Design Standards

Requirements for ADA Compliant Dining Tables

ADA Compliant Dining Table Requirements

ADA-compliant Dining tables are a legal requirement for certain public spaces and facilities in the United States. Meeting these standards helps ensure that people with disabilities can access and use tables and other amenities independently and safely. Specific requirements may vary depending on the type of facility and its intended use. Organizations and businesses should consult with ADA guidelines and local building codes to ensure full compliance.

To be ADA compliant, a table must adhere to specific guidelines to ensure it is accessible to individuals with disabilities, particularly those who use wheelchairs or have mobility impairments. Some key considerations for an ADA-compliant table include the following:

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ADA Compliant Dining Table Height

ADA Compliant Table Height. 28" min - 34" Max

The tabletop surface height should not be lower than 28 inches or above 34 inches; this will accommodate a range of users. The table should have a minimum clearance of 27 inches under the table surface to accommodate wheelchairs.

ADA Compliant Knee Clearance For Dining Tables

ADA Compliant Table with knee clearance

In addition to having 27″ of knee clearance between the floor and the bottom edge of the apron, there should be a minimum 30″ clear floor space between table legs to allow a wheelchair to turn into the table.  A clear floor area of 30″ by 48″ is needed in each seating area to allow the wheelchair to maneuver in and out of the table.

There also needs to be a minimum of 19″ clearance from the edge of the table to any obstruction, like a wall or table trestle, to allow a wheelchair to fully pull up to the table without hitting the knees or chair footrest/wheels.

Navigating to the table, there should be a clear path. The path should be a minimum of 36″ in width, ensuring that individuals with disabilities can approach and use the table without obstacles. (There are other requirements to clear paths not discussed in this article, such as minimum door width and 360° turns.  Consult the ADA Standards for accessible routes for more information.) Once at the table, there should be sufficient clear floor space around the table to allow for maneuvering and turning of wheelchairs.

Braille and Tactile Signage: If the table is located in a public facility, such as a restaurant or government building, it may be required to have Braille and tactile signage to assist individuals with visual impairments in locating the table.

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Additional ADA Dining Table Requirements

  • Edge Clearance: The edge of the table should not have any obstacles, sharp edges, or protrusions that could pose a hazard to individuals with disabilities.
  • Surface Finish: The table surface should be smooth and free of any sharp corners, splinters, or rough edges that could cause injury or discomfort.
  • Reach Range: The ADA guidelines specify a maximum reach height of 48 inches (1220 mm) and a maximum reach depth of 20 inches (510 mm) for individuals in wheelchairs. This ensures that items mounted on walls and other such installations are within reach.
  • Seating: ADA-compliant tables should have adequate space for wheelchair users to comfortably position themselves at the table. This may involve providing wheelchair-accessible seating spaces. A clear floor area of 30″ by 48″ is needed in each seating area.
  • Minimum number of ADA Tables: If tables are provided, such as in restaurants or snack bars, and the tables are attached to the wall or floor (fixed), then 5% of the tables or at least one (if less than 20 are provided) must be accessible if doing so is readily achievable. Accessible seating must be provided, if doing so is readily achievable, at each accessible table to accommodate people using wheelchairs. Movable chairs can be used for these tables, and the movable chairs can be removed when customers using wheelchairs use the table(s).

This blog post is intended as a guide to understanding ADA-accessible dining tables.  If you are designing a public space that needs to be ADA-compliant, it is recommended to review the ADA Standards for Accessible Design.

I’m the owner of Benham Design Concepts, a mixed media art studio where I design and build custom furniture and other works of art using wood, glass, stone, and various metals.
In this blog, I talk about the art I create, my journey, and the things I learn along the way.