Custom shower design allows contractors to build or remodel bathrooms that are both modern and upscale while also keeping safety at the forefront of their work.

Today, the ADA (The American Disabilities Act) has provided regulations that make designing bathrooms and showers for both the disabled and the elderly simple and easy while still allowing flexibility and space for design options and aesthetics.

Now, a safe and accessible bathroom no longer has to sacrifice on quality or design and excerpts like the professionals at B&L Glass can assist you in installing and maintaining showers and shower glass with the ADA guidelines in mind.

ADA Guidelines for Showers and Bathrooms

The American with Disabilities Act is a set of legislation that was signed into law by the George W. Bush administration in the summer of 1990 and is considered one of the most comprehensive sets of regulations prohibiting discrimination and ensuring accessibility and for those with physical or mental disabilities. Modeled after the Civil Rights legislation of the 1960s, the ADA is an equal opportunity law that ensures the protection and civil liberties of citizens with disabilities.

Today, this landmark legislation has trickled down into many segments of our society and impacts the work done in a variety of industries; including home and bathroom design.

To assist in the building and maintenance of bathrooms and showers with the disabled in mind, the ADA has undergone thorough work in assembling and proliferating guidelines to ensure that contractors are informed on all best practices.

Here are 5 steps to constructing a bathroom or shower that adheres to ADA standards and regulations.


5 Steps for Constructing Bathrooms and Showers with ADA Guidelines in Mind


  1. Read and thoroughly study ADA guidelines before beginning a custom shower design

In general, the ADA caters regulations and guidelines to assist in constructing handicap accessible bathrooms and showers in public spaces such as businesses, parks, and entertainment centers. Depending on the specifics of the project, the guidelines can shift around the intended use and the specifications of the building.

However, when working in the private sphere of home design, these regulations can serve as a helpful starting point for anyone looking to build a bathroom that meets the needs of the disabled.

ADA design standards provide valuable information on measurements, materials, and best practices to utilize when beginning the planning stages of construction for a new bathroom or a remodeling project.

Examples of ADA standards for showers include requirements such as:


  • Installation of horizontal grab bars placed no lower than 33 inches and no higher than 36 inches from the shower floor
  • Standard roll-in showers must be designed at least 30 in. wide by 60 in. deep and accessible by a front entry of at least 60 in. wide for use with a wheelchair.
  • Thresholds for roll-in showers must be no talent ½ inch.


Requirements such as these give homeowners and contractors a strong starting place as they begin to design bathrooms with considerations such as wheelchair accessibility or other movement impairment factors.


  1. Install Handrails and Other Features to Assist the Elderly and the Disabled

Grab bars are one of the simplest and most effective features of an ADA compliant bathroom. By integrating and selectively placing these bars, you can ensure that mobility and safety are possible for any with movement impairments.

These metal bars must be installed directly into the wall studs of your bathroom and should be placed 34-38 “ from the floor for adults, and lower for accommodating children. In almost all instances, the clearance between the wall and the bar should be no more than 1- 1.5 inches and special care must be taken to determine if the additional support of anchor bolts is required for enhanced stability dependent on the material of the grab bar.

In general, while these ADA requirements are specifically designed for the handicapped- grab bars are also extremely helpful for ensuring the mobility and safety of seniors or anyone who may require enhanced assistance in using the bathroom or shower.


  1. Utilize Professionals to Ensure Proper Measuring of Space and Other ADA Considerations

When designing a space to meet ADA standards and regulations, proper measuring of the bathroom space will be critical to ensure that you are accurately and completely following requirements.

In these cases, it’s always best to leave the measuring and planning to skilled professionals who have both the expertise, experience, and tools to ensure both accuracy and efficiency in the measuring process.

ADA specifications are designed specifically to ensure that safety is always secured, therefore you will want the additional help of seasoned professionals to enact those specifications to the highest caliber.


  1. Add Adjustable Shower-Heads, Utilize Tempered Shower Glass, and Integrate ADA Tiles for Safety

Alongside the various space requirements set forth by the ADA, there are a variety of other features you can integrate into a bathroom design to complement the ADA regulations.

Adjustable Shower-Heads

For anyone with movement impairment or other considerations, adding an adjustable shower head to your custom shower design adds an extra layer of flexibility and mobility to the space while limiting the risks of injury from extraneous movement.

Adjustable showerheads come in a variety of specifications and design layouts and are considered amongst the most versatile of custom shower heads as they allow the user to reach all corners of the shower while directing water flow specifically.

Utilize Tempered Shower Glass

For bathrooms with glass shower doors and glass shower enclosures, the integration of tempered shower glass adds another layer of protection and safety for the movement impaired, disabled, or the elderly. In the case of an accident or a fall, unlike standard shower glass, tempered shower glass breaks into small beads of glass rather than jagged shards which drastically reduces instances of injury.

Further, tempered shower glass is four times stronger and sturdier than standard shower glass and is also considered more aesthetically pleasing than lower-cost options.

Add ADA Safe Tiles on Your Bathroom Floor

Today, the ADA offers specialized ADA tiling made from a truncated dome pattern that provides a physical guide for those with any visual impairments, allowing them to feel the edges of the bathroom or shower with their feet while also providing additional traction for those with limited mobility.


  1. Incorporate Design with Accessibility

When customizing a bathroom for ADA compliance, do not make the mistake of assuming that design considerations have to go out the window. Custom shower designs allow you to make decisions both for practicality and aesthetics. Combine both the practical elements of ADA regulations with your own design style and ensure that you create a bathroom that is safe, practical, and upscale.


Designing ADA Compliant Showers and Bathrooms

Today, following ADA regulations for showers and bathrooms is simple and effective, especially when you utilize professional contracts, glass specialists, and other experts in the bathroom remodeling space.


The experts at B&L glass can sit down with you to go over ADA specifications and regulations to assist you in creating a bathroom that meets both your practical and design needs. Call us today at 707-546-4143 or use our online contact form to begin designing today.