Bathrooms Designed for Safety: Universal Design & Aging in Place Remodeling

With National Safety Month at hand, there’s no better time to shed light on an often overlooked, yet crucial, area of our homes—the bathrooms. With their hard surfaces, slippery floors and various fixtures, bathrooms can pose potential hazards if not thoughtfully designed with safety in mind—for people of all ages and physical abilities. In this article, we’ll explore smart design ideas for Universal Design and Aging in Place remodeling that can help you transform your bathrooms into safe havens.

Why You Should Consider Using a Certified Aging in Place Specialist for Your Bathroom Remodel

A Certified Aging Place Specialist is a professional who has undergone specialized training to understand the unique needs of individuals who wish to age in their own homes safely and comfortably. They have extensive, in-depth knowledge about Universal Design principles, accessibility features and home modifications that can enhance the lives of older adults or those with mobility challenges.

Your Certified Aging in Place Specialist can:

  • Assess your current living environment to identify potential hazards or barriers.
  • Make recommendations on personalized modifications or improvements that facilitate independent living.
  • Offer a holistic approach to design, considering not only physical accessibility but factors such as comfort, usability and emotional well-being.
  • Inform you about permits and compliance requirements, and building codes as they relate to accessibility modifications.
  • Act as a liaison between you and your remodeling team to share their expertise to help create bathrooms that incorporate Universal Design and safety features, along with a pleasing design.
  • Recommend elements and associated costs including such things as flooring materials, lighting, door and hallway widths, and other accessibility features so they are seamlessly integrated into your remodeling plans.
  • Prioritize the importance of creating visually-appealing spaces that align with your aesthetic preferences, and balancing them with accessibility to create living spaces that are both attractive and accommodating.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reports that almost a quarter million adults are treated for injuries in bathrooms yearly, with four-fifths of those due to falls. That’s why it’s so important to work with professionals to design a bathroom that is safe. Following are some strategies you can implement in your bathroom remodels.

Maximizing Space Within the Bathroom

Age in Place Bathroom

By implementing space-maximizing strategies in your bathroom remodel, you can create a more open, functional and accessible bathroom tailored to your unique needs for safety and ease of use. Space-creating ideas can include:

  • Built-in niches instead of traditional shelves. Install recessed compartments in the shower area or near the bathtub to provide storage for toiletries, thus eliminating the need for bulky shower caddies or freestanding storage units.
  • Floating shelves and cabinets instead of floor-standing options to provide storage for bathroom essentials.
  • In-wall toilet paper holders to create a streamlined look.
  • A wall-mounted vanity rather than a floor-standing one offers a sense of openness and visually expand the space.
  • Corner sinks or shower stalls to take advantage of otherwise-unused areas.
  • Wider doorways to improve accessibility and create a more spacious feel.
  • Pocket doors that slide into the walls, save space and provide a seamless transition between rooms.
  • Wall-mounted faucets to eliminate the need for a bulky countertop or vanity.
  • Recessed ceiling lighting fixtures for ample illumination.
  • Vertical storage solutions with tall cabinets or shelving units to maximize storage capacity while occupying a smaller footprint.

Slip-Resistant Flooring

Basement Room Conversion

Slip-resistant flooring is a proactive measure to mitigate potential accidents and create a safer environment for people of all ages and abilities. It is a must-have for safety due to the unique moisture-prone environment of bathrooms. It can:

  • Minimize the risk of slips and falls on wet surfaces. It provides better traction and grip, especially near showers, bathtubs and sinks where water, soap and other bathroom products can create a slippery surface.
  • Withstand moisture and water splashes by providing resistance to water penetration and preventing the accumulation of moisture that can lead to mold, mildew or water damage to the flooring.
  • Enhance safety for all users, regardless of age or ability and reduce the fear of slipping and the chance of accidents.
  • Meet compliance requirements for safety standards and building codes.
  • Be easy to clean and maintain. Its textured surfaces do not trap dirt and grime as easily as smooth surfaces.

Some of the more popular choices for safe bathroom flooring include non-slip vinyl, natural stone, bamboo, cork, linoleum and rubber flooring. But regardless of the flooring type, proper installation and regular maintenance are key to ensuring its flip resistance and durability.

