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Floors for wheelchair access - Carers UK Forum

Floors for wheelchair access

Share your ideas about the practical side of caring.
Hi all Image
I'm planning to rip up the carpet in mny hall and bedrooms soon, but I am very confused about what to replace it with. I called into 4 carpet shops recently and all 4 gave me different advice, each telling me that the previous advice I got was wrong, sigh.

So, I'm hoping others in here have carees in wheelchairs and can tell me what works for them. The options are laminate planks, vinyl planks, or Allura planks.

I can't move out of the house (can't even get Mum into a car, let alone take her anywhere, and I have 2 cats to consider as well) so it would need to be done while we're here - hence no polishing of floorboards with smelly toxins. What I want is something that will be hard-wearing and won't leave skid marks or indentations from the wheelchair - especially up and down the hall. (Lol, not that she does wheelies in her wheelchair, but the hall isn't wide and with 6 or 8 trips up and down it each day I don't want permanent tracks!)

Carpet salesmen have told me that laminate planks scratch easily and don't tolerate moisture well (occasionally cats throw up on the carpet, another reason to get rid of it!), that vinyl planks are waterproof and quiet but leave indentations, and Allura planks are glued down and can smell for quite a long time. One told me I'd be better using ceramic tiles or vinyl sheets, but to me tiles are for bathrooms and vinyl sheets (linoleum in my language) smacks of 1950's.

Any advice would be gratefully receieved. Image
I cannot comment on the suitability for wheelchair users but the information on laminate planks is correct, ours are good quality, non-slip, but do scratch, not easily but scratch nevertheless, and if left wet the edges slightly raise where the moisture seeps in between the cracks. Ceramic flooring is available for all purposes these days, not just utilitarian, there are some lovely tile designs around which would go with a variety of living space decors and, for halls, kitchens, bathrooms and cloakrooms, if the property will take a period look, the old Victorian geometric tiles are lovely. So are the wall tiles. Unfortunately they are also very expensive Image .
I think the type of flooring to buy depends on if your caree uses a powered wheelchair or a manual one. Someone I know who is the mother of a DMD boy had to rip up the laminate planking as everytime the powered wheelchair went over it the planks lifted up. For myself we have linoleum in the hall and carpet in the living room but nothing really stands up to a powered wheelchair like the contract flooring we have in my sons bedroom (its the same carpet that shops have down and very jaggy to kneel on!)

With regard to carpet sometimes its better to buy a really cheap one and replace it more often. Our hall flooring moves like a wave when Rob drives over it and the living room carpet needs replaced but our housing association are replacing our central heating with gas and fitting a new kitchen. They are going to put down the special sparkly non slip flooring in our hall and that is glued down so will stand up to the powered wheelchair. I wouldn't fancy that in a living room though as I think it would be abit cold.

For what's it sworht, we have limestone tiles all down the hallway, very hardwearing, chearper on eBy or sometrhing like that.
Laminate scratches just ewhen you move the funiture around.Carpet leaves too many markes from mud and wet and snow to have it eveywhere i th e shouse.
When we moved in to our bungalow it had old grubby carpets that5 would wrinkle up when Jan moved about in her power chair. One day the carpet that was in the bathroom wrinkled up as she whent in, and stopped the door opening Image (we have Marley tiles now) the rest of the rooms we have had the carpet stuck down, it seems to work well. We are thinking of putting a laminate floor down in the conservatory, and have been told that, as it's quite small, if we by the better quality stuff it won't suffer from wet. We are still thinking about that. I favor vinyl though.

A friend of ours, a wheelchair user, says that carpet tiles are the best, she says they don't move under the wheelchair, and you can change them singly if they get stained or damaged. As I say in my other post about 'disappearing friends and family' I've not seen them.
Many thanks Parsifal, Eun, Fran and Jimbo, you've all given me food for thought.

Eun, the wheelchair is a powered one so it's quite heavy, so you and Parsifal have convinced me that laminate is OUT.

Fran, I've considered stone tiles but I'm not sure they'd be suitable in the bedrooms - might look very luxurious in a big bedroom but 10 feet by 11 ft.6 is not really what I'd call big, so they might look like a bathroom used as a bedroom, lol.

Jimbo, carpet tiles and cats probably wouldn't mix - I have 2 joins in my hall carpet and my cats just LOVE to sharpen their claws on them, so I have a 2rows of threads standing to attention across the hall, imagine what they'd do with tiles, lol.

Sounds like vinyl is the way to go, now I have to decide whether that's vinyl planks or vinyl sheets, but at least you've helped me get it down to a choice of 2. Until some other salesman brightens my day with "ahh but you haven't heard about our NEW product" (probably something like banana skin tiles, lol)

Any other suggestions from anyone with a wheelchaired caree is more than welcome, I won't be rushing out tomorrow to rip the carpets up. We Librans consider our options for an eternity before we act, lol.
Be careful in your choice of vinyl though - I came out of Robs bathroom after drying the floor after the care workers had showered him and didn't notice there was a wet patch on the hall floor - I nearly did the splits! Might be better to go for some sort of textured flooring to make it less likely that you slip. What we usually do is we keep a mop at the front door and mop up the wet footprints, wheel tracks etc as we go. I have a design in my head for wheelchair slippers that you could put on a wheelchai as it came in the door but I haven't invented them yet!

Jimbo, carpet tiles and cats probably wouldn't mix
We had carpet tiles in the hall, came in one day and they were everywhere! The cat had been 'collecting' them with her claws and walking round with them on her feet! We ended up taking them up as having found how to do it, she just kept on!

Wheelchair slippers - measure the circumference of the wheels and cut strips long and wide enough from 'sheepskin' type fleece, with an inch overlap on each side. Sew half inch elastic to each side, slightly stretched, join to form a circle. Slip over the wheels except where the wheels touch the floor, move the chair a couple of inches and slip over the rest. Soaks up mud and wet, easily put on, easily removed, easily washable and non slip Image
We have short pile carpet with underlay in the hallway, living room and bedroom of our bungalow and have no problem with manoeuvring the manual wheelchair over it.
We had carpet tiles in the hall, came in one day and they were everywhere! The cat had been 'collecting' them with her claws and walking round with them on her feet! We ended up taking them up as having found how to do it, she just kept on!
sorry to go off theme but I'm still laughing at the vision of the cat with carpet tile 'slippers' Image Image Image Image Image