Selecting an ADA Toilet

ADA toiletThe Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law that has specific requirements for accessible buildings for those with disabilities, as well as children and the elderly. All buildings open to the public must comply with these federal guidelines. These standards are designed to help people with disabilities safely use all normal building components, such as doors, restrooms and elevators. ADA-compliant toilets should be chosen and installed in restrooms according to applicable ADA guidelines.


According to the ADA, the distance between the finished flooring and the top of the bowl should measure 17 to 19 inches. The ADA-compliant models are designed to meet this requirement, however; standard toilets also can be considered ADA compliant.

Evaluate the size of each toilet compared to the size of the bathroom. To meet ADA requirements, a five foot clear circular space in front or beside the toilet is required. If the bathroom or stall measures on the small side, choosing a more compact toilet may be your only option to meet compliance.

You can also consider modifying the standard toilet to meet ADA requirements as well. Standard toilets measure between 14 and 16 inches in height. Special seats approved by the ADA can be purchased to fit these toilets making the ADA approved without having to replace the toilet.

Pursuant to ADA regulations, a 42-inch grab bar is required to be placed beside the toilet, and behind the toilet a 36-inch grab bar must be installed. If your space is too small, you can choose a unit that has built-in safety bars mounts instead. These toilets are manufactured to supports the grab bars which will eliminate the need to attach bars to the wall.

Under ADA guidelines all handles and levers are required to be installed and used minimal force. They must also be easily grasped for the elderly or those with disabilities. Look for levers that are easy to depress or push button models.

A wall-mounted unit must be used if the stall is 59 inches deep or less to meet ADA guidelines. However, if the stall is 59 inches or deeper a floor-mounted unit may be installed.

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