***Universal Design features aren’t only for the elderly BUT for those who’ve been in an accident, suffer from arthritis or a broken bone! ***
Let’s look at showers first. One of the coolest design options I saw was for shower drains (I know, I need to get out more apparently…). First up is QuickDrain (www.quickdrainusa.com). QuickDrain won the “Gold Award-Best in Competition” at the 2009 KBIS show. This is a low-profile channel which can be retro-fitted easily into an existing shower stall. There is NO height added to the existing floor or change of slope around the drain. The 1-way slope and channel drain allow for large tile use on the shower pan. Although Quick Drain can be installed anywhere water drainage is required, the most popular is a “wall” installation at the far side of the shower-opposite of the entry (in case you need to wheel a wheel chair in or use a walker, thusly there is no transition that could impede entry).
l QuickDrain can be installed in bathrooms, laundry rooms, pools or garage floors.
l QuickDrain is super easy to install and can be used with all flooring materials.
l The drain cover/strainer is height adjustable to work with any flooring thickness.
l Achieve a continuous floor with no breaks.
l Eliminates the need for a shower pan.
l No more stepping on the drain!
Next up is Beyond Barriers for barrier-free showering and bathroom safety accessories. (www.akw-mediacare.com) This is a wonderful site to check out all of their products-leading the way if the Tuff-Form Pan which creates a wet-floor shower on wood or concrete for installation of ceramic tile of commercial grade non-slip vinyl flooring with the benefit of a TRUE zero threshold entry. The pan can be cut to any shape/size w/in 6” of drain. The other featured shower pan is the Mullen Shower Pan. The Mullen does NOT require use of water “retainer” to keep water from running out. Can also be used on wood or concrete. Other products include: shower seats, grab bars and half-height shower doors.
Next up is the grab bar…and who knew grab bars could be made stylish? Well, one of my favorite new companies is HealthCraft out of Canada. Now only do are they an eco-friendly company (they recycle paint and metal to use in other products, & try to recycle whatever else they can in the manufacturing process) but they have designed products that make you WANT to install grab bars in your bathroom! First off, WHY do you want/need a grab bar? They help increase independence, reduce caregiver strain and help to provide for personal safety.
HealthCraft offers a Superpole system that can be used in other rooms, besides the bathroom, to help you get up from your favorite chair or maneuver over a bathtub threshold. This system can be installed anywhere in a matter of minutes. A variety of accessories are available for this system. Other products include: the Dependa-bar w/5 locking positions, a Bath board which works in conjunction with the Dependa Bar for easy storage, the Serena Seat (a really stylish wood folding seat in for the shower), easy mount grab bars and rails that can be installed in a variety of positions and angles. The Invisia Collection is the “designer” line of grab bars-which are also multi-use. Grab bars in circular shapes AND that can hold soap, toilet paper or over a tub faucet…It’s great and so simple! This is wonderful addition to ANY bathroom.
HealthCraft is also committed to the environment:
l Products are designed AND manufactured in Ottowa Canada, with the facilities bordering acres of protected forest, farmland & natural habitat. This reduces transportation costs and CO2 emissions that are a result of long-haul transport.
l Efforts made to source locally and recycle materials for and from products-steel, aluminum and stainless steel. Scrap metal is used for other products and/or recycling scrap pieces and metal chips.
l Brazilin Walnut is a new material HealthCraft is using as its decay resistant when in contact with water and resists rot, mold & mildew. It is 3x stronger than teak.
l Powder coating is used instead of liquid paint which also incorporates a bio-remediating part washing system, rinse water recycling and the option for powder recycling.