Living in a home that is lacking in accessibility or not meeting your current needs can be a huge problem. Part of imagining or adapting your perfect home space includes ensuring your kitchen and bath are specific to meet your current and future physical needs. When thinking about remodeling or renovating your home, it is important to incorporate certain features if you currently need more thoughtful spaces for accessibility, plan on living in the same house during your retirement years, or just want to enjoy new options!
Investing in a renovation project to create a comfortable home for aging in place definitely includes work on your plumbing systems in your bath and kitchen areas. Choices made with your faucets, sinks, toilets, tubs, and showers will all dictate where the plumbing needs to be located inside the walls and under the floor. Choosing reputable brands of fixture manufacturers with a long record of solid products and warranty support is vital in ensuring your satisfaction. Consulting a general contractor or architect familiar with ADA-compliant codes and permit requirements will provide you with the necessary information and guidance to tailor your plans for your personal preferences.
Behind the Walls: Proper carpentry and stable bracing for varying cabinet heights, fixtures, and support bars should be considered when designing your new kitchen or bath. Water supply lines, drains, natural gas lines, and venting will need to be run appropriately to the correct heights and distances to accommodate things like wall-mounted or lower height sinks, offset drains, lower shower control heights, or support bar backing. Thermostatic mixing valves or pressure balance valves installed behind the wall ensure your sink, shower, or tub will not scald you when in use. Sturdy bracing and mounts behind walls located in your shower, tub, and toilet areas allow for the solid installation of any grab bars or support bars needed. Are you designing a shower now? Choosing a shower system that incorporates an adjustable height rain shower head with a complimentary hand shower not only makes bathroom cleaning easier now but considers your different shower height needs for the years to come. We want your updated plumbing to properly serve your new kitchen or bath in an aesthetically pleasing way with an eye on provisions for easy accessibility for future repairs or maintenance.
One handle, lever-operated Kitchen and Bath Faucets: Luckily, there are many options of both kitchen and bath faucets in a wide array of price ranges, styles, and colors to suit any sink or tub. Faucet manufacturers make new faucets that retrofit into existing hole patterns on your current countertops, on your sinks, or in your tub space if you want to upgrade your existing faucets without making any significant changes to your home.
Kitchen faucets come with options like pull-down spray heads or pull-out spray heads to extend the reach and direction of the spray, with options for push-button changes on the spray head for water flow patterns. Some faucets offer you the opportunity to position the lever handle on either side (left or right) of the spout to accommodate whether you prefer right-handed or left-handed operation. Placement of both the faucet and perhaps a color-coordinating deck-mounted soap dispenser is a great way to improve accessibility with minor adjustments.
Lever operated bath faucets come in both single control configuration (where there is just one spout with one lever that provides hot and cold water and turns the tap on and off) or dual control options (where you have one lever for hot water, and one lever for cold water, with a separate spout). When thinking of your new bathroom faucet, consider the drain also – do you want your sink drain to close with a rod you have to pull up and push down, or do you want the newer “pop up” style drain cover which you push the cover once to close, and push it again to open?
Touchless Lavatory Sink and Kitchen Sink faucets: Homes can now benefit from technology typically found in a commercial setting. Stylish touchless or motion-activated faucets are increasingly available for your home. With a wave of your hand over the sensor, you can turn the faucets on or off to your desired preset water temperature. When choosing this faucet feature, keep in mind some are battery activated, and some require an electrical outlet for function. Engineering, design, and mechanics behind touchless options are constantly updated to provide the best experiences in sanitation and ease of use for consumers.
“Smart “Faucets and Showers: One of the newest and most exciting ways to enjoy your kitchen or bath experience is with Wi-Fi and cell phone app technology. You can use your home’s Wi-Fi assistant or cell phone app to activate your kitchen faucet to fill a cup with exactly eight ounces of hot water or a stockpot with 6 cups of cold water. Kitchen faucets aren’t the only fixture you can boss around or play tricks on your family members! Certain shower systems have a remote panel mounted outside the shower that uses a push-button that can be voice-activated through your home Wi-Fi assistant or app activated from your phone to turn your shower on to your favorite presets. You can start, stop, control temperature settings, adjust spray patterns, and be alerted when your perfect shower is ready for you – convenient and accessible. I know my mischievous self would probably enjoy turning the shower on and off when my spouse is in there or turning the kid’s shower off when I’ve told them a dozen times that a 30-minute shower is just ridiculous, but that is just me! As with the touchless fixtures, these “smart” fixtures will require localized power sources to function. These fixtures also have special access panels for both electrical and plumbing maintenance.
ADA Height toilets and bidets, some with Touchless Flush Options: Not only are taller toilets ADA-compliant, but they are also more comfortable to use! There are many different manufacturers who make both two-piece and one-piece toilets, in a round bowl or elongated bowl, in a selection of different colors, and different lever handle finishes. Some ADA toilets also have dual flush, push-button style flushing mechanisms. Residential toilets with touchless flushing sensors remain rare in availability, as the manufacturers are testing and resolving design issues. Still, they do allow you to flush with a wave of your hand. ADA or Chair height toilets ranging from 17″ -19″ come with standard seats that can be improved with bidet seat options. Bidet seat features run the gamut from basic manually operated cold water rinses to bidets with wall-mounted touch remotes. Some offer multiple spray options, heated seats, lighted seats, dryer setting options, adjustable water temperature settings, and self-cleaning cycles. As far as bidets go, if the bidet offers heated water options, air drying options, or heated seat options, you will need to make sure you have an electrician install a proper outlet for the bidet to plug into.
Curbless shower pans and wall mount sinks: Part of re-imagining your space should include consideration given to the ease of entry into your shower location. Curbless shower pans allow for a single-level entry into your shower area to prevent trip hazards or create accessibility for a wheeled shower chair. Another benefit is the design element – curbless shower areas can be visually appealing by creating the feeling of a larger, continuous floorspace. Wall hung sinks at a proper height, in both kitchen and bath, allow for increased functionality when using the sink from a comfortable seated position. If you don’t need to twist or shift your reach from your seated position when using the sink, the sink area becomes an inviting workspace.
Stollwerck Plumbing is ready to help turn your accessibility plans into a reality in Everett, Mukilteo, and throughout Snohomish County. We even have a Senior Citizen Discount!