How Does a Handicap Shower Threshold Work?

Handicap shower thresholds are designed to be used by people with limited mobility. All showers in fact have thresholds, although most people think of them as a shower pan or basin, they all work in a similar way, that is, to prevent water from being spilled outside of the shower area. There are a number of different varieties of handicap shower threshold, and they all work in slightly different ways. Below is a basic guide to some of the more standard model thresholds to help people understand what they need to get the best from their handicap shower.

Lower Thresholds

These are the most basic of the handicap shower modifications, and they can be used by anyone with moderate mobility. The lower threshold is typically 4 inches high, which means that it requires minimal effort to step into the shower area (typically showers can be placed above baths, or have thresholds of a foot or more). The problem with this kind of threshold, of course, is that it demands a range of movements which may be difficult for those with paralysis or arthritis. Attaching handicap grip rails to the front of the shower can be enough to help some people to manage, but for others alternatives must be found.

No Thresholds

This is the next type of handicap shower thresholds. The floor is often slanted, so that the water is pulled towards a drain, rather than traveling beyond the threshold. It is similar to a wet room, in that the shower and the rest of the  bathroom are level, but in a no-threshold shower only a small area of the bathroom becomes wet. This type of threshold is suitable for those who have very limited movement, but are still capable of some upright action.

Threshold Ramps

This type of threshold is used by those who have severe mobility difficulties. The threshold ramp allows the shower pan to have a raised surface which can then be sealed once the shower is in use. This type of shower typically has a swivel-chair, which allows the user to pull out the seat, slide from a wheelchair to shower seat, remove the wheelchair and seal the shower, before moving the seat round so that they can access the shower. This is a rather tiring and long process, but it does work for those who wish to retain a lot of independence.

Wet Rooms

This type of shower threshold is also favored by those who are wheel-chair bound. The wet-room essentially turns the entire bathroom into a shower area, the entire floor designed to become wet. The floor is often angled, as with no-threshold showers, so that the water drains away naturally. In wet rooms, the threshold is the entrance to the bathroom. The room itself is flat, in order that wheelchairs can be moved comfortably around inside it. Wet rooms are expensive, but are often considered to be an excellent way of allowing a handicapped person to retain independence despite having limited movement, and many disabled people now install wet-rooms in their own living spaces.