Did you know that the right doors and windows can help to prevent in-home accidents, improve living conditions, and provide safety? Leveraging the power of universal design for your doors and windows makes sense in a world where life consistently throws unexpected curveballs. From that skiing trip that resulted in a six-month stint on crutches, to helping your elderly parents and loved ones maintain their independence as they age, the right doors and windows can deliver a number of benefits.
No-Step Entryways, Wide Doorways & Drop-Down Thresholds
Universal design features state that every home should have at least one no-step entryway. A zero-step entryway ensures that people with mobility challenges and certain disabilities (such as being in a wheelchair) can more easily and safely enter and exit the home. In addition to the no-step entryway, the exterior doors should be at least 32 inches wide. Interior doors should be at least 30 inches wide. The latter measurements allow ease of access for individuals walking with a cane or walker, using crutches, or are wheelchair bound. The wider doorways also makes it easier for medical equipment and furniture, such as hospital beds, to pass through the threshold.
Another universal design component that can be implemented into doors and doorways is a drop-down threshold. The drop-down threshold creates an air-seal without compromising the no-step feature. In fact, a drop-down threshold delivers a seamless entry and exit for all individuals, while simultaneously improving energy efficiency levels by sealing in heat during the winter and air conditioning during the summer. The drop-down threshold is a great option for hinged doors; however, an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) sliding door provides the flexibility needed for large openings. An ADA sliding door is a great universal design feature that can be incorporated into both the interior and exterior of the home.
Handle Designs That Maximize Efficiencies and Comfort
Universal design can easily be seen in window and door handles. Instead of using a crank or knob, a handle with a lever option improves the functionality of the window or door. Stainless steel or powder-coated handles add a touch of style and beauty without sacrificing function. The handle placement can also be customized to best accommodate the unique needs of your family and guests.
Easy to Open Windows and Doors
One of the final universal design components that should be implemented into your home’s windows and doors has to do with ease of use. In layman’s terms, windows and doors should be easy to open by any member of your family. From lever-style door handles that are easy to operate by anyone with dexterity issues, to lightweight materials, to automated features, your home’s windows and doors should keep you safe, look stylish, and above all be easy to operate.