18 November 2022

Which flooring works best for wheelchairs?

If you or a family member use a wheelchair, you’ll want to make it as easy as possible to get around the home, and that starts with the flooring.

And what about if you own a business? You may have already made sure there are ramps that allow for wheelchair and pram access into the building, but what does it matter if the floor inside makes it impossible to get around?

Let’s look at the flooring types that will help create a wheelchair-friendly environment in any home or business.

Luxury Vinyl Tiles (LVT)

Easy and quick to install, LVT is a top contender for wheelchair-friendly flooring. Commercial-grade vinyl allows a wheelchair to move easily because it has a smooth, level surface with no lumps and bumps that can block the wheels from turning.

Wheelchairs, pushchairs, and mobility scooters can damage a floor over time, but vinyl tiles are easily replaced if damage occurs. If you have a high-traffic area where lots of customers are entering, vinyl should be considered for an inclusive flooring upgrade.

If you do opt for LVT, make sure it is properly installed and glued down so it doesn’t lift or slide from the pressure of wheelchair movement. Properly installed, high-quality commercial vinyl tiles can last a good 10-20 years before they need replacing.

Real wooden flooring

Real wooden flooring is a perfect fit for wheelchairs as it is hard and smooth, allowing for complete ease of movement – and it looks beautiful.

Some types of wood are harder than others, and something like oak, maple, or hickory is easy to find and tough enough to withstand the pressure from wheelchairs. You should also opt for a matt finish, as polished flooring can become slippery and not have enough grip for wheelchairs to move with complete freeness and ease.

Wood is durable and hard-wearing, so it can take the strain of wheels without obtaining too much damage.

Baking soda mixed with water is a fantastic and cheap tool for getting scuffs and marks off wooden flooring. And when the inevitable wear and tear does start to show, wooden flooring can be sanded and refinished to get it looking up to scratch again. Sanding down your wooden floor removes years’ worth of surface marks, and you can apply a finish at the end to re-protect the flooring.

Laminate

Laminate flooring is a budget-friendly option and should be plain sailing for wheelchair users, as it has a smooth, solid and even surface that creates the perfect foundation for mobility.

Laminate has the downfalls of being more easily scratched than vinyl, but if properly maintained, it can last for years. Scratches can also be repaired with wax, but if you go for a top-quality laminate, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about marks showing up – it has a top layer that is pretty resistant to scrapes and scuffs.

Ceramic tile

Ceramic tile is another wheelchair-friendly flooring that looks beautiful in any home or business. This type of flooring benefits from being sturdy and hard-wearing, so it’s less prone to breakage and damage, whether the wheelchairs are manual or electric.

The downside to ceramic flooring is that it can be rather slippery when wet. And a slippery floor does not pair well with wheelchairs.

To help combat this, you can add an anti-slip coating to your ceramic flooring to reduce the chances of slipping and create more traction for the wheels. Smaller ceramic tiles are better as they require more grout lines, which gives the wheels a better grip and less chance to lose control or slide around.

Carpet

Carpet has many benefits, but it’s not ideal for wheelchair users. It can be difficult for wheels to manoeuvre on carpet, especially if it’s thick, soft or textured. However, if your heart is set on carpet, some options will work better than others.

A low-pile carpet has shorter fibres, making it easier to clean but also creating a smoother and more stable surface that will make it less challenging to operate a wheelchair. Carpets also create a softer landing if there are any falls, and they can make a room feel more comfortable and inviting.

Thicker carpets are a no-go. Although they feel luxurious and soft underfoot, for those in wheelchairs, they will be difficult to glide across. Rugs should also be avoided as they prevent a smooth transition and can easily get caught in the wheels, causing accidents.

Need a little inspiration?

Whatever type of flooring you choose, you can make it easier for wheelchair users by getting expert advice and ensuring your floors are professionally installed for maximum longevity.

There are hundreds of flooring manufacturers, suppliers and installers, so it can be hard to know where to turn.

At Beyond Flooring, our mission is to enhance your environment with expertly fitted flooring. We only use quality products, and we offer a two year warranty on all domestic projects.

If you need a little inspiration, check out our customer gallery, or visit our showroom. Our friendly team are always happy to help you select the perfect flooring for your home or business.

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