The best sort of Floors for Wheelchair Users
Not all flooring types are best for wheelchairs — thick carpeting, for instance, may feel like you’re trekking through mud in a wheelchair. The ideal wheelchair-compatible flooring is firm, virtually flat from 1 room transition into another and non-slippery while providing enough traction to move about with ease. Durability is also a key concern, as both standard and powered wheelchairs put a great deal of pressure on the floor and may monitor dirt over it. Hardwood floors, ceramic tile and a few laminate flooring function well with wheelchairs.
Hardwood Flooring: Function and Beauty
Hardwood flooring holds up well to wheelchair use whilst providing enough grip for the wheels to move effortlessly. Cleaning is fairly simple as well; dust mops pick up dry debris while a gentle wet cleaning takes care of muddy messes. Pick a hard wood, as opposed to a soft wood such as pine, for flooring — the harder the wood, the less likely it’s to dent or splinter under pressure or from dropped things. Cherry, maple and hickory are all considerably harder than pine flooring, as stated by the Janka scale which measures wood hardness. Commercial-grade laminate flooring is also a durable flooring alternative; a few laminates look like wood and cost significantly less.
Ceramic Tile for Toughness
Ceramic tile offers exceptional grip and lasting durability which holds up well even under a powered wheelchair. In moist areas such as a toilet, little tiles are greatest — large tiles may be slick when wet and are also more prone to breakage. Select tiles 2 inches square or smaller for maximum traction. Natural stone tiles supply you with a viable option as well. Elect for non-glossy shingles — incredibly glossy tiles may be slick and create a glare.
Rubber for Grip and Comfort
Sturdy rubber flooring offers excellent non-skid grip for wheelchair wheels while creating more of a cushion than other kinds of hard flooring in case of a drop. The Americans with Disabilities Act recommends flooring with a friction coefficient greater than .42; rubber flooring typically exceeds this figure.
Texture and Room Transitions
While lavish or thick pile carpeting with a thick pad under isn’t ideal for a wheelchair, carpet with short fibers and no cushioning or very thin cushioning below provides ample traction and slight cushioning for wheelchair users. Pile that’s 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch thick functions with a wheelchair; the lower the stack, the easier it is to transfer the wheelchair across it. Commercial-grade carpet is a little more stain resistant than standard carpeting. Skip the carpet pad to help heat across a carpeted floor. The flooring may differ from 1 room to the next, so keep the transitions the same height as far as possible to ensure it is easier for a wheelchair to move between rooms. Any transition piece must make the switch from 1 floor to another as smooth as possible for a wheelchair, so providing a miniature ramp over raised edges so the wheels do not get stuck.