Selecting the Best Floors for Wheelchair Users
If you have a family member that utilizes a wheelchair in your home, you have probably thought about what type of flooring is best for a wheelchair. You want something slip resistant, but also a surface that will allow the wheels to roll freely. You will also want something that is easy to clean and maintain and that will look beautiful for years to come. Both the ADA Accessibility Guidelines and the Accessible Design Guidelines can help you make appropriate flooring choices.
Shaw Floors – Empire Oak Herringbone – Astor
Slip resistant floors are designed with material properties to help reduce slipperiness and increase traction. These include certain types of hardwood, laminate, tile, vinyl plank and vinyl tile floors. Flowers Flooring suggests looking at the manufacturers information regarding material specifications to find the friction coefficient for slip resistance. Slip resistance is measured in Coefficient of Friction (COF), which is equal to the ratio between the maximal friction force that the sole of the shoe exerts and the force pushing the sole across the surface.
Hardwood flooring stands up great to wheelchair use while offering sufficient traction for easy wheel movement. In addition, hardwood floors are easy to clean. There are many different types of hardwood. Flowers Flooring suggests selecting a species of wood that has a high hardness rating on the Janka Scale. Each species of wood used in flooring has a unique hardness rating which indicates its natural resistance to normal wear and tear in a home or office setting.
A species receives a hardness rating based on its resistance to indentation in a hardness test. The higher the rating, the higher the durability of the hardwood. Ratings appear ranked from lowest to highest on the Janka Hardness Scale. This scale has become the industry standard for determining whether a given wood is suitable for flooring material. Red Oak, which has a Janka rating of 1260, is the industry benchmark for comparing the relative hardness of different wood species. Most hardwoods and many softwoods are durable enough to withstand normal flooring use with the proper installation and finishing, no matter what the Janka Scale rating is. However, all wood will dent or mar with a hard-enough impact.
Solid rubber flooring provides great non-skid traction for wheelchair wheels and is more forgiving than hardwood or other hard surface floors on the market if there should be a fall.
Ceramic tile floors also provide great traction and durability and can stand up to even power chairs. Small tiles are better suited for damp areas such as the bathroom and laundry since larger tiles can be slippery when wet and are easier to chip and break. For excellent traction, select tiles that are a maximum of 2 inches square. The smaller the tile the more grout lines there are, which helps create more traction.
Both luxury vinyl plank (LVP) and luxury vinyl tile (LVT) are good choices for wheelchair users because it is easy to maintain and is water resistant.
Plush or thick carpet with padding is not suitable for wheelchair use. A better option if you want carpet is to select a short fiber carpet and either opt out of the padding underneath or select a very thin pad. Carpet piles that have ¼” to 1/2” are better suited for wheelchairs. Commercial grade carpet has better stain resistant qualities compared to regular carpeting; something to keep in mind if you want your carpet to look new for a longer period.
About Flowers Flooring
To learn more about flooring that is suitable for wheelchair users please contact Flowers Flooring at (704) 445-7750. Our showroom is in Cornelius, NC. We are a full-service flooring and installation provider that specializes in all flooring types, including carpet, hardwood, sand & finish, vinyl plank, vinyl tile, ceramic tile, porcelain tile, tile floors, tile showers, tile backsplash and much more. Call today to schedule your FREE estimate (704) 445-7750. Be sure to inquire about our current promotion and financing offer. Flowers Flooring services the entire Charlotte, NC metro area including but not limited to Mooresville, Cornelius, Denver, Ballantyne, Concord, Kannapolis, Fort Mill, Rock Hill, and many more.