Shower Safety

There are many potential hazards associated with the slippery surfaces, water and various bathroom products in your shower, so taking proactive measures to ensure safety with a bathroom remodel is essential. Here’s why shower safety is important. It:

  • Prevents slips and falls in wet and slippery conditions. Features including slip-resistant flooring, grab bars and handrails can significantly reduce the risk of accidents and provide stability and support, especially for those with mobility challenges or limited balance. In addition, a linear shower drain allows water to drain efficiently and minimized pooling which can lead to the risk of slipping on standing water. It can also eliminate the need for a traditional central drain, creating a seamless shower floor and easier accessibility.
  • Addresses accessibility, allowing individuals with varying degrees of mobility to maintain their independence and personal hygiene. Design considerations can include barrier-free or low-threshold showers, strategically-placed grab bars and adjustable showerheads.
  • Mitigates scalding and burns by property regulating water temperature. Install anti-scald devices such as pressure-balanced or thermostatic mixing valves to maintain a safe and consistent water temperature.
  • Ensures proper ventilation to prevent the buildup of moisture that can lead to mildew or mold. Exhaust fans help control humidity levels and improve air quality.
  • Incorporates ergonomic design principles that enhance comfort and ease of use, like the optimal placement of controls, showerheads and seating options.

Toilet and Tub Safety

A CAPS professional and your remodeler can provide valuable guidance to help you customize the safety features for your toilet and tub to create a more secure and user-friendly environment. Here are some ways to enhance safety:

Toilet Safety:

  • Proper toilet height for ease of use and reduction of stains on knees and joints. An elevated or comfort-height toilet (taller than standard toilets), makes sitting down and standing up easier for those with mobility limitations.
  • Toilet safety frame (freestanding or attached), typically with armrests, to surround the toilet.
  • ADA-recommended grab bars for essential support and stability when sitting and standing.
  • Non-slip or textured flooring to provide better traction, even in wet conditions.
  • Adequate lighting, especially at night, to improve visibility.

Tub Safety:

  • Slip-resistant materials or non-slip coatings, including within the tub itself and along the lip or edge. This provides a clear boundary and promotes stability.
  • Grab bars to provide stability and assistance with balance, along with entering, exiting and maneuvering in the tub. Consider installing them on the wall beside the tub, and on the outer edge.
  • Hand-held showerhead for greater control and flexibility while bathing. It enables users to direct water flow and minimizes the need for awkward movements or stretching.
  • Tub accessibility includes walk-in tubs or low-entry tubs with doors for those who have difficulty stepping over high tub walls.
  • Temperature regulation through thermostatic valves or anti-scald devices to prevent burns and ensure a comfortable bathing experience.
  • A transfer bench that extends from outside the bathtub, allowing users to sit down and slide across into the tub.

Good Lighting

Every bathroom is unique, and lighting requirements may vary based on its size, layout and individual preferences. You’ll want to consult with your CAPS professional and remodeler to determine the best lighting plan for your space, taking into account safety, functionality, aesthetics and energy efficiency.

Here’s how lighting can contribute to bathroom safety:

  • Visibility and clarity through sufficient and well-placed lighting to enhance visibility and minimize shadows and dark corners.
  • Slip, trip and fall prevention, and help in spotting wet or slippery surfaces or items on the floor.
  • Task lighting for applying makeup, shaving or reading medication labels.
  • Mirror lighting around the bathroom mirror for grooming tasks.
  • Nighttime safety, such as for late-night bathroom visits. Consider motion-activated night lights or ambient lighting.
  • Accent and decorative lighting for overall ambience and aesthetics, and to promote a relaxing and enjoyable experience while maintaining sufficient brightness for safety. Utilize LED bulbs for energy efficiency and longevity, and dimmers for adaptable lighting levels during different times of day.

Handles and Knobs

Shower After Remodel

Even the handles and knobs within your bathroom can make it easier to maneuver and maintain balance. They assist with improved grip and stability, accessibility and ease of use for activities such as opening doors, operating faucets and accessing storage areas. Here are some recommendations and how they can contribute to safety:

  • Level handles over traditional knobs. Offering effortless gripping and less force to open or close doors, cabinets or faucets, they are easier to grasp and operate, especially for individuals with limited hand strength, arthritis or dexterity issues.
  • D-shaped pull handles provide a comfortable and secure grip for drawers, cabinets or wardrobe doors.
  • Grab bars with a textured surface to enhance grip, even when hands are wet.
  • Anti-scald faucet knobs prevent accidental burns by limiting water temperature to a safe level. They often have color-coded indicators or temperature limit stops to set water temperature within a safe range.
  • Contrast and visibility against surrounding surfaces, making them easier to locate and operate.

