Carpeting offers more protection than hardwood or laminate flooring for people with disabilities who are vulnerable to falls. Safety is a priority in the selection of carpeting, and the homes of people who live with physical disabilities require particular attention to the type of carpeting selected and techniques of installation. For people who use mobility equipment, low-pile carpeting is a safer choice for floors than area rugs and scatter rugs. The selection of carpet pads is an important consideration. A high quality, thick pad offers provides some cushioning to the body in the event of a fall. However,The Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) reports that roll resistance is increased when padding is used underneath carpeting. A pad makes wheelchair use more cumbersome.
Carpeting is often exposed to extra wear and tear in the homes of people with health-related disabilities. Medical equipment, for example, can damage carpeting materials. Visits from friends, family, medical professionals, and caretakers increase the wear and tear on carpeting . And, as in all homes, filled glasses occasionally overturn and crumbs accumulate. Carpets last longer and look better when they are properly cleaned, and the selection of stain resistant carpeting will make maintenance easier. A clean house is also a healthier house.An experienced professional cleaner can be a valuable guide to the selection of carpeting.
Your choices about carpet selection and installation should be guided by tradespeople who are familiar with the specifications of the ADAAG. People who use mobility equipment may want to remember that:
- exposed edges of carpeting should be fastened to the floor with trim covering the edges
- the pile height of carpeting, when measured from the tuft, should be 1/2 inch or less
- carpet tiles must form a stable surface that can be achieved through the use of glue and friction
- low level, loop pile carpeting tends to be easier to use with wheelchairs than other kinds of carpeting
- there should be no movement between a carpet and its pad
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