Universal Design Features for Doors & Windows
Universal design is a concept that caters around creating a home for everyone. No matter a resident’s age, abilities, or handicaps, universal design doors and windows are meant to keep the home safe, comfortable, and beautiful. In addition to the latter attributes, windows and doors that are installed using universal design best practices will require little physical effort, are simple to use, offer flexibility in use, and are appropriately designed for the space that they will occupy. With the latter attributes in mind, learning a bit more about universal design can help you to make the right choices for your home.
Universal Design 101: A Quick Overview
As its name implies, universal design is meant to help everyone live comfortably and safely in their home. Regardless of age, size, and physical or mental ability, universal design best practices can improve living spaces for everyone, including:
- Elderly adults who want to remain at home throughout their golden years.
- Individuals who are significantly taller or shorter than the average person.
- Individuals with limited dexterity or mobility.
- Families who have young children.
- Individuals who have either a permanent or temporary disability.
While universal design best practices can be applied to the entire home, doors and windows are two of the easiest components that can be upgraded to best suit the needs of your family and guests. At Legal Eagle Contractors, we are one of the industry’s leaders in universal design and aging in place remodeling. In keeping with universal design best practices, we believe that windows and doors should be upgraded to provide comfortable, safe, and beautiful solutions that will serve your unique needs for decades to come.
Features to Utilize For Doors and Windows
Did you know that the right doors and windows can help to prevent in-home accidents, improve living conditions, and provide safety? Leveraging the power of universal design for your doors and windows makes sense in a world where life consistently throws unexpected curveballs. From that skiing trip that resulted in a six-month stint on crutches, to helping your elderly parents and loved ones maintain their independence as they age, the right doors and windows can deliver a number of benefits.
No-Step Entryways, Wide Doorways & Drop-Down Thresholds
Universal design features state that every home should have at least one no-step entryway. A zero-step entryway ensures that people with mobility challenges and certain disabilities (such as being in a wheelchair) can more easily and safely enter and exit the home. In addition to the no-step entryway, the exterior doors should be at least 32 inches wide. Interior doors should be at least 30 inches wide. The latter measurements allow ease of access for individuals walking with a cane or walker, using crutches, or are wheelchair bound. The wider doorways also makes it easier for medical equipment and furniture, such as hospital beds, to pass through the threshold.
Another universal design component that can be implemented into doors and doorways is a drop-down threshold. The drop-down threshold creates an air-seal without compromising the no-step feature. In fact, a drop-down threshold delivers a seamless entry and exit for all individuals, while simultaneously improving energy efficiency levels by sealing in heat during the winter and air conditioning during the summer. The drop-down threshold is a great option for hinged doors; however, an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) sliding door provides the flexibility needed for large openings. An ADA sliding door is a great universal design feature that can be incorporated into both the interior and exterior of the home.
Smart Home Features
Universal design ideas are about creating a more comfortable and safe living experience for everyone. In this vein, some universal designs focus on convenience. For example, remote control window shades or automated curtains are two great home features that can be easily controlled by your smartphone. The use of smart window shades or curtains can help to reduce optical strain, deliver additional levels of privacy, and improve the quality of life for individuals of all ages, sizes, and physical or mental ability.
Another smart home feature that can be applied to your exterior doors are keyless locks. Keyless locks remove the fumbling and dexterity issues that are often associated with traditional keys. The keyless lock option can involve a digital code or be synced to a smartphone. It can also be easily synced to an alarm system, so that you can receive alerts when your family members exit or enter the home.
Handle Designs That Maximize Efficiencies and Comfort
Universal design can easily be seen in window and door handles. Instead of using a crank or knob, a handle with a lever option improves the functionality of the window or door. Stainless steel or powder-coated handles add a touch of style and beauty without sacrificing function. The handle placement can also be customized to best accommodate the unique needs of your family and guests.
Easy to Open Windows and Doors
One of the final universal design components that should be implemented into your home’s windows and doors has to do with ease of use. In layman’s terms, windows and doors should be easy to open by any member of your family. From lever-style door handles that are easy to operate by anyone with dexterity issues, to lightweight materials, to automated features, your home’s windows and doors should keep you safe, look stylish, and above all be easy to operate.
Contact Legal Eagle Contractors to Transform Your Home Today
Your home is your place of refuge, comfort, and the source of some of your fondest memories. At Legal Eagle Contractors, we use universal design best practices to help our clients enjoy a safe and comfortable home that caters to the unique needs of their families and guests. Whether you are interested in updating your home’s windows and doors for aging parents, young children, or a physical disability, we are here to help transform your home into a living space that will serve your specific needs for decades.
No matter where you are in your home transformation journey, we invite you to contact a member of our knowledgeable and experienced team to learn more about how universal design can enhance the interior and exterior of your home. Simply fill out our online contact form, or call 713.723.8850 to speak with a member of our team today.