Aug 302011


Along with bathtubs and showers, sinks are an important part of a handicap accessible bathroom. The proper sink allows people who are physically challenged or in a wheelchair to take care of their basic cleaning habits such as brushing their teeth, washing their faces and hands, and shaving.

Pedestal Sink

One type of handicap accessible sink is the pedestal sink or lavatory. This visually appealing sink has a thin pedestal base below the sink bowl. The pedestal should be thin enough so that it can fit between the wheelchair users legs. A thin pedestal also allows a person in a wheelchair to get close to the sink.

This type base also keeps the water pipes hidden. With hidden pipes there is no danger of knees or legs getting burned by hot water pipes.

Pedestal sinks are available in many different colors, allowing them to blend easily into the design of your bathroom.

The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) has standards for the height of a handicap pedestal sink. To be complaint, the ADA recommends that that the sink should be no more than 34 inches high. The knee space under the sink should be at least 27 inches high and 19 inches deep, with a width of 30 inches. The sink itself should be about 6 1/2 inches deep.

Obviously, there should be no vanity under the sink that a wheelchair could bump into. You should also allow about 4 feet of turning space in front of the sink so the user can more easily roll up to the sink.

Based on the size and color, the cost of a handicap pedestal sink can range between $200 and $400. Designer sinks can cost more.

Wall Hung Sink

Another option for the handicap bathroom is a wall hung sink. These are sinks that have been elongated so the bowl of the sink comes out further than on a typical sink. This allows the person in the wheelchair to roll up to and under the sink in order to use it.

Because the pipes may be exposed, they should be placed further back than on a normal sink. That’s so the person in a wheelchair won’t burn their knees or legs on the hot water pipe. Another option is to insulate the pipes so that any hot surfaces are covered.



Sink faucets should also be more convenient for the handicapped person. That means a person should be able to operate it with one hand and it should, according to ADA standards, “not require grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist.” (See 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design)

ADA accessible faucets can include the following types.

  • Lever operated
  • Push in
  • Electronically operated

Also, it shouldn’t take more than five pounds of pressure to operate these faucets.

The combination of an ADA compliant sink and faucet can be a useful and visually appealing addition to the handicap bathroom.

For more information about handicap accessible bathrooms, read Creating the Handicap Accessible Bathroom.

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