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Understanding ADA Regulations


Understanding ADA Regulations

Understanding ADA regulations

Any owner or manager of a business should take a few minutes to learn the reasoning behind — and the requirements of — the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Understanding ADA signage regulations will help your company comply with the rules and avoid costly fines for noncompliance. Of course, you also may discover just how easy it is to adhere to ADA guidelines when working in partnership with an experienced signage resource.


The American with Disabilities Act explained

The ADA regulates signage to help ensure that Americans with disabilities can access and navigate public buildings. For optimal readability, ADA signage regulations require that signs have high-contrast, tactile letters, and braille.

What exactly are the ADA requirements for small businesses, organizations, and others? While there are a few exceptions, almost all stores, restaurants, malls and stadiums, as well as government buildings and other public spaces, must adhere to ADA signage guidelines.

Specifically, what should you and your signage provider be on the lookout for when asking yourself, “Is my business ADA compliant?” Here’s a closer look at ADA business regulations, including ADA handicap parking regulations.

  • Braille and tactile characters: On room signs, ADA guidelines require that characters be raised by 1/32 inch (0.8 mm). Signs should also feature Grade II Braille that’s rounded. Flat and square-cornered Braille is not allowed. On overhead or directional ADA signage, raised text and Braille are not required.
  • Contrast and signage finish: Per ADA signage regulations, high contrast is a must between background and character colors. Your ADA-compliant signs should feature dark characters on a light background or light characters on a dark background. A non-glare finish is also required.
  • ADA signage typestyles: All sign characters must appear in a simple, sans serif typestyle to be ADA-code compliant.
  • Character case and height: For signs in permanent rooms, ADA requirements state that characters must all be in upper case and adhere to a strict height/width ratio. For overhead mounts and flag mounts as well as directional signs, upper- and lower-case characters can be used. On overhead and flag mounts, two inches is the minimum character size. With directional signage, the character height should be scaled to the viewing distance.
  • Use of pictograms: Pictograms are international symbols required for ADA telephone, restroom and no-smoking signs. They should also feature a written description below the symbol. According to ADA guidelines, office signs and room numbers do not require pictograms.
  • Sign positioning: ADA regulations for businesses also cover where you’ll mount your signs. One example? For rooms with one door, the ADA sign should be on the side with the latch. Another example? On double doors, the ADA room identification sign must be to the right of the right-hand door.
  • Mounting heights: Adhering to sign mounting regulations is one of your final considerations in assuring ADA compliance. Directory signs should be mounted a minimum of 27 inches from the floor, but no more than 80 inches at the top. Overhead signs must have an 80inch clearance from the bottom of the sign to the floor. Of course, standards may change depending on the application.
  • Handicap parking: The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that most public buildings offer ample accessibility options for the disabled. ADA signs marking the designated parking spaces should feature the familiar international symbol of accessibility. It shows a person using a wheelchair over a blue background. 

See the pros at Signs Now for help with ADA signs for your business,

“Is my business ADA compliant?” Find out with an expert site assessment courtesy of Signs Now . If a deficiency is identified, we’ll be right there to discuss solutions. We have a wide array of Regulatory, Wayfinding, & ADA Compliant Signs for all applications and budgets. We invite you to learn more about what Signs Now can do for you. To get started, contact us today.