Tip Sheet from Venetian Builders, Inc., President Christopher Noe: How To Make a Sunroom or Patio Enclosure More Accessible

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Homeowners adding to their homes can easily include accessibility features when they expand their homes, says Christopher Noe, president of Venetian Builders, Inc., Miami. Certain features in entryways, doors, door handles and surfaces can make a home more functional not just for people with disabilities, but also for people who are not limited in movement, he advises.

A sunroom with twin wide doors and a barrier-free threshold from Venetian Builders, Inc., Miami. A wide door or two to a screen enclosure or sunroom increase accessibility.

A handle is easier than a knob to use, not just by a person with a disability, but also by that young mother or someone else whose hands are full.

A doorknob is the kind of thing a homeowner may never think about twice. And then arthritis sets in. Or someone tries to get in the house with a bag of groceries in each arm. Or a young parent is toting a baby in one arm and baby supplies in the other while trying to open the door.

Christopher Noe, president of Venetian Builders, Inc., the leading installer of custom-design sunrooms, patio enclosures and pool enclosures in South Florida, said accessibility features intended primarily to help people with disabilities make life easier in all those cases.

“In Florida, accessibility is never a deterrent in the marketplace,” Noe said.

According to census.gov, 17.6 percent of the Florida population is age 65 or older. That’s almost a third higher than the percentage across the United States.

“Features that make a home easier to use and that don’t look out of place will make a home more desirable,” Noe said.

Noe offered tips on making a solarium or screen enclosure more accessible for everyone:

Door hardware: “Make doors as easy to open as possible,” Noe suggested. “A handle is easier than a knob to use, not just by a person with a disability, but also by that young mother or someone else whose hands are full.” Trying to unlock a door also can be difficult. “Consider keyless locking,” Noe said. “It works just like the automatic locks on a car – with the push of a button on a fob. It’s totally secure.”

Door entryways: “A good builder will know how to smooth the transition from outside to indoors,” Noe said. The flat entryway from a deck or walk into a patio room or sunroom addition promotes accessibility, Noe said. “Sunroom additions and patio rooms make great areas for people with disabilities to enter or exit a home,” Noe said. A ramp with handrails from an addition to the main house enhances safety for everyone, Noe added.

Door widths: “We’re selling more wide doors on sun rooms and patio rooms, and more double doors, because they’re easy to use,” Noe said. Wide doors make an entry more accessible not just to someone in a wheelchair or on a scooter, but also to someone pushing a gas grill or carrying pool toys, Noe said.    

Surfaces: “Carpeting should be low pile,” Noe suggested. “Uncarpeted areas should be covered with nonskid materials, available in a wide variety of colors and patterns. Nonslip surfaces are especially useful in transitional areas off pool enclosures, where kids are always running around, sometimes with wet feet.”
Venetian Builders serves West Palm Beach, Miami, Fort Lauderdale Davie, Pembroke, Miami Gardens, Homestead, Deerfield Beach, Cooper City, Weston, Hollywood, Boynton Beach, the Keys and all surrounding communities. Detailed estimates are free.

For more information call 866-596-2427.

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