ADA Signage Guidelines for Bathrooms, Parking, Exits, & More

Posted on February 13, 2018

More than 10 million Americans are considered blind or visually impaired. It is for their comfort and safety that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has set out guidelines for certain types of signs for Houston businesses. For example, signs that denote exits, bathrooms and stairways in public buildings need to adhere to the ADA’s guidelines. If you want to make sure you’re in compliance with the ADA signage requirements, here’s what you need to know.

Houston ADA signage guidelines

ADA Sign Height Requirements

It’s important for signs to be eye level with most adults. This is why there are ADA height requirements for signs.

The lowest the sign can be mounted on the wall is 48 inches, which means the letters on the sign can’t be lower than 48 inches above the floor. There’s also an upper limit for the ADA sign mounting height, as the sign can’t be higher than 60 inches above the floor. The only exception is signage in elevator cars, which doesn’t have specific height requirements set by the ADA.

Permitted Locations for Signs

ADA interior signage requirements also address the allowable locations for signs. Basically, the signs must be properly placed in a space where someone who is blind or visually impaired could stand 3 inches away without risking being hit by a nearby door swinging out.

To stay within the ADA signage guidelines, you need to mount the sign to the wall that is on the latch side of any single door.

  • For rooms where there is not enough space on that wall, your ADA sign placement can be on the closest connecting wall
  • For rooms with double doors, you should mount the sign to the wall that is to the right of the right door
  • If one of the double doors does not open, you can mount the sign to the inactive door

Just note that for doors that swing out, you need to mount the sign just outside of the swinging door’s arc to ensure the door does not hit anyone as they try to read the sign. For doors that swing inward, you can mount the sign on the door only if the door closes automatically and you’re planning to mount it on the push side.

Text Requirements per ADA Guidelines

The ADA also dictates the details of any raised characters on signs. For example, both numbers and letters need to be raised by at least 1/32 inch. They need to be in uppercase and in a font that is sans serif, and they should have Grade 2 Braille right below them.

Additionally, the raised text on your signs should be anywhere from 5/8 inch tall to 2 inches tall. If you have any pictograms on your signs, such as the common symbols on restroom signs or handicapped parking signs, make sure they’re in their own 6-inch space and have a verbal description below them.

ADA Sign Finishes

ADA signage guidelines extend to the finish and contrast of signs as well. The background and characters of the sign need to be in a non-glare finish, such as matte or eggshell. Also, all symbols and characters need to contrast with the sign’s background. You can choose whether you put dark characters on a light background or vice versa. Just make sure there is enough contrast that people can easily read the sign.

No matter which rooms of your building you need ADA-compliant signage for, you can count on the Houston Sign Company to have the signs you seek. Browse our selection today and contact us if you have any questions!