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

Studies have shown that the bathroom is the most dangerous room in a home. The most dangerous activities for all ages are bathing, showering and getting out of the tub or shower. On May 4, for example, social media was flooded with tributes to one Patrick Kateihwaho, who 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 are just some of the many cases that occur frequently.

Plumber Yasiin Kigundu says bathroom safety is a major concern for most of his clients and most of the remodels he has done have included installing non-slip materials in the bathrooms.

“Many people are afraid of slipping in the bathroom and hire me to make their bathrooms safer,” says Kigundu.

According to Kigundu, the cheapest and easiest way to make a bathroom less slippery is to install a non-slip floor mat. He says these are widely available in most supermarkets and make a big difference.

“There are many factors that make bathrooms slippery. Soap suds are a major factor, and the slipperiness and hardness of tiled surfaces are another. In my experience, most people forget to protect their bathrooms from slip hazards until they either fall or hear of someone who has died from a bathroom fall. Anti-slip mats are a great temporary solution,” he says.

He adds that you should always insist on good quality rubber, vinyl or plastic floor mats with suction cups that work well. As soon as you notice that the suction cups no longer stick to the floor due to wear and tear, you should throw them away immediately. Kigundu recommends rubber non-slip mats instead of vinyl and plastic.

Kigundu points out that bathtubs are one of the more dangerous bathroom fixtures when slipping accidents occur.

“Many of my customers often ask me to remove the tub when they are running low. However, I always assure them that they will be on the safe side with a security strategy. Safety measures include installing anti-slip flooring and grab bars,” says Kigundu.

He recommends replacing the standard tub with a walk-in bathtub. Walk-in bathtubs are designed with a low entry for easier access while still allowing you to stay in the water. They have a watertight door for easy entry and come in sizes to fit any bathroom. They often have a built-in seat, making them suitable for people with limited mobility.

While grab bars are typically installed in bathrooms of people with disabilities or seniors, Kigundu emphasizes that grab bars make any bathroom safer for all ages and abilities.

“The problem with wet bathrooms is that there is nowhere to hold onto to stop yourself from falling. I'm sure many people try to grab onto the walls when they feel themselves slipping, only to end up hitting more tiles with soapy hands,” he says.

Grab bars not only prevent falls, but prevent them because the cause of slipping is movement. Once the grab bars are in place, you can hold on to them when getting in and out of the shower. He recommends grab bars as a great option for particularly slippery floors for homeowners who feel like they don't have as much mobility as they once did. Although they do not make the floor less slippery, grab bars provide users with safety by providing support.

The older the tiles, the more slippery they are likely to be. Kigundu points out that due to the heavy use that bathrooms receive on a daily basis, tiles become smoother over time. All tiles become smoother over time and it is advisable to replace them with new ones.

“The aim is to choose tiles with a particularly rough surface. There are non-slip tiles on the market that provide better grip underfoot. Some people tend to be reluctant to replace old tiles because they still seem to be in perfect working order. This is where the problem comes in,” he says.

According to Kigundu, many homeowners who want to change tiles cite slip resistance as a reason. Few replace tiles to change the decor.

Kigundu advises homeowners to install a shower seat as a safety measure. This can be either a stool or a chair made specifically for the shower. According to Kigundu, a seat reduces the risk of fatal falls.

“Shower chairs provide comfort and stability to the bather, allowing them to bathe with confidence because they can effortlessly maintain their balance while sitting,” he says.

Better drainage means less soapy water flooding the bathroom floor when you shower. A proper drainage system is such that it does not become clogged often and its angle of inclination is chosen correctly. Kigundu points out that flooded bathrooms need to be addressed as soon as possible to prevent slips.

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