National Safety Month takes place in June with the aim of promoting awareness and encouraging actions to prevent injuries and accidents both at home and in various aspects of daily life. It is crucial to recognize the significance of designing a bathroom with safety in mind, and an essential consideration—not only for older adults or individuals with mobility challenges, but for everyone in the household. By incorporating safety features and thoughtful design, you can reduce the risk of accidents and promote both independence and peace of mind.

Let Riverside Construction Design and Build Your Greater Lafayette Bathroom for Safety

Riverside Construction is an experienced and reputable remodeler that can assist homeowners in West Lafayette and Lafayette in designing and building a bathroom for safety or Aging in Place. We are proud to have two Certified Aging in Place Specialists on staff to help clients with recommendations on safety features and modifications that can enhance Universal Design and successful Aging in Place while maintaining a visually-appealing design. This demonstrates our commitment to prioritizing safety and accessibility in remodeling projects.

From initial design concepts to construction and completion, Riverside Construction manages your entire remodeling project efficiently. We coordinate with trusted trade partners, oversee the construction process, and keep homeowners informed throughout, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free experience. We are also knowledgeable about local building codes and accessibility guidelines so that your bathroom remodel meets all necessary safety standards and regulations.

Contact Riverside Construction

When you choose Riverside Construction, you can expect a professional and comprehensive approach. By collaborating with our team, you can transform your bathrooms into functional and beautiful spaces that promote safety, independence and comfort for years to come.

Contact us at 765-838-1644 or complete our convenient online form to schedule your free initial consultation.

In the meanwhile, view our portfolio of bathroom remodels. And sign up for our newsletter for ongoing inspiration!


Responsible Renovation in the Time of COVID-19


Fortune favors the prepared mind, as they say — and the prepared design-build remodeling company. That’s because the firms that are already compliant with the EPA’s Lead-Based Paint Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) Rule are already prepared to keep you and your family safe during the pandemic. Turns out the same rules that require workers to be certified and trained in the use of lead-safe practices also apply to coronavirus-safe practices.

So let’s explore the three components of EPA lead-safe compliance, and see how they apply to today’s strange and often challenging world of physical distancing and lockdowns. The good news is that despite everything that’s going on you can design and build the home renovations you’ve always dreamed of, and do them in a safe and responsible manner. Just make sure the firm you hire is Lead-Safe Certified, and that they rigorously follow these rules designed to protect your home.

Certified Work Practices: Containment

Home renovations are usually noisy, dusty, and messy projects involving numerous workers, heavy equipment, and physical disruption. Whenever lead paint might be involved RRP rules help prevent toxic particles from getting into the air and onto surfaces where they can be breathed in and do damage. As we’ve learned, COVID-19 also gets into the air and onto surfaces, so by applying similar containment techniques, your certified contractor can help mitigate any potential issues and keep you safe.

Proven work practices for containment include isolating work areas with temporary barriers, limiting worker movement through the project area, and using dust scrubbers to filter the air to keep any job site dust down to a minimum. In addition, when working with others in close proximity masks and various protective equipment are worn by workers for their own safety.

Certified Work Practices: Cleaning

EPA’s renovation, repair, and painting rules are rigorous regarding cleaning procedures within a project zone, including specifications around cleaning methods, chemical agents, and frequency. Whether removing lead or the coronavirus, these techniques — when properly utilized — ensure that contained areas are precisely cleaned for personal safety.

Your contractor should be zealously following these protocols. Responsible firms will standardize their cleaning procedures to ensure thoroughness, often designating specific times throughout the workday. Part of the cleaning ritual is stubbornly maintaining physical distancing between workers and your family.

Note: Riverside Construction has adopted standardized cleaning procedures to ensure thoroughness in direct response to the Coronavirus threat. They are not only practicing safe distancing but are also wiping down high touch areas daily with disinfectant wipes and sprays, and consistently washing hands with soap and/or hand sanitizer.

