Your Guide to the ADA Compliant Bathroom

If you’re a trade professional who has ever worked in a commercial setting, you know the importance of meeting ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) requirements in the bathroom. Not only are these rules necessary for many businesses to maintain code, they help those who don’t have any other options. Imagine the difficulty of you or someone you take care of being unable to use the restroom while at the airport, in the hospital, at work or school, or during any outing.

To help break down the rules, we combed through the basic ADA guidelines for water coolers, water closets, toilet stalls, lavatories and mirrors, bathtubs, and shower stalls.

Use this as a quick reference guide whenever you’re facing an install and want to double-check your measurements. We’ve also provided ADA product recommendations, all available at SUPPLY.com, for new builds or renovations.

ada compliant

Water Coolers

While not necessarily within the walls of the bathroom, water coolers are usually found nearby. Providing healthy water is important for a facility, as is making sure that water can be accessed by all. There are usually exceptions for ADA requirements, but below is the general rule of thumb we’d go by:

  • Spouts shouldn’t be higher than 36″
  • Spouts should be at front of fountain, with a flow reaching at least 4″
  • Controls should be front or side mounted            
  • Clear floor space must be provided (for persons in wheelchairs)

Our cooler recommendation: Elkay Wall Mount Legacy Cooler

This wall-mount cooler features a push button design and is low-lead compliant as well as ADA.

ada compliant

Water Closets

A water closet is a closed-off bathroom, often found in restaurants or stores with little bathroom traffic. Unlike toilet stalls, the section we’ll cover next, water closets often have their own sink and faucet. There must be ample space, especially for those in wheelchairs. Here’s what you should go by when measuring:

  • Toilet must be 17-19″ from ground (measured to top of toilet seat)
  • Grab bar must be at least 36″
  • Flush valves should be no more than 44″ off floor or should be automatic
  • Paper dispensers must be within reach

ada compliant

Toilet Stalls

Toilet stalls are usually small spaces, so it’s very important to provide at least one stall in the bathroom that is larger. The ADA requirements state:

  • Standard stalls should have wall-mounted toilets
  • In standard stalls of less than 60″ there must be toe clearance of at least 9″
  • There must be 32″ at least for the door, with 42″ clearance space outside of it

Our toilet recommendation: Duravit Durastyle Specialty Toilet

Duravit offers many wall-mounted toilets. We like this one because it’s easy to install with its one piece design, and it’s water efficient as well as ADA Compliant.

ada compliant

Lavatories and Mirrors

People with disabilities need to be able to wash their hands, and may want to be able to look at themselves in the mirror as well (who doesn’t need to check for spinach teeth or loose strands of hair?), so the sink area has its measurement requirements as well:

  • The top of the sink should be no higher than 34″ off the finish floor
  • No exposed pipes or surfaces allowed
  • Lever-operated, push-type, or electronic faucets only (must stay on for at least 10 sec)
  • Knee space and toe space should be accounted for (see diagram above)
  • Mirrors mounted no higher than 40″ off floor

Our sink recommendation: The Duravit Starck Undermount Ceramic Bathroom Sink

This sink meets requirements and looks good to boot. With its beautiful design, this fixture is ideal for a home with a resident who needs an ADA compliant sink.


The possibility of slipping in a bathtub is a scary one, so any tubs in hotels, homes, or medical facilities should make sure to follow these rules:

  • Clear floor space is a must
  • Grab bars need to be provided
  • There should be a shower hose that is at least 60″ long that works both as fixed shower head and hand shower
  • Enclosures shall not obstruct the bathtub

Our bathtub recommendation: American Standard Cambridge Soaking Bathtub

This tub is large enough, features a slip-resistant surface, and has a seat installed at the head. It’s a great choice for those with disabilities, or anyone who needs a deep soak.

ada compliant

Shower Stalls

When it comes to shower stalls, there are different size options, but the basic one must be at least 36×36.” Here are a few of the ground rules:

  • Seat should be mounted 17-19″ off ground
  • In 36×36″ shower stall, seat should be opposite the controls
  • Grab bars are required
  • Controls must be opposite the chair in 36×36″ showers
  • Shower enclosures shouldn’t obstruct wheelchair access

Our shower system recommendation: GROHE EuroPlus Shower System

This system features a showerhead, handshower, and 69″ hose. It’s CEC Compliant as well as Low-Lead and ADA Compliant.

ada compliant bathroom

We hope this list helps anyone with quick questions about ADA Compliance. If you’re new to installing and need a full reference for commercial builds, we recommend checking out the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design.

Have any questions about ADA Compliant products or anything else? Shop SUPPLY.com below or give our product experts a call at 888-781-3114.