If your loved one has limited mobility, you may have some additional concerns when choosing suitable flooring options. One thing's for sure; accessible flooring options are a must-have when designing the home's interior. That's because appropriate and quality flooring ensures the safety and ease of mobility of your loved ones around the house.
However, if you're unsure where to start, this article is for you. This guide will help you identify the best accessible flooring options to make it easier for loved ones with limited mobility to navigate their living area.
The Most Suitable Flooring Options for People with Limited Mobility
Here are some of the most popular, reliable, sturdy, and non-slip options you can consider:
Laminate is one of the most versatile accessible flooring options. The fact that it has a hard and stable surface provides everyone an easier time navigating around their homes. As a plus, laminate has a highly realistic wood look and a grainy texture, which adds to the home's overall aesthetic.
The best part is that laminate is pretty affordable, highly durable and comes in a wide range of Abrasion Classes. It's recommended to choose laminate flooring with a rating of at least AC3, which is rated for heavy commercial or residential use. Since this kind of laminate is built for areas with moderate traffic, it's highly resistant to wear, tear, scuffing, and scratching. The style holds great resale value too.
2. Engineered hardwood
Engineered wood is another great accessible flooring option for people with limited mobility. It features a real hardwood veneer. That means this kind of flooring is solid enough to handle the wear of constant use of a wheelchair.
It has a wood grain texture that helps give some traction and reduces the chances of slipping. As you choose engineered hardwood options, ensure you look for wood pieces with a high Janka rating.
Janka refers to how hard the wood specie is. Harder wood options like maple, hickory, and oak last longer. Avoid softer woods like fir and pine as they tend to wear faster. They are more prone to denting and scuffing.
3. Porcelain and Ceramic Tiles
Porcelain and ceramic are the best tile options for accessibility, and with good reason. Tile flooring is durable; therefore, less likely to get any dents from constant use of a wheelchair. Also, tiles come with a wide range of size and texture options that give them impeccable traction.
In addition, smaller tiles will give you better service as they require more grout lines. That's a good thing, as grout lines give wheelchair wheels a better grip. All the same, ensure that the tiles are not too old. If the grout lines are too deep, they may be too bumpy, making it difficult to navigate. If you're in a similar situation, you can always fix the issue by filling in the grout lines.
Rubber stands out as one of the most popular non-slip accessibility flooring options. It's always safer as it tends to be slip-resistant even when wet. On top of that, rubber floors are durable and give you ultimate impact absorption if your loved one falls into an accident.
Rubber flooring options are available in rolls, mats, and tiles. If you are looking for full coverage, rubber rolls and tiles will give you excellent service. Since it covers the entire floor area, you don't have to worry about the section below the chair moving.
Vinyl flooring is another incredible option for accessibility. Sheet vinyl, SPC, and WPC especially will give you better service as they provide you with a sturdy and level surface. What's more, vinyl is low maintenance. All the same, you'll get more value from commercial-grade vinyl as it's designed to last longer.
In essence, the commercial-grade vinyl flooring has a thicker layer; hence it handles wear and tears better. So, as you choose your vinyl flooring, steer off residential-grade vinyl as it tends to wear over time, and you may have to replace it every so often. All the same, it will be easier to replace your vinyl flooring as it's a more affordable option.
6. Low Pile Carpet
While you can also use carpet in a home where accessible flooring is required, you must be careful about the kind of carpet you choose. If you're unsure which carpet is the best fit, just ask for commercial-grade carpets. This kind of carpet is slip-resistant; therefore, will give you decent traction. In addition to that, make sure the carpet is either tacked or glued to the floor. That will prevent it from bunching up under the wheelchair's wheel.
Which Flooring Options Should You Avoid?
These are the flooring options that could potentially impede mobility or even damage the wheelchair:
Rugs are more likely to slide and bunch up under the wheelchair. While the sliding may reduce if you go with a low pile rug, it's better to have the rug secured to the subfloor for optimal stability. Unfortunately, that beats the whole point of having a rug.
2. Foam Tiles
The narrow wheelchair wheels are likely to compress and damage foam tiles. While foam tiles may be comfortable, they can easily get crushed. In addition, there's a risk of interlocking foam tiles coming apart if someone makes a sharp turn.
3. Peel and Stick Floors
Peel and stick flooring are not appropriate for wheelchair users. That's because the adhesive might not be strong enough to handle the impact of a wheelchair. If by any chance the floor is damaged and loosens, it may obstruct the wheelchair.