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Let’s Talk About ADA Doors!

Let’s Talk About ADA Doors!

11 May 2022 By Admin

According to Title III of the Americans With Disabilities Act, or ADA, as it is more commonly known, 60% of public entrances to a building must be accessible. It is also necessary for doors serving parking areas, pedestrian tunnels, and elevated walkways to be ADA compliant. It's all pretty confusing, isn't it? That's why it is important to call on the services of an ADA construction specialist if you are going to be remodeling or upgrading your property.

Let's take a look at some of the requirements to make sure your doors are ADA compliant.

Required Door Widths

One of the first things that an ADA construction specialist will tell you in regard to ADA doors is that the opening must be a minimum of 32 inches wide and should not exceed a maximum of 48 inches. There must also be a sufficient maneuvering space to allow wheelchair users and users of other mobility devices to turn. A minimum clearance of 18 inches is required for doors that swing outwards, while those that swing inward need a minimum of 12 inches clearance.

Door Surface Requirements

Another ADA requirement that an ADA construction specialist may tell you about is the requirement for the lower 10 inches of an ADA door to have a smooth surface. This helps wheelchair users or visually impaired people using a cane to enter doorways more easily. The bottom half of the doorway must also be free from any projections.

Why Are ADA Doors So Important?

First and foremost, an ADA construction specialist will tell you that it is important to make sure you have ADA doors because a Federal Law requires you to! However, there are a few other reasons why it is great for your business.

  • Create a Welcome Entry - No business owner wants to turn away potential customers, especially not 25% of them! With 1 in 4 American adults living with a disability, making your entryway accessible and inviting to everyone is important. An ADA compliant door conveys that you care about all of your clients, not just the able-bodied ones!
  • Ease of Use - When you make an effort to install accessible doors with ADA compliant hardware, you are not only accommodating your disabled customers! ADA doors can be helpful for other customers too, because they are generally easier to use overall. Someone juggling lots of shopping bags or wrangling a couple of small children will appreciate the easier door handles and automatic closers just as much as your disabled customers.
  • A Sense of Freedom - Nobody likes having to give up their independence. ADA compliant doors in your place of business will make it easier for disabled people and even elderly customers to come in and out freely without asking for assistance. Don't underestimate how great that will feel for them, and it won't go unnoticed when it comes to recommending your business to others.

Don't Forget The Hardware!

When considering how to make sure that a door is accessible for people with disabilities, we think about making it wide enough for a wheelchair, installing automatic closers, or adding a braille sign. However, something that is often overlooked is the hardware! As any ADA construction specialist will tell you, the style, placement, and function of door handles, hinges, and latches are all subject to ADA guidelines. Here are a few things that must be considered:

  • Opening Force - The ADA states that it should not take more than 5 pounds of force to open a door. This regulation is in place to help individuals with disabilities that cause muscular weakness.
  • Handle Placement - The handle or doorknob needs to be placed at a height between 38 and 43 inches from the floor. This is low enough for a wheelchair user to reach but not too low that it would require anyone to bend stoop to operate it.
  • Handle Style - Traditional round doorknobs are not accessible since it is difficult for those with arthritis or poor fine motor skills to grasp and turn the handle. Lever or Loop style handles are easier to use.
  • Door Closing Speed - ADA compliant doors must close slowly enough to allow someone to pass through easily. If an automatic door closer is installed, it must take a minimum of 5 seconds to go from a 90-degree angle to a 12-degree angle. If the door just uses spring hinges, it should take a minimum of 1.5 seconds to close from 70 degrees to 0 degrees.


Design | Build | Certified

Why Wait to be "Forced" into ADA Compliance. If you are a public business or public property owner, save money, lawsuits, time and headaches by being prepared and avoiding it all in the first place. It’s time to call in the ADA pros. Use Protrk, an ADA construction expert, to Get it Done Right Prior to Forced Compliance. 

Call 415-813-9877 today or visit www.protrkconstruction.com for more details.


Being involved in ADA design and construction has given me the opportunity to help a lot of business owners and commercial property owners prevent costly ADA compliant lawsuits.

Mike Schaeffer

Owner & Founder Protrk®


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  • Step 1 - Third Party CASp Report
  • Step 2 - "As-Built" Drawings
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  • Step 5 - ADA Build Out
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