If someone you know lives with a reduced range of movement, you might have heard about door widening. Especially if they use a wheelchair.
But how does it work? Are you wondering if it’s disruptive? Want to know what to expect from the project?
This is the blog for you. Let’s start from the beginning and look at everything you need to know about door widening.
What Is Door Widening?
Many of the UK’s homes are not fit for purpose for individuals living with limited mobility, and that includes wheelchair accessibility. Would you believe that the average width of an internal doorway is 75mm too narrow for an adult wheelchair to get through?
This, naturally, causes enormous problems for anyone living with disabilities or mobility issues that require them to use a wheelchair because they physically cannot gain access to some or much of their own home.
Thankfully, many new builds – particularly council-owned properties – feature wider doorways of at least 32 inches, increasing accessibility and improving the quality of life for wheelchair users. This is the minimum width a door frame needs to be unless the wheelchair must turn as it passes through, in which case the minimum width is 36 inches.
Who Benefits From A Wider Doorway?
Everyone benefits from a door-widening project!
Most commonly, door-widening projects occur in the homes of wheelchair users and the elderly.
But whether it’s moving furniture around, carrying sleeping children up to bed trying not to bump their heads or simply moving around your property with an enhanced sense of light and space, wider doorways benefit every single occupant.
What Are The Pros Of Door Widening?
There are several benefits you can look forward to experiencing when you embark upon a door-widening project.
Ease Of Movement
Without a doubt, the most notable advantage to widening your doorways is freedom of movement for wheelchair and walking aid users. Especially if it was impossible to get a wheelchair through the doorframe originally.
For many individuals experiencing a limited range of movement, wheelchairs and other aids are a key part of everyday life. And yet, for a significant amount of people, these pieces of equipment that provide such independence actually hold them back in their own homes.
A direct result of easier manoeuvrability is an enhanced level of autonomy. Wider doorways mean help need not be sought to get from room to room, improving access throughout the home and enabling wheelchair users and the elderly to take more control over their days.
Enhanced Light Levels
When you opt for door widening, your home appears more spacious because light can travel through the spaces more readily. Natural light spilling from room to room makes your home feel more inviting and look more expansive, even if this isn’t strictly the case!
Door widening promotes significantly better ventilation and improves the flow and feel of your living spaces.
Changing the nature of physical barriers like doorways reduces the risk of accidents, trips and falls by creating a more stable pathway for everyone living in the property.
Properties with wide external doors as well as internal doors look impressive on a drive-by. You’ll feel grand looking at your American mansion-style front doors, and the feeling of luxury doesn’t stop once you step inside, thanks to the ambience of light bouncing around the rooms.
Wider doors inside and out broadens the appeal of your home should you wish to sell. Not only does door widening work wonders on how your property looks, but the functionality is a selling point for families looking to the future and hunting down their forever home.
Are There Any Drawbacks?
Door widening can turn a property from inaccessible to life-giving. But there are a few things to think about before you start planning your project.
Don’t let this go overlooked! When you widen doorways, your existing doors will no longer fit, and you’ll need to buy bigger ones unless you opt for open-plan spaces.
Open-plan areas can even further improve light levels but aren’t always practical, especially for rooms requiring privacy, such as bedrooms and bathrooms.
Because wider doorways mean larger doors, the extra weight of the new doors could potentially put a strain on the internal structure of your property.
If you’re widening doorframes through a whole property, this will cost more than adjusting one or two alone. How much widening your doors costs is also influenced by the type of door you’re changing; exterior doors tend to cost more than interior doors, both for the product itself as well as the need to remodel the bricks of exterior walls.
Because of the potential for wider, heavier doors to risk damage to the structural integrity of your home, you must bring in experts to see the project through. With experience and knowledge to boot, the professionals will be quick and thorough and address any problems that arise with grace.
To return any altered doorframes and their surrounding interior decor to normal, you will likely need to bring in a contractor to make things beautiful again. This adds a chunk of money onto the total of door widening unless you’re able and have the skills to DIY it.
Top 5 Door Widening Questions We’re Asked:
Can You Widen A Door In A Load Bearing Wall?
Yes, you can. However, this type of modification requires expert advice to ensure structural integrity is maintained throughout the project.
How Long Does Door Widening Take?
It will take around 2 hours to widen one doorway. If it’s an external door, this can take a little longer due to the remodelling of the brickwork.
What Doors Can I Buy?
There are plenty of wider doors on the market designed specifically for wheelchair access. For narrow locations, like doors at the end of the hallway and awkward turns, you can even install swing-away hinges to maximise space and provide extra clearance.
Is The Work Disruptive?
When professional contractors widen doorways in a property, they will do so quickly and as unobtrusively as possible. You’ll just need to be a little out of the way whilst the walls are being drilled out to their wider width.
Is Door Widening Expensive?
There are several factors involved in door widening. Is the door external or internal? Is the wall a cavity wall? Will you need to purchase and fit a new door? The average cost of a new door is £250, and you’ll need to factor in labour costs for expert tradesmen; we do not recommend doing it yourself.
Door Widening Is Vital For Wheelchair Users
There’s no two ways about it. For wheelchair users, as well as the elderly, wider doorways make the whole home as accessible as it should be. By reducing the risk of knocks and falls, safety is vastly improved, as well as the appearance and feel of your property.
Are you wondering whether door widening should be your next accessibility project? The John Ford Group can help. See our website to get in touch.