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6 Ways to Enhance Commercial Doors for Handicapped Populations

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires businesses to make reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities. If you’re a business owner, this might include making a number of structural changes to ensure that everyone can participate in your business. Not only is this the right thing to do, but it can also be good for business. 

According to the American Institutes for Research, the disabled market has $490 million in disposable income. By offering greater ease of access, you can make the handicapped community a regular, valued part of your business.

The ADA outlines specific requirements when it comes to commercial doors. In this post, we’ll highlight six ways you can enhance your commercial doors for handicapped populations.

1. Ensure Proper Width and Height

Doorways should be at least 32 inches wide when the door is open 90 degrees. This means that when you open the door all the way, the distance from the door surface to the opposite door jam should be at least 32 inches wide. 

Don’t make the mistake of simply measuring the distance between your two door jambs. You must also account for the thickness of the door, which can narrow the entryway.

Doorways should also be at least 80 inches in height.

If your doors don’t comply with these standards, it may be time to renovate. Thankfully, CDF offers commercial doors that match or exceed the ADA’s recommendations, though custom door sizes are also available upon customer request.

2. Ensure Proper Placement of Projections on Door Surfaces

Handicap-accessible doors have requirements regarding the placement of hardware and other projections on the surface of doors. These projections can potentially be a hazard when the door is open, making it more difficult for wheelchairs, walkers, and persons with canes to pass through the doorway.

Door hardware can be no higher than 48 inches from the floor. There should be no other projections below 34 inches. Projections should not exceed 4 inches from the surface of the door. The last 10 inches of your door surface—that is, the bottom—should be smooth and free of projections on the “push” side of the door. If a cavity is caused by a kickplate, it must be capped or closed to produce a smooth surface.

3. Ensure Accessible Handles and Locks

Door handles and locks should have a shape that’s easy to grasp with one hand, without needing a twist of the wrist to operate.

Common opening mechanisms include:

  • Lever-operated mechanisms
  • Push-type mechanisms
  • U-shaped handles

At CDF Distributors, for example, we offer the popular push-type of door opening mechanism. These handles should be no higher than 48 inches from the floor.

4. Ensure Proper Threshold Height

Door thresholds should be 1/2 inch or lower for any new construction. Any portion above a quarter of an inch should be beveled at a slope no steeper than 1:2.

5. Ensure Proper Closing Speed

Disabled individuals need more time to move through an open doorway. If your door is equipped with an automatic closer, it should take a minimum of 5 seconds to move from being open 90 degrees to a position 12 degrees from the latch. 

Other types of doors should take at least 1.5 seconds to move from 70 degrees open to a closed position.

6. Use Signs and Placards to Indicate Accessibility

It may also be helpful for your business to communicate accessibility to the handicapped population. Affixing signs or placards to your doors can alert differently-abled persons to the appropriate door. 

It never hurts to clearly label the “push” and “pull” sides of your doors appropriately, either, which can ensure that wheelchair-bound individuals know what to expect when approaching a door.

Upgrade Your Doors with CDF Distributors

CDF Distributors offers a variety of commercial door options, including steel, wood, and glass options. Our door sizes meet or exceed the requirements set forth by the ADA, though we can also provide custom door sizes upon request. 

Our stock items ship in as little as 3 to 5 days, with express 24-hour shipping also available. You can select from a number of hardware and closer options, as well. We offer doors with a fire rating as high as 3 hours, so all your customers can remain safe and protected.

When you’re ready to explore your options, try our “Build A Quote” tool to check out our commercial door options.

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