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Bathroom Design for an Ageing Population

As consumers look to live independently for longer, designs and spaces emerge that help make daily life easier and safer. Regarding the design principles of a bathroom, these are the same whether you are designing for private homes or for aged and heath care residences.

Wetrooms have three key features to consider:

  1. Slip resistance
  2. Visual comfort
  3. Easy cleaning

Slip resistance

The NZ Building Standards (under D1 Access Routes) stipulate a SRV classification of not less than 39 from the wet pendulum test method (AS4586, Appendix A), and Jacobsen have created a helpful summary of these requirements on their website.

There are a number of suitable products including Granit Safe.T — a durable commercial flooring solution for heavy-traffic wet areas, where safety is of utmost importance. It provides a confident grip and reduces the risk of slipping, even when covered with soap and water.

Visual comfort

The visual comfort aspect is critical when designing for aged care and health facilities as there is a higher chance of residents having, or developing, a form of dementia. Tarkett has had their vinyl ranges assessed and rated by the University of Stirling's Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC) to identify dementia-friendly colours.

These colours tend to be plain with no busy patterns and the selection should ensure a 40% LVR contrast between walls and floors as people suffering from dementia have an inability to distinguish between colours and have difficulty seeing in 3D. Low contrast is useful for making flooring safer as sudden contrast makes dementia and older people in general hesitate and stop moving. They tend to see dark floors as holes.

One product and colour combination is Tarkett Wallgard 2mm in Snowflake for the wetroom walls and Granit Safe.T in Grey Brown on the floor.

Easy clean

Your selection of materials should consider bacteria, chemical, and stain resistance test results as these contribute to ease of cleaning. Products that meet these requirements are as follows:

  • Tarkett Granit Safe-T
  • Tarkett Granit Multisafe
  • Tarkett Primo Safe-T
  • Tarkett Protectwall (walls only)
  • Tarkett Wallgard (walls only)
  • Armstrong Wallflex (walls only)

Along with these aspects is the installation method itself. Fewer joins result in a higher level of watertightness and the flexibility of the product should be taken into account to allow for cove corners as these are also important for watertightness.

Further specification details can be found in the MasterSpec – 6411J Vinyl Surfacing Work Section.

1 New homes around 20 percent smaller, Stats NZ

View more information on Jacobsen, including contact details.
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