When designing or remodeling a home for wheelchair access, be sure to make doorways 36” wide. While a 32” wide opening is the minimum for wheelchair access, as homebuilder Phil Garner discovered after he was disabled, wider openings provide much easier access.

Watch the video above to find out more.


Danny Lipford: I’m sure you never realized the things like the doorways. I noticed the doorway behind you there. That’s a pretty narrow doorway for anybody.

Phil Garner: It is, and I can demonstrate. One of the things is I thought a doorway that’s 32 inches wide should accommodate anyone, right? As you can see, it’s almost wide enough.

Danny Lipford: Oh, man.

Phil Garner: You know, my chair, it kind of nicks it. It’s little tight near my elbow.

Danny Lipford: Yeah.

Phil Garner: I’m a wide guy, I realize, but one of the things is a three-foot wide or 36-inch opening really is necessary.

Danny Lipford: Yeah.

Phil Garner: And I’d always thought about that in my head; but now as I’m in this condition, I really do realize it.

Danny Lipford: Phil has removed this door from its hinges to allow access. But a helpful solution for this situation might be the swing-away hinge, which allows the door to move out of the opening as it’s opened.

Fortunately you had an open floor plan. I know that’s a real important part of it. Big openings here, you’ve got like a five-foot case opening there, going into the kitchen and everything.

Phil Garner: We knew, for resale purposes that we wanted to have the most marketability. And we knew that we needed to have an open floor plan.

Danny Lipford: Boy, this is very important. It’d be rough if this was all carpet.

Phil Garner: The hard surfaces really do make a difference, Danny. I know if I did not have the tile and the hardwood, it would be impossible to navigate.

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Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio, TodaysHomeowner.com, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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