Accessibility Tip of the Week

This will floor you.

  • Summary: Provide firm, stable flooring and ground coverings to enable access.
  • Who it helps: People who use wheelchairs, walkers, or have difficulty walking.
  • Additional benefits: People pushing strollers or carts also benefit.

Ground surfaces are an important part of access to buildings and activities. They need to be firm. If you want to test firmness, spin your heels a few times on the ground - you should not leave a mark. Flooring shouldn’t move and should be slip resistant if located somewhere it can get wet.

Smooth walking surfaces help people in wheelchairs, but also a lot more individuals. Your patrons that use canes, walkers or who have difficulty walking also benefit. So do people with strollers and carts or who are carrying large items. Young children can also trip over cracks or changes in the ground.

What can I do?

Walk around your facility or location where activities take place, and ask:

  • Are surfaces flat without cracks or unexpected bumps?
  • Can you scuff your shoe without leaving marks?
  • Is the flooring material solid?

If you have carpet, there are some additional checks:

  • Is the pile short (less than ½ inch)?
  • Is below the carpet firm, not squishy?
  • Are exposed edges fastened down and trimmed?

Try to fix any issues you find or identify alternative routes. In outside situations, consider laying accessible pathways to key locations.

This work is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0    .

If you are promoting accessibility within your organization or community, sending out easy-to-understand tips can be a helpful addition to your strategy. You are welcome to share the tips here under the mentioned Creative Commons license, as long as you cite Accessible Community as your source.