How Wide Should A Doorway Be For Wheelchair Access?

Have you ever been in a situation where you can’t get through a doorway because your wheelchair is wider than the doorway?

There are a lot of homes in the United States, the UK, and other parts of the EU that have been built without any consideration of wheelchair accessibility.

What is the minimum door width for wheelchair access?

The minimum door width for wheelchair access in the United States is 32 inches and the minimum door width for wheelchair users is 30 inches in the UK.

According to The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) disability standards, the minimum doorway width for wheelchair access is 32 inches [815 mm] and the recommended maximum doorway width is 48 inches wide [1219.2 mm].

The Disability Discrimination Act (The Equality Act) in the UK advises that door opening should be 35 inches wide [900 mm] with a minimum width of 762mm [30 inches] for an internal doorway.

However, some codes and unions require that exterior doorways should be at least 34 inches wide and interior doors ought to be 32 inches wide before they can be deemed wheelchair accessible.

Anyways, as long as the doorway is wide enough and allows a wheelchair user to effortlessly move through the door, it is wheelchair accessible.

Around July 2017, Lisa bought a new bariatric wheelchair so she could have “extra space for shopping bags and groceries”.

Unfortunately, the “extra space” that came with her bariatric wheelchair prevented her from entering some rooms in the house. Lisa’s 30.82” bariatric wheelchair prevented her from entering some rooms in our house with tiny doors. 

I’m pretty sure that Lisa isn’t the only one that has bought a wheelchair that is bigger than her doorway.

But does that matter?

Yes, it matters a lot.

No wheelchair user should live in a house that isn’t accessible and people should stop building houses, banks, schools, churches, stores… that limits the movement of wheelchair users.

There are a lot of people that find it difficult to get through a doorway because the doorway is too small for their wheelchair.

It just doesn’t feel right going through a lot of struggle and pain because of the result of the discrepancy between the door width and your wheelchair.

In this guide, we will walk you through everything you should know about widening a doorway for wheelchair access.

We also want to create awareness and encourage people to use the ADA recommended doorway width on all buildings.

What Is The Best Doorway Width For Wheelchair Access?

Like I said earlier, The American Disability Act (ADA) recommends a minimum doorway width of 32 inches and a maximum of 48 inches for wheelchair access.

In the UK, wheelchair-accessible door width as advised by the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) is a maximum of 1.2m wide and a minimum width of 900mm.

For me, the best width for a wheelchair doorway is 36”.

Although most governing bodies believe 32” is a suitable door width for wheelchair access, I think the sweet spot is 36”.

The wider the door, the easier and more comfortable it is for a wheelchair user to use.

A 36-inch doorway would allow any wheelchair user to get in and out of the room without any stress. There’s also enough space for the person to make a backward turn if he/she has to.

If ask me what the perfect door width is for wheelchair access, I’ll always say it’s 36 inches.

How To Widen A Door For Wheelchair Access?

If your doorway prevents you from getting into some rooms in your home, you may have to make some alterations and upgrades by widening doors to ease access and movement from your wheelchair or mobility scooter.

If your wheelchair is bigger than the door frame, you can either adjust your door frame size to fit the size of the wheelchair or you can buy a smaller wheelchair that will fit into the doorway.

Although widening your doorway may be more expensive, it is the best option. The second choice may sound like a cheap and easier solution, a smaller wheelchair will not enhance the accessibility, mobility, or comfort of the wheelchair user.

Installing a wheelchair-accessible doorway that will fit any wheelchair is the best way to maintain the independence of wheelchair users.

You should check out this guide by Wikihow on how to widen a doorway or use the instructions given in the Youtube video below.

Having a doorway that is wide enough for wheelchair access at home is splendid and one in your place of work for disabled customers is a game-changer.

The commercial aspect of having a good-sized door frame for wheelchair access cannot be overemphasized. If you want your establishment to satisfy customer’s demands, you have to think inclusively.

Can Wheelchairs Fit Through Standard Doorway?

All things being equal, the US standard front door is 36 inches wide and 96 inches tall. Most wheelchair and mobility scooters can easily go through a 36-inch doorway.

As long as your wheelchair or mobility scooter’s width is less than 32 inches, you can easily go through a standard doorway in the US.

Can A Wheelchair Fit Through A 30 Inch Door?

The front door usually has the biggest doorway in a house and the doors inside the house are a bit smaller. Some doors inside the house and in some offices can be as narrow as 30 inches and 96 inches tall.

This is smaller than the ADA recommended door width.

If you use a wheelchair that is less than 26” wide, it will perfectly fit through a 30-inch door frame.

However, if your wheelchair is more than 28’ wide, it may be difficult for you to go through a 30” doorway, and the door may have to be widened to enhance accessibility.

Regardless of what type of wheelchair you use, the minimum width of wheelchair accessible doorway is 32 inches.

Best Door For Wheelchair Accessibility

Some kinds of doors aren’t just right for wheelchair users no matter their size or width.

Take the revolving door, for example, it will always pose a challenge for even the most experienced wheelchair user. Even the traditional swinging door can be complicated at the point of opening and closing.

The best type of door for wheelchair accessibility is the sliding door.

Not only are sliding doors easier to use, but there’s also a lesser risk of falling and accident when using them.

How Much Does It Cost To Widen A Door?

Truth be told, widening your door for wheelchair access is quite expensive. Remodeling a doorway for wheelchair access would cost anything between $300 and $1,400.

The price to widen a doorway depends on your location, the type of door or material, and even the contractor.

Small doorways may not look like a big deal but if it prevents you from entering certain places in your house, you should consider widening them.

Our guide covered everything you should know about wheelchair-accessible doorways.

If there’s anything we left out or you have questions regarding remodeling a door for wheelchair users, please reach out to us using the comment section below.

About the author

Hi! I'm Jeffery Conner. I'm an architect, engineer, and wheelchair review blogger that enjoys sharing hacks and guides that would help people find the perfect wheelchair. I’ve been providing accessibility solutions and mobility aids to wheelchair users since 2012. In this blog, I’m going to share everything I know.

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