What is a roll in shower?
Roll in showers allow easy access for people with mobility challenges, such as the elderly, disabled folks, injured and ill people, and anyone in a wheelchair for any reason.
They are easy access and as the name “roll in shower” indicates, a wheelchair can simply roll into the shower area.
The features of a roll in shower not only make bathing easier, they also make bathing safer by greatly reducing the chance of falls.
What Is A Roll In Shower?
The identifying characteristic of a roll in shower is that there is no curb or side wall between the shower floor and the bathroom floor. The shower floor is level with the rest of the bathroom, allowing wheelchairs to simply roll in.
The shower floor may have a very slight slope (1:48) to help facilitate drainage.
What Are The Types Of Roll In Showers?
Roll-in shower designs come in two varieties, although they both have the same aim. Roll-in showers must meet the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements for dimensions and features, regardless of type.
Standardized Roll In Shower
These are the most popular kind of 3-walled showers, which have two side walls, one long back wall, and one long open entrance. There is often no floor threshold at the doorway, but it can have a threshold that meets the ADA standard – you can learn more about these in the United States Access Board video toward the end of this article. Roll in showers measure at least 60″ long and 30″ deep and include bars on all non-seat-connected walls.
The floor area adjacent to the shower must be clear, to allow for easy entrance and provide enough room for wheelchairs to maneuver.
The Alternate Roll In Shower
The alternate roll in shower has a seat in front of the entrance to the shower, which is located behind a short wall. They may or may not have barriers, and they must be at least 60″ long and 36′ deep with grab bars on the back wall and the sidewall behind it. The United States Access Board provides details regarding what qualifies as an alternate roll in shower.
What Are The Features of Roll In Shower
Roll-in showers are designed to be more comfortable and safe than a regular shower for mobility challenged people. Here are some roll-in shower features that make daily life easier for their users.
Above-floor heights of 38″ to 48″ are recommended for the control area of the roll-in shower. They may be hung on any wall in the shower. If a seat is included, controls should be placed on the back wall and may not extend more than 27″ horizontally from the seat wall and 38″ to 48″ from the floor.
The Grabbing Bars
When bathing, people can use grab bars on the walls of the shower to assist them to pull themselves onto the bathtub from a wheelchair or stand if necessary. They may be positioned vertically, horizontally, or at an angle to assist the user to climb up onto the shower bench from their wheelchair or stand if necessary.
A grab bar is required on all sides of the roll-in shower and must be installed at a height of 33 to 36 inches above the floor outside the shower. The photo below shows a great example of grab bar positioning.
If there is a shower chair or seat in use, a sidewall may not have a grab bar. The length of the back and sides should be considered when measuring the grab bars; they should not overlap the seats. They should be 1.25 to 1.5 inches in diameter and support up to 250 pounds.
The Shower Head
Handheld shower heads with long hoses are necessary for greater accessibility. It should be within 27” of the seat to be accessible, on the back walls no more than 27” from the back wall.
To make sure that the shower is usable for non-disabled people as well, the shower heads are usually installed on a vertical bar so they can be height adjusted.
The Trench Drainage
Rather than utilizing a threshold (see below) that might result in unpleasant bumps and bit more effort to get across, trench drains may be utilized to prevent water from exiting the shower. They are not necessary, but they make the shower more useable.
Thresholds (small barriers between the shower floor area and the rest of the bathroom floor area) are there to keep water from running out of the shower, but a high threshold makes it harder for wheelchairs to get in. They should not be higher than 0.5″ if they must be installed. Moreover, the bath edges need to be beveled on all sides. If they are less than 0.25″ tall, the edges do not require to be beveled.
Often, a small grate may run along the dividing line between the sections of the bathroom, allowing water to simply drain through the grate without the need for any type of raised barrier. See the section above.
Foldable Shower Seats In A Rectangle Shape
Foldable seats are a fantastic concept since they can be folded up to save space if they aren’t needed. They make it easier to transition from wheelchairs and walkers to the seat. They must be permanently affixed to the wall and the showerhead should not extend beyond 27” from the surface.
A grab bar should be placed on the rear wall from the end of the extended seat to the corner of the adjacent sidewall. Foldable rectangular seats must be 24″ long and 16″ wide.
Shower Seats In An L-Shape
The shower seat is excellent for people who need to sit down frequently. Moreover, shower seats must be installed 17” to 19” above the floor outside the shower and can support up to 250 pounds. They should not be more than 2.5” from the rear corner and 15” from the front edge. It should extend between 14” and 15″ from the adjacent wall.
The shorter portion of the L-shape is attached to the rear corner of a standard roll-in shower with three walls. From the seat’s edge to the other end of the back wall, a grab bar runs. Showerheads and shower controls should be at least 27″ from the wall behind the seat.
The Shower Ramps
If you’re looking to convert a current bathroom into wheelchair accessible and the difference in height is more than 3″ but less than 5″, you’ll need a ramp to make it easier for people using mobility aids. To better accommodate mobility devices, use ramps with slopes no greater than 1:12.
A toilet is permissible, but it must not get in the way of easy access to the shower. It should be positioned in the open floor space as far away from the shower control, seat, and showerhead as feasible to avoid impeding access.
The required clear floor space in front of the shower is restricted to only one additional feature.
United States Access Board Video: Roll In Shower
The United States Access Board is a U.S. Federal Agency that addresses, among other things, the Americans With Disabilities Act.
The U.S. Access Board has created a video defining exactly what an ADA compliant roll in shower will look like, down to specific measurements.
We recommend watching this video even if you are simply putting in one shower into your own house.
Roll in showers allow people in wheelchairs to bathe safely and easily. They are a great idea and are in fact quite useful. Best of all, the United States Access Board has provided clear information about the standards and implementation of roll in showers.