When looking for properties for wheelchair users, what is our number one issue once we have got through the front door? 

When we are looking for properties for wheelchair users, the number one issue once through the front door, is always the bathroom.  Is it big enough to get a wheelchair in?  Usually not… Is there enough space to adapt? Usually no… Is there a bath in there? Usually yes…

We never find a property right away that ticks every box, usually it will require some sort of adaptions, mostly the bathroom.  So we are delighted to team up with Absolute Mobility, accessible bathroom specialists, who have written a guest blog for us this week.

How a bathroom adaptation can help you keep your dream home

We fall in love with new homes based on their looks and their location.  It’s an emotional reaction.  But on closer inspection we often find the practicalities just don’t meet all our needs. This can leave us downhearted and looking for another property.

Our search can be made even harder when needs are more complex, such as being accessible for wheelchairs. The good news is, when you do find your perfect property, it can be adapted to bring it up to scratch. Doorways can be widened, rooms enlarged, ramps added to make the property easier to access and bathrooms adapted to suit a person with reduced mobility.

Adapting the bathroom

Making changes to the bathroom is the  vital way that you can make a big difference to your potential new home, as it won’t be suitable otherwise.  Creating a better use of available space and adding carefully selected accessible products you can enjoy a safer, more comfortable bathing experience.

But before diving straight in, there are a few things to consider to make sure the adaptation is right for you, and to avoid any costly mistakes.

Location, location, location

First is to think about the location of the bathroom within the house. Are you happy with where the current bathroom is?  Can you access it easily?  Does it give you the space you need to use it comfortably?  You might find that moving its location provides you with a much more useable space.

When deciding whether to move an existing bathroom or not your options are:

  1. Convert an existing bathroom

This is the most common option and cost wise the more economical, as the plumbing, water feeds and waste pipes are already in place. A bathroom conversion of this type typically involves making the space more usable by removing old bathtubs or high step showers and replacing with either a new walk-in bath, level access shower or wet room.

  1. Convert a room into a bathroom

A room conversion can provide many more opportunities for use of space, especially where a larger bathroom is required or if the bathroom needs to move location within the home (i.e. from upstairs to downstairs).

Something to bear in mind is that when converting a room into a bathroom, the costs are higher than converting an existing bathroom.  This additional cost is due to the need to lay in all the plumbing for the water feeds and waste water.

  1. Add an en-suite to a room

An alternative to a full bathroom conversion is to add an en-suite to a bedroom if space allows. This could be a small self-contained level access shower or wet room in a proper room division using stud walls.

Sometimes, the use of stud walls is not required, and the bathing area can be left open to the room. This permits easier access as there is no doorway and helps keep costs down.

Again, the costs are higher than converting an existing bathroom as the plumbing works need adding for the water feed and waste water.

Accessible options

Once you’ve chosen your bathroom location, the next step is to consider your bathing options; a new walk-in bath, a power bath, an easy access shower or a wet room.

Each of these options has their benefits, as well as several different ways they can be configured. For example, a walk-in bath can be full length or a shorter length tub to fit smaller spaces. It can also be a shower bath, or fitted with a warm air spa, or a bath lift.  A shower can have a shower tray with a low-level step height or no step at all so access is level with the floor.  Shower seats, grab rails and half-height shower doors can also be added depending on your needs.

Speak to accessible bathing experts

Getting the choice right can seem a little daunting, which is where a bit of expert advice can really help.  Accessible bathing experts, such as Absolute Mobility, can guide you through your options and show you how selected products can be customised to your individual needs.

So, if you’ve found or have moved into your new property and need a little help adapting your bathroom to suit your needs, give Absolute Mobility a call 01491 411 041.  Or take a look at the Absolute Mobility website to see a range of products available to gather some ideas and inspiration.

Should you choose us to help, you can be reassured your bathroom is in safe hands. Absolute Mobility have been refurbishing and converting bathrooms for 10 years and hold excellent Checkatrade.com and Which? Trusted Trader reviews.

If you require more information on our property finding and adapting services, please contact us on www.branchproperties.co.uk

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