The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is pivotal in guaranteeing access for individuals with disabilities, directly influencing door hardware selections. ADA guidelines dictate specific parameters for door clearance, dimensions, and functionality to promote ease of use in commercial environments. While the ADA doesn’t detail door hardware specifications, it mandates operational accessibility, inherently shaping the standards for self-closing ADA door’s accessible design. Understanding these requirements is key for compliant self close door settings.

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What Makes a Door ADA Compliant

Here are five key points that define an ADA-compliant door:

  • Clear Width: ADA-compliant doors must provide a clear opening width of at least 32 inches when the door is open to 90 degrees. This width must be maintained after accounting for any door hardware that might intrude into the opening space. See more detailed explanation for ADA Door Clearance.
  • Opening Force: Interior doors should not require more than 5 pounds of force to open, ensuring that they can be easily operated by individuals with disabilities. This requirement does not apply to the initial force needed to overcome the inertia of the door.
  • Thresholds: Door thresholds at accessible entrances must be no higher than 1/2 inch to facilitate easy passage. Beveled thresholds are required if they exceed 1/4 inch in height.
  • Handle Height: Door hardware, such as handles, locks, and latches, must be mounted no higher than 48 inches above the finished floor. This hardware should also be operable with one hand and should not require tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist.
  • Closing Speed: Doors equipped with a closer must take at least 5 seconds to close from the open position at 90 degrees to 12 degrees from the latch. This allows sufficient time for individuals with disabilities to pass through without the door closing too quickly.

Go further into the ADA Accessibility Standards here.

Requirements for Door Handles

Door handles need to work well with different door types and sizes, safe guarantee, and easy to use for everyone. Here are some ADA requirements for door handles:

  • ADA Door Handle Height: Handles, pulls, latches, and locks must be usable with one hand, without the need for tight grasping, pinching, or twisting, and mounted no higher than 48″.
  • Usability: Door handles should be easy to use with a closed fist or loose grip.

Go deeper into ADA Door Closer Requirements here.

How Does ADA Door Design Enhance User Experience in Public Spaces?

ADA door design creates a smoother, easier ,safer, open-and-close for even the disabled and children. Here is why:

  • Opening Force: Doors should open with less than 5 pounds of force to accommodate all users, including those with disabilities.
  • Door Closer Adjustment: Self-closing mechanisms should ensure doors take at least 3 seconds to close from 70 degrees to 3″ from the latch, with adjustable closing speeds.

How to Get ADA Certificate 

According to Department of Justice ADA Responsibilities, “…Design and construction under state and local codes complies with the ADA only when the codes provide accessibility that equals or exceeds the ADA requirements…”. Therefore, products can be labeled as ADA-compliant if they meet accessibility standards. These are door closer closing speed, opening force, door clearance, door closer height, and even more to mention. Kindly scroll up and have a detailed look for each requirement.

However, please note that door hardware can only be labeled as ADA compliant but cannot be ADA certified. The focus of ADA Standards for Accessible Design is on entire facilities complying with ADA regulations, not individual components. For that reason, the ADA cannot be certificated.

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How to Become an ADA Coordinator

While there is no certification for products, the ADA Coordinator Training Certification Program (ACTCP) trains individuals to effectively serve as ADA Coordinators, focusing on knowledge and skills rather than product certification.

How to Test the Opening Force of ADA door

According to ADA National Network, the most accurate method for measuring door-opening force involves using a door force gauge, also known as a door pressure gauge. In case you are interested, kindly take a look on How to Measure Door Opening Force here.

Waterson thoroughly tests our door closers to ensure they meet ADA requirements for opening force and speed. We use door pressure gauges to verify compliance, ensuring our closers provide easy access and improve usability for all ages.

For more insights, please click ADA Door Opening Force.

ada compliance

Do the Standards of NFPA 80 Surpass the ADA Requirements?

The standards of NFPA 80 do not surpass the ADA requirements. The ADA applies nationwide since it is a a federal civil rights law. Therefore, ADA Standards for Accessible Design set criteria for accessible buildings, including fire doors, which must comply with accessibility standards. Both sets of requirements must be met. 

However, there is at least one compromise. The ADA Standards and ICC A117.1 require interior doors to be opened with no more than 5lbs of opening force. Fire doors and exterior doors are not required to comply with this limitation, because they may not close and latch properly given the amount of closing force generated by a closure that opens with 5lbs of force.

ADA Doors with Waterson with Various Applications

Waterson ADA door closers meet all the requirements, featuring speed control for ADA recessed door clearance of more than 32″ and exceptional durability. As a result, the innovative spring door closers provide exceptional functionality with aesthetics and achieve many ADA Compliance Standards. With an ADA-compliant 5 lbs opening force, adjustable speed control, a closing time of over 5 seconds, a sleek design, and various PVD finish options, this ADA operating hardware is a top choice for accessible doors.

To explore more on Waterson ADA Door Closers Applications, please take a look below:

Waterson Stainless Steel ADA Door Hinges

Waterson Closer Hinge combine an overhead hinge into one attractive component with optional hold-open and door stop features. These hinges are ideal for commercial openings, gates, and glass doors. The hinges are easily installed and adjusted to comply with ADA & ICC A117.1 requirements for opening force and to assure quiet, secure closing. Made with stainless steel, Waterson hinges meet NFPA 80 and are UL 3-hour fire-rated, as well as being one of the best door hinges for both interior and all-weather exterior openings. See all our features.

Request For Information

Please note that Waterson closer hinges start from a size of 4″x4″. If you’re in need of smaller self-closing hinges, we’d recommend checking out some other resources! Also, we only provide single acting closer hinges. Thank you.

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