What is Barrier-Free Remodeling?

If you have spent a good amount of time searching the Internet or the Yellow Pages for a contractor, you may have noticed a few ads proudly proclaiming the company’s ability to do “barrier free remodeling” on request. At first glance, this term might not mean anything significant, but to thousands of people seeking to improve the quality of their home life, such a contractor can be a blessing.

“Barrier Free Remodeling” refers to home improvements and renovations designed for handicap accessibility. Homeowners confined to wheelchairs or walkers, or who need assistance with home appliances will know that barrier free structures are helpful and allow them to move through a space without obstacles. Examples of barrier free remodeling may include the following:

  • Wider doorways to accommodate wheelchairs
  • Handles affixed to bathroom and bedroom walls to assist in moving from bed to shower to bath and back
  • Cabinets placed at specific heights to allow for easier access by people in wheelchairs
  • Other special fixtures like raised toilet seats, shower benches, or wheelchair ramps

Finding a Barrier Free ContractorTake note that not every contractor you interview for a special project may specialize in barrier free remodeling. It is important to make sure, if you are looking to renovate your home to accommodate handicap access, that the contractor is aware of what is needed. Any such improvements made to a home must adhere to guidelines set by the American Disabilities Act, so as you interview contractors find out if they are knowledgeable about what is required. It is also a good idea to consult with other homeowners who have had similar work done to learn more about whom you should contact for your job. Take the time to research eligible contractors before making a decision, as this is definitely a job that should only be done once, and done correctly.

Kathryn Lively