A plumber’s tips on how to make your bathroom slip-proof

According to studies, the bathroom is the most dangerous room in a home. The most hazardous activities for all ages are bathing, showering and getting out of the tub or shower. For instance, on May 4, social media was awash with tributes to a one Patrick Kateihwaho who had fatally slipped in his bathroom in Minister’s Village, Ntinda. Just a month earlier, a Kampala tycoon, Hajj Badru Magoba of Magoba Arcade in downtown Kampala had also met a similar fate. These two are some the many cases that have become common.

Yasiin Kigundu, a plumber says bathroom safety is a major concern for most of his clients and most of the remodels he has done include adding slip-proof materials to the bathrooms. 

“Slipping the bathroom is a concern of many people and they contract me to make their bathrooms safer,” Kigundu says.

Anti-slip shower mat

Kigundu says installing a floor-grip mat is the cheapest and easiest way to make a bathroom less slippery. He says these can be found in most supermarkets everywhere and they make a big difference.

“There are many contributing factors that make bathrooms slippery. Soapy water is a major one, and tiled surfaces’ smoothness and hardness are the other. In my experience, most forget to protect their bathrooms against slip hazards until they either fall or hear of someone who has died from falling in the bathroom. Anti-slip mats are a great temporary solution,” he says.

He adds that one must always insist on good quality rubber, vinyl or plastic floor grip mats whose suction cups work well, adding that once you realise that the suction cups do not stick to the floor because of wear, they should immediately be thrown out. Kigundu recommends rubber anti-slip mats instead of vinyl and plastic.

Replace bathtub

Kigundu notes that bathtubs are some of the more dangerous fixtures in the bathroom when it comes to slip accidents.

“Many of my clients often ask me to remove the tub after close calls, but I always assure them that with a safety strategy, they will be safe. The safety measures include installing anti-slip floor covering and grab bars,” Kigundu says.

He recommends replacing the standard tub with a walk-in tub. Designed with a low step-in for easier access, walk-in tubs allow one to still be immersed in the water. They have a water-tight door for easy entrance‚ and are available in sizes that would fit in any bathroom. They often come with a built-in seat, making them suitable for people with reduced mobility.

Grip bars

While grip bars are usually installed in bathrooms of people with disabilities or senior citizens, Kigundu stresses that grip bars will make any bathroom safer for all ages and abilities.

“The problem with wet bathrooms is that one has nowhere to grip to stop the falling. I am sure many try to hold onto the walls when they realise they are slipping only to meet more tiles with soapy hands,” he says.

Grip bar do not just stop the fall, they prevent it because what causes slipping is movement. Once grip bars are in place, one can hold onto them when moving in and out of the shower. He urges homeowners who feel they are not as agile as they used to be to get grip bars as a great option for when the floor is particularly slippery. While they do not make the floor less slippery at all, grip rails keep users safe by providing support.

Replace old tiles

The older the tiles, the more slippery they are likely to be. Kigundu notes that the heavy traffic that bathrooms endure daily causes tiles to become smoother with time. All tiles tend towards smoothness with age and replacing them with new ones is prudent.

“Choosing tiles with a particularly rough surface is the goal. There are anti-slip tiles on the market that have better underfoot grip. Some people tend to be reluctant to change old tiles simply because they still appear to be perfectly fine. This is where the problem comes in,” he says.

Kigundu says many homeowners who ask for a change of tiles give slip-prevention as the reason. Only a few are changing tiles for a change in decor.

Install a shower seat

Kigundu advises homeowners to add a shower seat as a safety measure. This can either be a stool or a chair that has been specially made for the shower. Kigundu says a seat reduces the risk of fatally falling.

“Shower chairs give the bather comfort and stability to bathe with confidence because you will be able to maintain your balance with ease while seated,” he says.

Proper drainage

Better drainage means less soapy water flooding the bathroom floor while you shower. A proper drainage system is the type that does not get blocked often, and whose slant angle was done right. Kigundu advises that flooding bathrooms must be rectified as soon as possible to prevent slips

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