Bathroom Remodel to Reduce Falls
Planning a bathroom remodel to reduce the risk of falling is important because the bathroom is #1 location for fall-related injuries in your home. No matter your age or ability falls in the bathroom are more likely to lead to a trip to the emergency room than any other room. This is especially true after the age of 75, when your risk for falls triples from your risk at age 65 and younger.
If you are getting ready to retire and you are planning a bathroom remodel in your forever home, you will want to avoid this 3 elements that can increase your risk for falling in your bathroom.
No No #1: Not Using Slip-Resistant Tile
This is probably the most important of my three recommendations and the one that keep you upright and not on the floor! Nothing is worse than flooring that has little traction when wet.
If you are getting ready to do a bathroom remodel and want to keep your flooring slip-resistant and reduce the chance that you will have a nasty fall in your bathroom, choose a tile that has bee tested for use in wet areas. How do you know which tiles have been tested and which have not? Look at the manufacturers information for a Dynamic Co-efficient of Friction (DCOF) score. The best floors for wet areas have a DCOF score of >0.42.
This information can be found on the box, online on the manufacturers website, or on the back of the display tile. If you have trouble finding it, ask the store sales person for help finding the information.
If you’re not having any luck finding a DCOF score, the tile may not have been tested. Many tiles are not tested. Avoid these tiles and stick to tiles that have a score if you want to ensure a slip-resistant bathroom floor!
No No #2: Corner Shelf Shower Seat
Shower seats have to have a contiguous surface are of at least 15″x15″ square. This will reduce the risk of falling while showering.
Shower seats also need structure. This means that you will need some type of bracket for an open shower seat. Or, if you are planning a full bathroom remodel, you will need your contractor to build a proper shower seat.
If you are planning a full bathroom remodel, make sure to include a REAL shower seat, one that is supported by structure and had at least a 15″ x 15″ square area for seating!
Another shower seat you can use without doing a complete bathroom remodel is a wall hung shower seat. However, it will need to be mounted into structure or you will need to use special heavy duty brackets to hang it.
No No #3: Shower Floor Too Small
If your shower floor is too small you may find it difficult to move around enough. You may also not have the space needed to have a shower seat. You should have at least 36″ x 36″ of clear floor space in your shower. This does NOT include the space taken up by a floor mounted shower seat.
This means that if you have a floor mounted shower seat your shower wall to wall would need to be a minimum of 41″ on the side with the shower seat.
It’s also great to have a barrier free or level entry shower to help eliminate any stubbed toes or tripping hazards. If you are planning a bathroom remodel look into creating a level entry and expanding your shower footprint so that you have at least 36″ x 36″ of clear floor space.
Bathroom Remodel Main Takeaways:
To reduce the risk of stubbing your toes or slipping and falling in the bathroom:
- Use a slip-resistant tile that has been tested for friction (DCOF score of >0.42)
- Shower seats should be at least 15″ x 15″ and have structural support
- Clear floor space (not including shower seat) should be 36″ x 36″
If you want to learn more about quality and costs associated with decorating and remodeling, make sure you download our “Good Better Best Investment Workbook.”