If you have someone in your family who uses a wheelchair for their disability, then you would know not all types of flooring are great for wheelchairs.
It’s already difficult to navigate from point A to point B with a disability, let alone go through different types of underlayment that can make life even harder for them.
Fortunately, plenty of flooring options can make a person’s life with a wheelchair easier.
Types of Flooring for Wheelchairs
For any wheelchair user, a water-resistant and smooth surface is among the best attributes when choosing the best flooring material. Here are some types of flooring for wheelchair use.
- Carpet – is a type of flooring that can be a cozy and durable option for homeowners. The only problem with this flooring type is it’s not the best option if you have someone in your house with a wheelchair. According to ADA requirements, a carpet should have a low pile height of less than half an inch. A thick carpet is not a wheelchair-friendly flooring option because it’s quite challenging for wheelchairs to transition between rooms. In addition, carpets are also easier to maintain than other flooring materials. It requires constant vacuuming to ensure it looks great and has no dust buildup.
- Hardwood – is a type of wood flooring material featuring a thin layer of real wood placed on top of the plywood. Hardwood is known for its durability and stands the test of time. It’s one of the best flooring options for your bathroom and kitchen.
- Vinyl – traditional vinyl flooring is too soft for wheelchairs to pass through. However, today’s luxury vinyl tiles are best for wheels to navigate through and are cheaper than hardwood. Some designs are also photo-realistic, which makes your entire room glow differently.
- Tile – provides smooth, durable, and good traction for wheels to navigate through. The only problem with tiles is when grout lines are overly pronounced, or the tile quality isn’t up to standards. They can easily shatter when too much weight is put on them. They are also quick, easy to install, and often popular for bathrooms and bedrooms.
Laminate – It is one of the best choices for wheelchair users because of its soft, wood, and grainy texture. Many homeowners prefer laminate boards because they can add to the appeal of their homes. If you’re strongly considering laminate flooring, install laminate flooring with an AC rating (Abrasion Class), not below AC3.
Benefits of Flooring for Wheelchair Users
Flooring has major benefits for people with disabilities using a wheelchair. These include:
- Reduced Risk of Injury – a highly-polished surface is great for wheelchair users. Flooring materials with slip-resistant features offer peace of mind knowing they won’t slip. Whenever you install any type of flooring, ensure they have tightly secured and no overlapping grout lines for a smooth ride.
- Increased Mobility and Easier Navigation – a wheelchair’s wheels navigating through the right type of flooring improves traction. As a result, they can easily glide their way through different rooms with ease. When it can navigate through the desired flooring, it provides better traction and easy navigation.
Improved Comfort Level – whether it’s a wooden floor or an engineered hardwood, nothing beats wheelchair use, knowing you won’t have problems driving them. Luxury vinyl tiles are wheelchair-friendly flooring options, whereas engineered hardwood is superior but expensive.
Considerations When Choosing Flooring for Wheelchairs
- Durability – the flooring quality plays an important role in determining longevity. Whether you choose carpeting, rubber flooring, or laminate flooring, always ensure they are of the highest standards.
- Cost – the cost of the flooring depends on many individual needs, especially if you are not only considering it for wheelchair use. In addition, some materials are pricier than others, so that’s another thing you must consider. Carpeting, engineered hardwood, and larger tiles are the most expensive options, whereas smaller tiles and sheet vinyl flooring are cheaper but viable options.
- Maintenance – some options, like carpeting, require constant maintenance, whereas some tiles, laminate, and hard wood don’t require such. It’s all a matter of preference on which type you want to choose. Lastly, always check if the carpeting is attached to the subfloor.
Safety – always look for options with slip resistance features, as this can provide better traction and doesn’t get too slippery when wet. Tiles and vinyl tile floorings are slippier than the rest with their smooth texture but durable. So, be sure to always keep their surface dry at all times.
Maintenance of Flooring for Wheelchairs
To keep things in tip-top shape, maintenance is often required.
- Cleaning – regardless of type, each flooring should be cleaned thoroughly, especially for wheelchair use. Not a lot of materials provide good traction when not properly cleaned. So, cleaning them at least once a week is advisable for good measure. This includes the chair, handles, and all contributing factors.
- Repairs – any type of floor can exhibit signs of wear and tear. If this happens, it can be a bumpy ride for wheelchair use. Be sure to spot any early signs of cracks, gaps, and holes to ensure smooth navigation.
Wheelchair Flooring Installation
There are some do’s and don’ts when installing different types of floors.
Installing a carpet is quite a straightforward task. The only problem is finding the right thickness.
For your wheelchair companions, you might want to avoid thick carpets as it causes too much friction and makes it hard to navigate through the floor.
For hardwood floors, it’s relatively easy to install them, but finding the right adhesive can be extremely hard. Find laminate boards that a strong adhesive can snap or keep together.
Most vinyl floorings have floating features that make them easy to install. So, there’s no need to use adhesives or nail them to keep them on the ground.
Installing tiles can be challenging for a beginner, so I recommend having a professional do it. It would be best to have an underlayment for tiling and many preparations around it.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
If you have additional questions regarding wheelchair use and flooring, you might find some answers below.
What Is the Best Flooring for Wheelchairs?
It boils down to personal preference and budget. However, the best type of floor for wheelchairs is vinyl flooring.
They are robust, and the level surface is ideal for wheelchair users. In addition, they are low-maintenance, and it’s easier to take care of them at a cheaper cost.
In addition, there are many types of wheelchairs, each with its own set of wheels that can make navigating through the area easier.
How Can I Clean Flooring to Be Wheelchair Accessible?
There are different ways to clean your flooring. It would be best to vacuum carpet tiles at least once weekly to ensure they will not accumulate dust.
For tiles and wood floors, you must mop them every other day to ensure no dust and dirt buildup. In addition, you must always keep them dry.
You may want a wheelchair designed for outdoors to avoid facing difficulties when passing through.
What Should I Take Into Account When Selecting Flooring for Wheelchairs?
There are many things you need to take into account when selecting the best floorings for wheelchairs. However, these attributes are what it takes to be a good flooring:
- Slip-resistant floors
- Low Maintenance
- Matte finish
Is There Any Particular Flooring That Is Not Suitable for Wheelchairs?
Peel and stick floor products aren’t the best option for wheelchairs because their adhesive isn’t strong enough for a wheelchair to navigate through it.
While they can be a good option for mild to moderate traffic spots at home, they are not ideal for wheelchair use.
If you have an elderly at home, you might want to check out these best wheelchairs for elderly!
How Can I Make Sure My Flooring Is Wheelchair-Friendly?
Always ensure it doesn’t create much friction.
Different types of materials can make it hard to navigate through the area because it creates too much friction making it hard to push through.
In addition, you can also dry wet areas using a mop or a sponge so the wheelchair doesn’t skid when it brakes.
What Are the Advantages of Flooring Designed for Wheelchairs?
One of the primary advantages of having the right type is providing a safe and secure environment to navigate. In addition, it can make their life easier because moving the wheelchair isn’t as hard as it should be.If you plan to buy a wheelchair, you might want to check on this to learn more about its cost.
Wheelchair use and floor features should always go hand in hand. Using a wheelchair to navigate any part of the house can be challenging for people, let alone navigating through uneven floors.
Fortunately, you can make your wheelchair family member’s life easy with this simple guide. This way, they don’t have to deal with uneven floors and slippery surfaces, which can make it too dangerous for anyone.
If you have a family member that has paraplegia, check out the best wheelchairs for paraplegics here!