Shower redesign makes it wheelchair compatible
Project was donated by local contractors
By Gloria Young Home & Garden
Contractors Alex Arriaga and Noland Williams headed a volunteer project to remove the old fixtures and create a new tiled shower that allows easy wheelchair access.
When the economy slowed work for a couple of local contractors, they decided to use their extra time to give back to the community.
So Alex Arriaga, owner of Shane Alexander Custom Tile & Stone Inc. in Loomis, and Noland Williams of Roseville Remodeling Construction took on a project for a Roseville couple who needed a handicap-accessible shower.
“We had done an ADA shower for a couple in Sun City in Lincoln,” Williams said. “We saw the benefits of it to the people. They were able to stay in their home instead of going to assisted living. That really struck a chord with Alex and me.”
After some searching, Williams chose Dick and Charlie Ricci, Roseville residents who attend his church.
The couple’s bathtub presented a serious danger of slipping and falling for Dick Ricci, who uses a wheelchair, Williams said.
“We met with them over the summer,” Arriaga said. “We did a lot of planning. This is their home so we had to make sure we had all our ducks in a row, to minimize the inconvenience to them.”
Part of the planning was choosing tile and obtaining the necessary permits.
“When we were ready (for the construction), it fell like dominos. It took only a week,” Arriaga said.
First they tore out all the old bathroom fixtures. Then they had to jackhammer out the old concrete flooring.
“We had to dig down to the subgrade because the shower pan must be flush to the floor,” Williams explained.
Once the demolition was completed and concrete poured, it was time to install new drywall and plumbing.
Subcontractors Steven Heuser and Travis Maytanes of A&A Drywall Company, Adrian Nistor of Roman Plumbing and Randy Rogers of Specialized Shower Door and Mirror donated their time and materials.
For the tile, the Riccis chose marrone chiaro 10-by-14 inch on the walls and 2-by-2 inch on the shower floor with matching 12-by-12 inch on the bathroom floor.
“This is a very rich tile at an affordable cost,” said Arriaga, who handled the tile installation.
Grab bars and an adjustable slide shower head with a flexible 6-foot hose were the finishing touches.
“So he has all the options,” Williams said.
The final step was painting the walls and installing a new shower door. There’s no curb, so Ricci can roll into the shower in his wheelchair.
The Riccis are thrilled with the results.
“We were speechless when Noland Williams, a man we didn’t even know, came up to us after our church service and extended his amazing offer to install a handicap shower in our home,” Dick Ricci said in an e-mail.
Ricci has suffered chronic back pain for many years due to a car accident in 1957. And he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s about nine years ago.
“I am currently scheduled for major spinal surgery. My body is so weak that I have fallen in the bathtub on occasion, and have serious problems getting out of it,” he said. “Because of this new shower, I can remain at home instead of being in a nursing home and that is a desire most elderly people share. Thank God for this huge blessing.”
His wife, Charlie, is thankful, too.
“The handicap shower has allowed the problem of bathing to become an easy and pleasant task, instead of always worrying about a possible fall and more injury,” she said. “The project itself has been a joy of meeting each one of these professional young men who have all been so nice to us while working here, and took care of everything from worrying about how the noise would affect us to cleaning up everything each night to be sure nothing would be in the way for Dick to trip on. It all went so smoothly.”
Williams estimated the cost of the donated project would have run $10,000 to $12,000.
In fact, the project went so well, the entire group of contractors who worked it has decided to make it an annual project.
“We typically go into homes and beautify them,” Arriaga said. “But this makes much more of an impact on someone’s life.”
Gloria Young can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org