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Accessible Foyers

A common problem, especially in older homes that have enclosed foyers, is the difficulty that someone in a wheelchair or mobility scooter can have trying to enter the home. The enclosed foyer was developed to help prevent cold air from entering the home.

Figure 1 - Wheelchair

Although not common in homes anymore, it is still very common in commercial buildings and retail malls.

If the distance between the two door openings is less than the length of a wheelchair and the foyer door when open a person with mobility problems may not be able to gain access to the premises.

It is recommended that an entry door be a minimum of 32 inches wide, if the person in the wheelchair will have a straight line of access to the doorway. If any turning is required the door should be 36 inches wide.

If we allow for the minimum of 32 inches for the door and 48 inches for the wheelchair then the minimum depth of the foyer should be 80 inches, as shown in Figure 2.

accessible foyer - Interior & exterior doors
Figure 2 - Accessible foyer - Interior & exterior doors

If foyer is not 80 inches deep, there are a couple of changes that can be made to make the foyer more accessible for wheelchair or mobility scooter access.

  1. The door that leads from the foyer to the interior of the home could be removed, as shown in Figure 3. This is probably the best and easiest method to allow for ease of access for a wheelchair of mobility scooter.
accessible foyer - Interior door removed
Figure 3 - Accessible foyer - Interior door removed
  1. The exterior door could be made to swing outward, as shown in Figure 4. However, this could cause additional problems for the person in the wheelchair or mobility scooter when arriving to gain access to the home.
accessible foyer - Exterior door swings out
Figure 4 - Accessible foyer - Exterior door swings out