6 Best Flooring for Wheelchairs (And 3 Flooring Options to Avoid)

Moving from point A to point B in a wheelchair can be frustrating due to the numerous obstacles in the house. The flooring you install in your home also affects how easily you can move in a wheelchair.

This article highlights the best flooring for wheelchairs and what to avoid. Without further ado, let’s get cracking.

6 Best Flooring Options for Wheelchair Use

Here are the 6 best flooring options for wheelchairs and walkers.

1. Tile

Tiles make one of the best flooring options for wheelchairs due to various reasons. For starters, tiles are durable, meaning they can serve you for a long time without needing replacement. 

Additionally, tiles come in various textures and sizes, allowing you to customize them according to your needs.

Smaller tiles are preferable for wheelchair users because they can withstand the weight of the wheelchair without cracking, compared to larger tiles.

Such tiles also create several grout lines, which offer more grip, making it easy to maneuver around the house.

Another thing you should look at when choosing flooring tiles is the texture. Avoid tiles with a glossy finish since they increase the chances of slipping. Instead, choose tiles with a matte appearance.

2. Vinyl

Vinyl is a fantastic option that most homeowners rarely think about. Modern vinyl is quite different compared to the material from the 70s!

It’s thick, cushioned, and warm, and some designs are photo-realistic, making you think you’re walking on a wooden floor.

One of the features that can make you fall in love with this flooring option is its sturdiness, which can be beneficial for wheelchair users.

It is also easy to clean, saving you the maintenance hassle.

The material is also water-resistant, making it a high-quality option for areas like the kitchen and bathroom.

When buying vinyl flooring for wheelchair use, pay attention to its quality. Quality vinyl features several layers, including a backing and thick protective layer.

3. Laminate

Regarding maneuverability and hard-wearing construction, laminate flooring is a strong contender, thanks to its wood grain texture.

It features a wood-like appearance, improving your home’s aesthetic appeal without the price tag.

The underlayment you choose also determines your laminate experience. Some homeowners think an underlayment is unnecessary, but it’s worth your money. Although you won’t see it, you will feel it!

Perhaps, the best thing about laminate flooring is its exceptional durability (here you read questions and answers regarding laminate flooring from the epa.gov website).

It is also easy to install. For wheelchair use, install laminate flooring with an AC (Abrasion Class) rating of AC3 and above. 

Such laminate boards are suitable for commercial and residential use due to their resistance to scuffing and scratching.

4. Engineered Hardwood

Engineered hardwood features a thin layer of real wood placed on plywood.

This flooring type is strong enough to handle a wheelchair and has a wood grain texture that improves traction, reducing the chances of slipping and hurting yourself. 

Cleaning the floor is also easy. You can use a vacuum cleaner or a mopper and clean soapy water.

If you decide to install engineered hardwood for wheelchair use, choose wood with higher Janka hardness ratings, such as:

  • Oak
  • Maple
  • Hickory

You should also choose flooring material with a matte finish rather than those with a highly polished surface to enhance traction.

The one thing that can turn you off regarding engineered wood flooring is that it’s prone to scratches and dents. Nevertheless, you can easily repair them.

5. Rubber

Rubber flooring offers the best option for wheelchair flooring. It offers better traction even in wet conditions and can serve you for a long time.

Rubber also absorbs high impacts, reducing the chances of sustaining serious injuries if someone were to fall from the wheelchair (we have another piece of article that covers how to keep the elderly from falling out of a wheelchair).

This flooring option comes in three different including:

  • Tiles
  • Rolls
  • Mats

The best option among the three is the rubber rolls and tiles since they’re easy to install, meaning you don’t have to dig deep into your pocket to hire a professional.

Although rubber flooring offers several advantages, it has a strong smell which can be a disadvantage.

You can solve this issue by regularly mopping your floor with mild soap and clean water. Also, ensure your home is properly ventilated.

6. Low Pile Carpeting

Although a carpet offers warmth and improves the aesthetic value of your home, it’s not the best flooring option for wheelchair use. This fact is because you’ll need to use a lot of force to push the wheelchair around.

With that in mind, choosing a carpet with short fibers is advisable if any of your family members use a wheelchair.

You should also avoid carpets with thick padding since your wheelchair’s wheels may crush and deform them. 

When placing the carpet on the floor, ensure it’s tightly secured to prevent wrinkles and bubbles from forming.

What To Avoid

When considering the best flooring for wheelchairs, there are some materials you should avoid. This section highlights some of them.

1. Peel and Stick Flooring

Peel and stick flooring is a flooring option that comes with an adhesive, allowing you to stick it on the floor.

If you’re using a wheelchair, this flooring option is unsuitable since the adhesive is usually weak and may shift when your wheelchair’s wheels roll over. 

Eventually, the material may become too loose, making it difficult to move your wheelchair around.

For the flooring option to serve you better, apply commercial glue on the pre-applied adhesive to create a strong bond between the floor and the subfloor.

2. Foam Tiles

Foam tiles are susceptible to damage and compression due to the narrow nature of a wheelchair’s wheels. This flooring material also crushes easily. 

Moreover, the tiles may break apart if you make a sharp turn and your wheelchair may become obstructed.

3. Vinyl Roll

Although not all vinyl flooring options are bad, you shouldn’t take a chance on lower-quality options since they’re not durable. As a result, you’ll have to replace your flooring frequently.

Final Words

There are several flooring options you can install in your home. If you’re looking for the best flooring for wheelchairs, look for one that offers good traction and improves maneuverability. 

Also, consider easy-to-clean and durable flooring materials.

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