Why ADA Sign Height Shouldn’t Be Overlooked
Many business owners fail to take ADA sign height into consideration when they install such displays in their buildings.
As long as the sign itself meets compliance standards, that should be good enough…right?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) strives to protect individuals with disabilities and prevent discrimination against them, which means that it has set a number of rules to ensure these individuals have the same access to government resources, public accommodations, and commercial facilities as everyone else.
And these rules encompass everything from doorway measurements to sign design.
However, the ADA doesn’t just provide instructions for how signage should look in terms of color, size, font, shape, and more (though these elements are extremely important). It also has clear guidelines for how those signs should be hung in public places.
Just like any other violation of this law, hanging ADA signage in a way that doesn’t adhere to the regulations put in place can result in fines, lawsuits, and bad publicity—all of which can take a major toll on a business.
That’s why owners and managers of facilities open to the public are encouraged to familiarize themselves with ADA sign height requirements and more—or else face potential consequences down the road.
In addition to reading both the Title III regulations and 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design in their entirety, those planning on outfitting their buildings with new ADA signage should follow the tips below to make certain they’re hanging their displays correctly.
Tips for Hanging ADA Signage in Your Facility
When hanging ADA signage in your facility, it’s crucial that you do so in the most uniform way possible. Wherever you have ADA-compliant displays in your facility (near exits, restrooms, stairs, elevators, permanent rooms, and other areas), make sure that they are installed according to ADA guidelines.
To make the process easier, keep the following considerations regarding ADA sign height and more in mind when installing new displays in your business or public facility:
1) Start out with the proper tools.
For the most part, the process of actually hanging ADA signage is quite simple. However, before you begin, it’s important that you have the right tools at your disposal.
At the very least, make sure you have a tape measure, pencil, and level on hand so you are able to achieve ADA sign height specifications.
As far as actually attaching the sign to the wall or door, it is also recommended that you use either a silicone adhesive or foam strips to hang the sign, rather than nails or screws. Doing so avoids unsightly marks when a sign is removed and makes changing out displays much simpler.
With heavy displays, silicone adhesive is often used for extra support; however, foam strips are the most common method of securing signs to a surface.
2) Know exactly where you should mount the signs.
You should typically try to avoid mounting ADA-compliant signage on doors, if at all possible. Since doors open and close, any sign placed directly on the door won’t be visible at all times, which can prove inconvenient for those trying to find a particular room or passage.
Any ADA sign should also not be placed in a location where it will be hidden by propped-open doors, furniture, or other items that would otherwise prevent it from being clearly visible.
With regard to ADA sign height, the guidelines state that signs should be mounted on walls at least 48 inches off the floor or ground, and no more than 60 inches above that floor or ground surface. It’s also important to note that measurements should be taken from the baseline of the lowest tactile character and highest tactile character, respectively.
3) If you must place a sign on a door, follow the rules.
Though facility owners and managers are strongly encouraged to hang displays next to doors—not on them—sometimes you have no other option.
In that case, there are special rules for hanging ADA signage on doors—rules that must be followed to avoid running into noncompliance issues.
- If you are dealing with a set of double doors with a single active leaf, the sign should always be placed on the inactive leaf.
- If both leaves are in use, then the sign must be mounted to the right of the right-side door.
- If there is no wall space available on the latch side of a single door or to the right of double doors, then the sign can be placed on the nearest adjacent wall in a clearly visible location.
Note: Anytime you’re unsure about sign placement when dealing with doors, it’s best to review the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design or consult an expert.
4) Keep floor spacing in mind.
In addition to ADA sign height and placement on doors, there are also floor space rules to remember when hanging ADA signage in a facility.
Any sign with tactile characters (such as Braille) must be located in an area that has at least an 18 by 18-inch area of clear floor space beyond the door’s opening arc. However, signs are allowed on the push-side of the door if the door has closers but no hold-open devices attached.
Whether you’ll be installing new signage yourself or enlisting the help of a contractor, adhering to ADA guidelines is key. There are many examples of businesses suffering negative consequences after failing to achieve compliance, and that includes hanging ADA signage at the wrong height.
In fact, it’s not outside the realm of possibility to be hit with a fine for thousands of dollars just for having poor or incorrectly installed displays!
It’s better to be safe than sorry, so if you’re unsure about installing ADA signage in your facility, check out the ADA resources listed above or consult someone with experience in this area. For more information about proper ADA sign height and more, contact our ADA signage experts at Erie Custom Signs today.