Certified Documentation: Recordkeeping and Reporting

To abide by the law, lead-safe certified renovation companies must retain and, if requested, make available to clients and to the EPA all records necessary to demonstrate compliance. Although coronavirus is now on everyone’s radar much more so than lead paint, the same procedures can work to help fight the spread of infection in your home, as we’ve seen, — and the same careful procedure can protect your family and your home during a renovation project.

Proper documentation includes training and guidance for workers regarding proper containment and cleaning protocols, and RRP certification documents and reporting for the EPA. The bottom line is your remodeling contractor doesn’t necessarily need to have lead-safe certification to be safe, but having the certification can certainly give you additional peace of mind during these unprecedented times.

Note: Riverside Construction IS Lead-Safe Certified and fully committed to remodeling your space with utmost care and safety.

Partner with a LEAD-Safe Certified Design-Build Remodeling Firm

Riverside Construction is Lafayette and surrounding communities’ EPA lead-safe certified, award-winning, design-build remodeling company. We provide our clients with personalized and enjoyable remodeling services delivered on time and on budget. We consistently deliver the ideal remodeling solution by listening intently to each client’s unique needs. We are purposefully putting safety measures first as we continue to serve our community.

10 Ways to Winterize your Midwest Home

Winters here in Indiana—just like anywhere in the Midwest—can be severe. Your home is your most significant
financial investment, so it’s extremely important to prepare it well for winter. The inevitable freeze-thaw cycle, high
winds, freak snowstorms and pounding rain can wreak havoc, but there’s a lot you can do to prevent or minimize
winter damage to your home, particularly if you follow these 10 home winterization steps:

1. Inspect, Clean and Repair Your Roof and Gutters

This time of year, be sure to inspect all of your gutters and your roof. Repair any damage if necessary, and be
absolutely sure to clean out the gutters and downspouts. Fall leaves, animal nests and anything else should be
removed so that water can efficiently flow off of the roof and away from your home and its foundation.
Clogged gutters that fester over the winter can cause water leaks in your home and damage to the foundation. Not
only that, but during particularly harsh winters with a lot of snow, ice dams can form, causing more leaks and roof
damage. Ice dams often form due to insufficient insulation in the attic (see point 9). This one home winterization tip
alone can save you and your family thousands of dollars in water damage and a whole lot of hassle!

2. Seal Asphalt Driveways

The wild variations in temperature we experience here in Indiana over the winter can cause significant damage to
asphalt driveways. Water can infiltrate small cracks in your driveway during warm wet weather. When the
temperatures dip below freezing, that water freezes and becomes ice that expands, making the cracks bigger and
more expensive to fix—sometimes entire chunks of asphalt come loose, causing potholes. Regularly inspect your
driveway for cracks and remove debris. Have your driveway sealed on a regular basis (usually every 2-3 years). A
warm summer day is actually the perfect time to have this done (put on your calendar next year). Seal-coating fills
and repairs small cracks from water infiltration so they don’t get big and expensive.

3. Search for Leaks around Windows and Doors

Inspect both water and air leaks around every window and door to your home. The source of any water leaks
should be found and repaired immediately. Drafty air leaks should also be repaired with the appropriate weather
stripping or insulation to cut down on heat loss and winter energy bills. If you have screen doors, have your
contractor swap them out for new storm doors that can help prevent energy and heat loss. Also, consider updating
any older windows to more energy-efficient storm windows.

4. Protect Your Pipes

We cannot stress this one enough—burst pipes can cause all kinds of water damage and misery in the winter, but
you can take many steps to prevent this from happening:

  • Disconnect all hoses and store them over the winter
  • Drain all of the outside pipes so no water is left to freeze, thaw and burst the pipes
    Winterize your sprinkler systems
  • Make sure pipes are insulated to protect them from excessively cold temperatures
  • If you go away for the winter, make sure your thermostat keeps the heat in your home to at least 55-60
    degrees to keep pipes from freezing
  • Just to make sure, have your contractor check the pipes and water main to ensure it’s all ready for
    whatever winter brings

5. Give Your Furnace a Checkup

Have your furnace checked to make sure it is in top condition before cold weather hits. Make sure the filter has
been changed and that all of the ducts are clean, in good repair, and that there are no leaks in the system. Also,
double check that the furnace and other exhaust vents are clear of snow accumulation on a regular basis. It’s very
important to have a professional help you with the furnace, ventilation, and pipes so you don’t have any nasty
surprises during a cold snap.

