Renovating now for future accessibility

Moving houses can be one of the most stressful times in a person’s life. Often, the reason for the move is because its layout is no longer compatible with the abilities of the aging homeowner. Many homeowners are now thinking proactively about future challenges in their accommodation needs by ‘Renovating for Life.’  This trend means homeowners are upgrading their existing homes by considering their future needs and not just what colour palate is in Vogue today.

Mike Holmes, TV celebrity builder and host of Holmes on Homes, stresses the importance of careful planning before taking on a renovation project.  Especially, about how your mobility may change as you age. Here are some of his tips.

Doors and Entrances

Doors should be wider to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers. Doorways should be 32-inches (81.3cm) wide, but 36-inches (91.4cm) is better for maneuverability. Create a landscaped slope instead of steps to the front entryway, which can create a functional ramp.


Casement or awning windows which can be opened with one hand by a crank are preferable for homeowners with dexterity problems.


Wheelchairs and walkers are heavy and can damage softer flooring materials, which will deteriorate quickly. Choose durable woods like maple or bamboo which resist the wear and tear caused by wheelchairs. Modern laminates imitate the look of hardwood and are easy to maintain. Being waterproof, they are a great choice for bathrooms and kitchens. For those who like the warmth a carpet brings to a home, the option of a thinner pile with a height of less than half an inch will offer less resistance and is an option for homeowners using accessibility devices.

Although it’s not human nature to think about growing old, a few smart, early renovation decisions will pay dividends in extending the time enjoying the home you love.

For more information about renovating for the future, click here.