase independent living is making a home accessible to an individual’s personal needs. Home modifications can increase safety, accessibility, and independence for people who want to live independently.
For an accessible kitchen, it’s ideal to have several work areas…
With all the advances in accessible design, a beautiful and efficient kitchen can be designed to be accessible for everyone that lives in a home whether or not they are disabled. When designing a kitchen for people who use a wheelchair there are several things to consider for easy access. Kitchens require meticulous planning because every inch counts and appliances and cabinets come in fixed sizes and there may be limited usable space that limit what can be remodeled. Kitchen design has typically been based on the “work triangle” layout where the sink, fridge and stove have a short walking distance between them. For an accessible kitchen, it’s ideal to have several work areas that can be accessed from a single position. When space is limited choosing options may require a trade-off of the most important accommodations.
Designing or remodeling a kitchen requires balancing the requirements for storage (cabinets), workspace (counters) and appliances. When making a kitchen accessible you have to consider all of these things and put everything within reach.
Best Granite For Less has vast experience working with select Architects in South Florida who specialize in accessible design features. Working with the latest technologies and materials allows Best Granite For Less to offer the most beautiful countertops without sacrifice. Our team of specialists will provide all of the alternatives available to meet the most stringent requirements a homeowner could expect.
At Best Granite For Less we pride ourselves on integrity and transparency of the fabrication and materials use processes. Our policy is to only charge for the square foot of materials being used. If there are any remnants available after the fabrication we offer these as cutting boards or cheese boards at no additional charge. If you would like to have the remnants we are happy to supply them at the end of the project for your personal use. By doing business this way we have your best interests at heart. We save you money by not charging you for materials not used in your countertop installation. This is how we maintain the highest level of customer service in the industry and have repeat business with past customers for years to come as well as a strong referral business through word-of-mouth.
3 Main things to consider when designing an accessible kitchen for wheelchair users, work surfaces, Kitchen sinks, and cabinets.
1. Work Surface (Kitchen Counters)
- Typical countertops are positioned at a height of 36”. To make countertops accessible the work surface should be installed at a 34” height.
- Accessible counter workspace is 30” wide and countertops should be 28”-34” above the floor.
- Adjustable counters should have a range of 28” to 36” in height.
- Make sure countertop is not obstructed by base cabinets to allow for knee and toe clearance.
- If you are able to set the countertop height, this should be determined early in the design. The countertop will dictate location of storage cabinets and appliances.
- Ideally you would measure individual comfort ranges for working in the kitchen for whom the kitchen is being accommodated.
- Adjustable tables can be used before install or remodel to determine the ideal height to find dimensions that work for each member of the family. Often you need to use the space to see how it will best meet your needs prior to committing to a permanent design.
- Pull-out shelves coming out of the countertop is another good way to create easily accessible working space to prepare food.
- Granite is an ideal material due to beauty, durability and manufacture of unique configurations.
2. Kitchen Sinks
- Sinks that have open space beneath the sink that provides wheelchair or walker accessibility will allow users to access the sink. Knee clearance for a sink needs to be at least 27” high, 8” deep at the knees or 11” deep for children.
- The drain should be placed in the rear of the sink so the piping underneath will not prevent a person in a wheelchair from rolling underneath. Pipes should be insulated or enclosed to protect legs from hot pipes.
- Set water heater to a maximum heat low enough that will prevent burning.
- Using a single lever faucet is a lower cost option to making the faucet accessible. There are also touch control faucets that allow the user to turn on and off the faucet with one touch. Also, installing the faucet to the side of the sink may make it more accessible for some people.
- Installing sliding drawers on both sides of the sink can provide easy storage of cleaning products or long rather than wide items.
3. Kitchen wall cabinets
- For lower cost option, cabinets can be lowered to meet individual user’s needs.
- Although more costly, electric powered adjustable cabinets, which lower and raise the cabinet height with a touch of a button allows the cabinets to become accessible to all users.
- Place often used items within reach such as spice rack and cutting boards.
- Use cabinet accessories that make the cabinets more accessible such as pull down shelves, adjustable shelves, drawer dividers, lazy Suzan cabinet, et cetera.
- Use looped cabinet pulls instead of knobs that are operable with a closed fist. With these you do not have to twist, grasp or use pinching motions.
- Put most used items in low drawers such as the dishes, pots/pans, glassware, et cetera.
- Other useful cabinet hardware may be: full extension drawers, touch-release drawers and doors, swing-up hardware that allow cabinet doors to hinge at top and stay open, et cetera.
Remember Best Granite For Less when remodeling a home for accessible living spaces. We also specialize in bathroom modifications as well. Make sure you take advantage of a free kitchen sink with every Granite Countertop order from Best Granite For Less. Learn more here.
Call today to schedule your custom installation. To get your Free sink use Promo Code: GETMYSINK when calling.