Tips For Making The Outside Of Your Home Handicap-Accessible

Posted on: 6 November 2014

Making a home handicap-accessible requires more than a few changes indoors. The outside of the home is just as important for both safety and quality of life. Don't overlook the following when you are upgrading your home.

Check Your Driveway

If your vehicle is equipped for an assistance device, such as a power chair or wheel chair, your current driveway configuration may not work well. Modified vehicles, such as vans with attached lifts, may require a wider driveway or a neighboring "landing pad" to lower the chair onto. Consult with a paving contractor, like from Larry's Asphalt Paving Co Ltd, to find the most attractive way to integrate a wider driveway into your existing landscape.

Another concern in the drive may be damaged concrete. Wheels or walkers can become stuck in a driveway crack, resulting in injury. Repaving the driveway may be a necessary maintenance step to keep your home accessible.

Extend the Sidewalks

Although winding, narrow walkways can look attractive in the landscape, they aren't well suited to wide wheel chairs or for those that walk with the aid of walkers or canes. Straightening and widening the sidewalks makes your yard and home more accessible. Much like the driveway, opt for a smooth surface or one with a gentle slope when you repave your walks.

New paths and sidewalks into the garden or yard also make the home more pleasant for a handicapped resident. Installing paved garden paths can allow them to still work in or enjoy the flower gardens, or they can make the patio more accessible for outdoor entertainment.

Don't Forget the Steps

Steps are a major stumbling block in many homes. The front steps that look quaint and may be necessary can prevent a handicapped person from leaving or accessing the home under their own power. Temporary or permanent ramps provide a suitable alternative.

If you must keep the steps, make sure there are two sturdy railing so those who walk with assistant devices can use the stairway safely.

Widen the Door

Wheel chairs and power chairs are often too wide for the standard front door. Simply widening the door frame and installing a custom door can make a home accessible. The door jamb may also pose a hazard to both wheels and as a tripping problem. Small ramps made to fit over the jamb smooth it out and make access easier.

You may need a permit to widen driveways and sidewalks or to install a ramp. If you hire a paving company, they will likely handle the permit process for you. When doing the project yourself, check with your city offices to make sure all changes you make to your home are legal and up to code.