Ceramic Tile

You Don’t Have to Sacrifice Style for Accessibility

By June 21, 2017 306 Comments
safe scratch resistant floors in kitchen

For many people, home is truly the one environment they can control and the place they can—and should—feel most comfortable. This is even more true for people with physical limitations who are constantly challenged by some interior design choices we take for granted. Fortunately, we love to balance style and function, and can help you choose flooring options that are both accessible and attractive. We’ll even come to you for added convenience—and to get a better understanding of your space and needs. Just ask about our Shop at Home option, and we’ll bring ideas and samples to get you started.

We’ve dedicated this blog to special considerations for a home where a family member or friend is elderly, uses a wheelchair or walker, or has issues with mobility or stability. That said, the information below can be useful to any homeowner, because choices that emphasize low-maintenance, durability, safety, and resilience are good for everyone.

Safety First

When it comes to accessible and universal design, safety is always the first consideration. Our experienced staff can help you narrow your choices and rule out options that could be cause for concern:

  • Area rugs are great for softening a hard surface, but they create uneven transitions. These are among the most common causes of trips and falls in any home, and not recommended for homes where mobility is already a concern.
  • Highly polished surfaces—whether hardwood or tile—are not only slippery, but they can create a glare.
  • Slip-resistance in the kitchen and bathroom is a must—select a tile with more texture for that reason.
  • Ask about curbless, barrier-free shower systems in the bathroom for safety and the independence of being able to walk or roll a wheelchair right in.
  • Skilled installation by our flooring experts is absolutely essential to achieve a level and smooth surface, free of seams that could hinder a wheelchair or cause tripping or balance problems.

Still So Many Choices for a Beautiful Home or Office

Even with a few restrictions, experts like Malkin’s can offer you literally thousands of flooring options that compliment your style without complicating your life. Consider the tips below to make the best choice:

Carpet

  • Choose ¼” low pile or even loop carpet for living rooms, bedrooms, and great rooms. Plush carpet makes it difficult for a wheelchair to maneuver, and walker legs tend to catch on thick or textured carpets. You may also want to skip a carpet pad. This will reduce resistance and allow for smoother movement.

Hardwood

  • If you’re thinking about hardwood floors, the best choice is a high-end, high-density wood like hickory. Unlike pine and even oak, it will resist scratches and signs of wear from a wheelchair.

Tile

  • There are so many options—from ceramic, stone, and marble to luxury vinyl planks and even carpet tiles. Tiling allows you to get creative with patterns and placement—and damaged or stained tiles can be replaced much more easily than an entire floor.

There are even more choices, like laminates and vinyl flooring, and we can help you find the right product for any special need.

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