Installing Handicap Doors? Read This First

Friends, family members, coworkers, and neighbors. Chances are someone you know has a disability, but do you stop to think about the limitations they may face when accessing commercial stores and businesses? Not having a ramp, too high of a front step, and no automatic doors are just a few. As a business, your products and services should be accessible to everyone, so this may mean installing a handicap door if you haven’t already. People with disabilities make up 22% of the population, so that is a whole customer base you could be missing out on by not being inclusive and providing people with a safe path of entrance.

To put it into perspective, that is 6.2 million people, with 29% of people having one disability and 71% having two or more. Other elements to consider are an accessible door opener or having the proper wheelchair door width. Everybody matters, and people shouldn’t feel limited when coming to your business. Here’s everything to know about installing a handicap door.

handicapped accessible glass door

Understanding ADA Requirements for Handicap Doors

When installing a handicapped, accessible door, you must follow the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which means using the proper ADA door width and ADA door opener at required locations like:

  • Business entrances
  • Mall or plaza entrances
  • Rooms within workplace buildings or restaurants
  • Parking area entrances
  • Restricted entrance areas
  • Escape route areas
  • Public transit areas

Additionally, you could install automatic doors, but this is not an ADA requirement.

Assessing and Maintaining Handicap Door Accessibility

So, you want to install a handicap door, but how can you ensure its long-term accessibility? Let’s start with the opening requirements. If a building holds more than 300 people, it needs to have a door that is power-operated.

There are specific door measurement requirements to keep in mind too. The door width for a wheelchair must meet 32 inches wide, as well as 80 inches tall. To ensure no one falls, trips, or gets stuck in the door, you need to ensure the door’s track has a smooth surface with no obstacles.

repairing Handicap Door Accessibility
commercial store handicap accessible glass door with push button

Hardware compliance needs to be taken into consideration too. Operational mechanisms like handles and mechanisms should be low enough for everyone to reach. The specific requirement is 34 to 48 inches above the ground. You cannot install round handles or knobs. Instead, install a lever or a push button or a handicap door opener.

If any of these requirements become broken or compromised, like the movement of the automatic door or the handicap button, they need to be replaced as soon as possible. Adhering to regulations is one slice of the pie, but making sure they’re enforced for years to come is another slice. Monitor mechanisms on a monthly basis and ensure they’re working as they should. Routine checks can help you spot any flaws so that fixes can be made quickly.

Common Door Accessibility Issues

The biggest challenges when it comes to maintaining a compliant door are clearance, hardware, thresholds, space, peepholes, closing speed, force, and surfaces. Here are some general rules of thumb:

  • Doors need at least 32 inches in width.
  • Hardware must not weigh more than 5 pounds.
  • Hardware must be able to be used with only one hand, which is why levers or buttons are required.
  • Thresholds of a place cannot be more than ½ inch.
  • Test the door’s maneuvering space to make sure it is functional. Approach it, use the hardware, open the door and enter through it, and then walk back out and exit.
  • Hotels need to have accessible peepholes. They should be 43 inches above ground level.
  • Closer doors need a delay closing time of 5 seconds.
  • Spring hinge doors need a delay closing time of 1.5 seconds.
  • Doors cannot require more than 5 pounds of force to open them.
  • Projections around the door’s surfaces are prohibited. Anything within 10 inches should be smooth and obstacle-free.

Closing Requirements for Accessibility

Closing requirements for a door’s accessibility may be the most vital requirements; if they aren’t adhered to, someone can get injured. The closing time will depend on the type of door you install, such as swinging, sliding, or folding.

For closing requirements, from open to close, you need to give individuals time to safely leave the area, so a handicap or automatic door needs to delay for at least 5 seconds before closing. If the door is made with spring hinges, then it needs to delay for 1.5 seconds.

people sitting on couches and glass window framed wall
glass framed door and wall

Ensuring Safety and Convenience 

ADA requirements for handicapped doors were put in place to meet the accessibility needs of all, making society a safer and more inclusive space. The regulations were established in January 1992. Any buildings built before then were expected to make the necessary adjustments.

When your business has accessible entrances and exits for all, you are offering safety and convenience without exclusion. For instance, if a person cannot reach the handle in a bathroom and they are stuck in there, it can be traumatizing. Having fixtures at an accessible level can prevent situations like this. Or take people in wheelchairs. With automatic doors or buttons, they do not need to worry about leaning over and using a knob. Instead, the doors open for them with motion or the click of a button, giving them instant access to the products or services they need.

To keep businesses and their services accessible to all, they should all have automatic or handicapped doors and hardware. If you don’t have one yet and you’re not sure how to go about it, then reach out to our team, Glass Repair Canada. With several years of glass repair expertise and 100% customer satisfaction, we also handle automatic and handicap door repairs and installation. With so many regulations, don’t give yourself a headache trying to remember them all. We’ll do that for you, making the installation process a breeze. On top of that, if you ever need an emergency repair, we have 24/7 care. Call us at 416-830-9008 to discuss your handicapped door needs.

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