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Creating an Age-less and Barrier-free Bathroom

Great trends are occurring in bathrooms, such as incorporating more Universal Design elements, while making bathrooms aesthetically pleasing and not looking like hospital facilities. Since the population is aging, even if you aren’t retiring soon, incorporating Universal Design features into a bathroom remodel will not only add value to your home, but will help ensure your age-less bathroom is ready if and when it may be needed. Of course, Universal Design features aren’t only for the elderly but also for those who’ve been in an accident, suffer from arthritis or other disability.


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Let’s look at showers first. One of the most exciting designs I have seen is for shower drains (I know, I need to get out more). First up is Quick Drain ( Quick Drain won the “Gold Award - Best in Competition” at the 2009 Kitchen/Bath Industry Show (KBIS). 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 floor. 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 roll a wheel chair in or use a walker, thus there is no transition that could impede entry).

  • Quick Drain can be installed in bathrooms, laundry rooms, pools or garage floors.
  • Quick Drain is easy to install and can be used with all flooring materials.
  • The drain cover/strainer is height adjustable to work with any flooring thickness.
  • Achieves a continuous floor with no breaks.
  • Eliminates the need for a shower pan.

Next up is barrier-free showering and bathroom safety accessories ( The Tuff-Form Pan creates a shower floor with the benefit of a true zero threshold entry. The pan can be cut to any shape/size. The other featured shower pan is the Mullen Shower Pan. The Mullen does not require the use of a water “retainer” to keep water from running out. Can also be used on wood or concrete. Other products include: shower seats and half-height shower doors.

Next up is the grab bar. Who knew grab bars could be made stylish? One of my favorite new companies is HealthCraft of Canada. Now only are they eco-conscious (they recycle paint and metal to use in other products, and try to recycle whatever else they can in the manufacturing process) but they have designed products that make you want to install them in your bathroom! First off, why do you want or need a grab bar? They help increase independence, reduce caregiver exertion, and help ensure personal safety. 

HealthCraft offers a SuperPole system that can be used in other rooms besides the bathroom, to help you or a loved one get up from a favorite chair or maneuver over a bathtub threshold. The system can be installed anywhere in minutes, and a variety of accessories are available. Other products include: the Dependa-Bar with five locking positions, a Bath Board which works in conjunction with the Dependa-Bar for easy storage, the SerenaSeat (a really stylish wood folding seat for in 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 available in circular shapes and that can hold soap, toilet paper or mount over a tub faucet are innovative and simple.


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Creating an Age-less and Barrier-free Bathroom:  Created on May 28th, 2009.  Last Modified on December 8th, 2009


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About DeAnna Radaj

DeAnna Radaj is the principal of Bante Design LLC/3E Products, specializing in Integrative Lifestyle Design (ILD): healthy design solutions for the home, office or retail space. DeAnna is the author of Designing the Life of Your Dreams from the Outside In.



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