Characteristics of ADA-Compliant Restroom Signs: A Look at ADA Restroom Sign Requirements
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Business owners and building managers (as well as sign fabricators) are strongly encouraged to follow ADA restroom sign requirements, but it can be tough if you’re not familiar with the criteria that signage must meet—especially when it comes to ADA-compliant restroom signs.
Before delving into exactly what features a display must have to be deemed compliant by ADA standards, it’s worth talking about why it all matters.
Why Are ADA Restroom Sign Requirements Important?
If you’re looking to purchase new restroom signs for your facility, it’s important to make sure they are compliant with all the rules and regulations outlined for signs in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
These ADA restroom sign requirements are in place for a reason—to ensure that individuals with disabilities have the same access to buildings as everyone else.
By obtaining signage that doesn’t meet the criteria set by the ADA, there's a risk of running into any number of issues…
- Individuals with visual impairments who visit your facility may be unable to find their way around, leading to frustration on their part and a loss of business on yours.
- If a person feels their access to your building is restricted due to lack of proper signage, you could find yourself facing a lawsuit.
- When your building undergoes a routine inspection, you could get slapped with a sizeable fine for not having ADA-compliant restroom signs in place.
Above all else, you should want to meet ADA restroom sign requirements.
It may seem pretty minor in the grand scheme of things, but the addition of ADA-compliant restroom signs actually shows that your organization cares about everyone who enters your facility.
Employees, customers, first-time visitors—all should feel welcome in your building, and providing them with helpful information by way of signage can go a long way in making that happen.
Now that you have a better understanding of why you should take care to meet all ADA restroom sign requirements, let’s talk about how you can do so by outlining the characteristics these displays must have.
What Are the Characteristics of ADA-Compliant Restroom Signs?
Given the extensive list of ADA restroom sign requirements—outlined in the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design and the Title III Regulations—it helps to have a general resource you can refer to when ordering signage.
That’s why we’ve highlighted some of the most important characteristics that ADA-compliant restroom signs must have.
Here are a few pieces of information to keep in mind:
- Raised and braille characters with pictorial symbols. Any letters and numbers must be raised by 1/32 inch in upper case, sans serif, or simple serif types of font and must be accompanied by Grade 2 Braille. All raised characters must be at least 5/8 inches (or 16 mm) high, but should be no higher than 2 inches (50 mm). Pictograms placed on restroom signs should also have the verbal description of the picture directly below it. The border dimension of the pictogram should be at least 6 inches (152 mm) in height.
- Finish and contrast information. The background and characters on any ADA restroom signs should be matte, eggshell, or other types of finishes without a glare. Symbols and characters must have a stark contrast with the background—either light characters on a dark background or vice versa, with a contrast level of roughly 70%.
- Mounting specifications. If these signs are mounted permanently to a wall, they should be placed on the wall that is adjacent to the side of the door with the latch or handle. For double-leaf doors, signs should be mounted on the closest adjacent wall. The specific location for mounting should be 60 inches above the floor to the center of the sign. Additionally, the sign should be mounted in a location where anyone can approach within 3 inches of the sign without running into objects or standing in the area where the door would swing out.
- Accessibility symbols. Any symbols used on restroom signage should follow the international symbol of accessibility.
If the sign fabricator you hire is familiar with ADA rules and regulations, they’ll know to include such features in your displays. However, it’s always in your best interest to double-check.
Plus, as a member of your team will likely be the one to hang the new signs, it’s crucial that you understand proper mounting requirements.
Additional Information about ADA-Compliant Restroom Signs
It’s worth mentioning that the ADA restroom sign requirements listed above refer to national standards.
Depending on where your business is located, you may also need to follow state-mandated guidelines for all restroom signage.
In California, for example, public facilities are required to adhere to stringent guidelines when it comes to men’s, women’s, and gender-neutral restrooms. In most cases, 2 signs must be installed next to restrooms, with one possessing a geometric symbol that indicates the type of restroom it is.
So, you should take the time to read up on both national and state guidelines to ensure compliance regarding your signage.
Further, some cities have their own rules and regulations for ADA-compliant restroom signs. In any case, checking into local codes is in your best interest as well.
ADA compliance rules for signs can seem complicated if you aren’t familiar with them, so make sure to revisit this resource the next time you wonder about ADA restroom sign requirements. Otherwise, you could wind up ordering displays that don’t meet national, state, or local guidelines—resulting in negative consequences for your business.
Feel free to contact us at Erie Custom Signs for more information about how you can ensure compliance with your signage. We are happy to work with you and answer any questions you have.
And if you’re interested in ADA-compliant restroom signs without any customization, take a look at our e-commerce store, which features a wide array of signage crafted according to national ADA specifications.