Designing an Accessible Bathroom: ADA Bathroom/ADA Bathroom Sinks

Home modifications by occupational therapist (OT) based on principles of universal design and accessibility.

Universal/accessible design of the home from an occupational therapy and a construction perspective. This blog is part of a quest for cool, convenient, functional design that makes life safer, easier, and as maintenance-free as possible. It's about the lifestyle.

Small Wall-Hung Bathroom Sink 12.4"x11" WhiteSmall Wall-Hung Bathroom Sink 12.4"x11" White
When making a bathroom accessible you need to pay attention to the sink. So what makes a sink accessible?

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, revised in 2010 states regulations for universal handicap design based on averages for people with disabilities.  These ADA guidelines are requirements for public buildings, basic guidelines for private residences.

When designing a bathroom or any space for accessibility it is best to consult an occupational therapist to tailor the design to fit specific needs, diagnosis, prognosis and physical sizes.  Most times insurance will pay for occupational therapy home evaluations.

Below are the ADA guidelines for sink accessibility.

  • Sinks should be installed with the counter or rim at a maximum height of 34 inches above the finished floor. 
Add captionTOTO Lt650G#01 Lt650G Wall Mount Lavatory, Cotton White


  • The sink basin should not have a depth greater than 6 1/2 inches.

    Knee Clearance

  • Knee clearance underneath sinks should have a minimum of 27 inches height, 30 inches wide, and 19 inches depth.
    La Toscana 780 Towel Rod Only for Swing 85 Wall Mount Bathroom Sink, Chrome

      Clear Floor Space

    • There should be a clear floor space (with no physical obstructions) in front of the sink to allow a forward approach. This space should be 30 inches by 48 inches. It should be on a route easily accessible by a wheelchair and must extend a maximum of 19 inches underneath the sink.


      • Exposed hot water or drain pipes should be insulated or protected to prevent contact. The area under the sink should be free of sharp or abrasive surfaces.

          LaToscana SWING 85 White Vitreous China Lavatory Sink 


        • Faucets should be equipped with a push-type, lever-operated, touch-type or electronically controlled mechanism.
          Danze D223121 Antioch Single-Handle Lavatory Faucet, Chrome
          Remember this when designing an accessible bathroom:
          • Wall mount sinks are recommended for as accessible for someone in a wheelchair, and are best for ensuring clear space on the floor for a wheelchair to turn.

          • If you are designing a bathroom for someone who utilizes a walker and a wheelchair, a pedestal sink or a sink mounted in a roll-under vanity is a better choice.
          People who utilize walkers or have difficulty with balance will often times lean on wall
          When mount sinks, which will over time pull the sink out of the wall.

          Pedestal Sink.

          When designing a bathroom for someone who utilizes a wheelchair a wall mount sink is a great choice.  A wheelchair can roll under a wall mount sink and in small bathrooms it keeps precious floor space clear to allow for wheelchair maneuverability.

          For people who utilize walkers are able to stand, there is a tendency to utilize the sink for balance.  Leaning on a wall mount sink will eventually cause it to come away from the wall, in these cases a roll-under vanity or a pedestal sink is a better option.
          American Standard 0282.800.020 Retrospect Pedestal Bathroom Sink with 8-Inch Faucet Spacing, White


          Anonymous said...

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          Gainsborough Baths Patient Hoists said...

          Some really helpful information here. The sinks look really stylish too!

          Karen Koch said...

          Thanks, I think accessibility based on universal design should be functional and stylish. Why not have it all?

          bloggersachin said...

          Nice post. I like the designs you have shown in this post. There are many equipment available now days with those people can design their bathroom.

          Adjustable Height Sink

          bathroom-sinks said...

          It is good to know about this ADA. These information will be helpful for many of us.

          Anonymous said...

          The American Standard pedestal sink shown here is 36" high, which exceeds the ADA guidelines. American Standard advertises "Right Height" sinks which all seem to be too high for good handicap access.

          Anonymous said...

          You said it very well..

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          Anonymous said...

          You said it perfectly..

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          Wood_Bowl_Guy said...

          A couple of changes to the ADA to be aware of:
          1) There is no longer a max depth of a sink basin in the ADA. The 6 1/2" depth was removed.
          2) The sink is required to provide a min 17" clear floor space underneath (not 19"). This means that a sink that only hangs out 11" from the wall is too short.
          3) Both cold & water eater pies, in addition to the drain pipe, under the sink must be wrapped or protected from contact.
          4) A pedestal style sink does not provide the required clearance underneath so does not comply.

          Karen Koch said...

          Thank you for the update Wood Bowl Guy, there have been updates since this blog post. I guess I should update the post.:-)

          Unknown said...

          Very cute and useful idea!

          I have read so many posts on the topic but this post is really a nice, keep it up.

          Bathroom sinks

          Karen Koch said...

          Thanks Cantrio, that means a lot. Let me know if there are any subjects you are interested in more posts about. We are researching all the time and don't always have time to post our research results.


          Unknown said...

          the factors you mentioned here which should be noticed before installing basins and sinks are good one and they do matter in the comfort of bathroom. informative and useful blog :)

          Anonymous said...