6. Fireplace Maintenance

If you have a fireplace, your home and family’s safety depends on having the chimney’s swept and maintained.
Check that the damper opens and closes. Double check the condition of the bricks and mortar and, if necessary,
have a screen installed at the top of the chimney to prevent small animals from coming inside.

7. Check and Service Your Snow Blower

Before the first snow hits, you want to make sure your snow blower is ready for action. Fill it with gas and oil,
double check the spark plugs and make sure it’s otherwise in full working order. Also, make sure you have easy
access to snow shovels and that you have a good supply of de-icing salt to prevent trips, falls and accidents on your

Conversely, put your lawnmower and other warm weather yard equipment to bed properly for the winter by
draining the oil and gas and draining all of the hoses before you store them.

8. Prepare Your Yard: Trim Trees and Vegetation

Have any trees and bushes near your home inspected and trimmed—particularly any with limbs overhanging the
roof or close to windows. Wild wind and ice storms can snap these trees and cause them to crash into your home.
Even if they’re healthy, limbs too close to the house can brush against the siding and roof, causing damage.

9. Insulate Your Whole House

Check all of the areas of your home where insulation might be insufficient. Improper attic insulation can cause ice
jams, for example. The walls, doors, windows, ducts, and areas where pipes or wires enter the house also need to
be checked. Improve insulation wherever it’s currently insufficient.

10. Prepare for Winter Weather and Power Outages

Blizzards, ice storms, and other mishaps can cause widespread power outages, so be prepared. Consider talking to
your contractor about installing an emergency generator. Make sure to have an easily-accessible emergency kit
with flashlights, extra batteries, an emergency radio (with a hand-crank option to help charge your cell phone),
blankets, cold weather gear (gloves, scarves, hats, boots), non-perishable (easy-to- prepare-without- electricity)
foods and extra water. If you have a fireplace, make sure you’ve got plenty of firewood stocked up.

Contact your Riverside Construction team to help you accomplish any of the items on this home winterization
checklist, even if it’s just a recommendation for a potential service provider. We want to make sure you are
prepared for winter’s worst! By following these helpful winterizing tips, you’ll have peace of mind, improve your
safety and save you money all season long!

5 Trends for 2015

No one wants their house to look dated. One of the ways that you can avoid this is by making small changes that follow the most forward looking design trends of the year. Following the trends (those things that designers are seeing consistently for years) rather than the fads (those things that hold limited popularity) is the key. Read more

When is it a good time to remodel?

Sometimes, your frustration with the functionality or design of an area in your home is just more than you can handle.  If that’s the case, remodeling is a great way to make necessary changes to your home to make it more live able for you and your family.  Read more

Getting your Home Ready for Winter

Anyone who has lived in the Northern part of the United States for any length of time knows that now is the time to get all those pesky winter preparation tasks completed before the cold and damp of winter sets in.  We’ve created a list of the top 10 things you can do to prepare your home for winter. Read more

The Range Hood and your Kitchen Remodel

In the past several years range hoods have gone from being purely practical to a being an interesting way to add to the overall design of your kitchen.  If you are looking at remodeling your kitchen, it’s important to find the correct balance of functional and interesting design in your new range hood.  Read more

Andy’s Top 10 Home Enhancements #3 Faucets

There’s nothing like having a nice, new kitchen faucet to make it easier to spend time cleaning up after a delicious meal.  Installing new faucets in either your kitchen or your bathroom can not only decrease your water usage but also it upgrades the style and functionality of the room. Read more

Andy’s Top 10 Enhancements #4 Mudroom Cabinets

Do you have a coat and bag problem at your home?  Here’s an useful solution!  Invest in some mudroom cabinets or planned storage spaces to collect everything before it gets any further into your home. Read more

Andy’s Top 10 Home Enhancements #7 Fireplace

There’s nothing like curling up next to a warm fireplace on a cold, rainy or snowy day.  Not only can they add extra heat to a cold room, but they also add extra “warmth” to your home.

Read more