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Why does toilet height matter for ADA compliance?

On Behalf of | Feb 24, 2022 | ADA |

When it comes to remaining compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), there’s a lot to remember. You need to think about building access, your website design, and more.

You also need to think about your restroom toilets. Many businesses end up being sued for ADA violations related to their public restrooms, and toilets are a major concern.

What makes a toilet ADA compliant?

It all comes down to the height of the toilet seat. Standard toilet seats are usually no more than 15 inches from the floor, while the ADA requires toilets that are at least 17 inches and a maximum of 19 inches from floor to seat. These are generally called “comfort height” toilets.

A taller toilet is important for people with a number of physical disabilities, including those who suffer from knee injuries, arthritis in their knees or hips, need to transfer from a wheelchair, suffer from neuropathy, and more.

Experts recommend that when you’re buying a toilet for your business, and you want to avoid ADA complications that you:

  1. Check the label: Some toilets labeled “comfortable height” are just below the 17-inch minimum the ADA requires.
  2. Consider a wall-mounted toilet: The ADA also requires a 9-inch gap between any part of the toilet and the floor so that there is easier access for feet and wheelchairs.
  3. Measure it yourself: The label is important, but trust your own measurements the most.
  4. Check the flush control: The ADA requires the flush control to be no higher than 44 inches from the mounting surface and needs less than five pounds of force to activate (without twisting). A flush valve controlled by a lever is more likely to fit the bill than a flush button.

No matter how careful you are, you can end up targeted by an ADA lawsuit. If that happens, make sure that you proactively explore your defense options.