Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Compliance for your Restroom

Centerpull Towel DispenserProper placement of your paper towel and toilet paper dispensers doesn’t only make your business’s restroom look nice, it’s the law. The Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA requires businesses to make public places, including restrooms, easily accessible for all users. The ADA dictates the types of dispensers businesses can use to meet these standards and their placement in the restroom.

Here are the basic requirements dispensers must meet in order to comply with the ADA (you can find more details at

Tissue Dispensers
Dispensers shall not be of a type that controls delivery or that does not allow continuous paper flow.

Towel & Tissue Dispensers
Operable parts shall be operable with one hand and shall not require tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist. The force required to activate operable parts shall be 5 pounds (22.2 N) maximum.

There are some dispensers on the market that do not meet those standards, so it’s important to check before you install them.

All of Century Products LLC’s dispensers are ADA Compliant, provided they are installed using the ADA’s guidelines.

Tissue Dispensers
Tissue or toilet paper dispensers must be mounted using the following two measurements:

  • The distance from the toilet to the center line of the dispenser:
    1.         Must be 7”-9” from the front of the toilet.
  • The distance from the finished floor to the output of the dispenser:
    1.         Option 1: Below the grab bar – Must be a minimum 15 from the floor to the output of the dispenser
    2.         Option 2: Above the grab bar – Must be a maximum 48” from the floor to the output of the dispenser

ADA Compliance Sketch*Dispensers should never be mounted behind the grab bar, as that makes them difficult to access.

Towel Dispensers
Towel dispensers require only one measurement to meet ADA compliance:

  • The distance from the finished floor to the controls of the dispenser.
    1.        Option 1: Above an obstruction – such as a sink or lavatory 46” maximum distance from the finished floor to the dispenser controls
    2.        Option 2: No obstruction – 48” maximum distance from the finished floor to the dispenser controls

ada compliance paper towelsIn addition to their website,, the US Department of Justice provides a toll-free phone number to answer your questions about ADA compliance. It’s also a great resource for other design elements including restroom stalls and sinks.

ADA specialists are available Monday through Friday from 9:30 AM until 5:30 PM (Eastern time) except on Thursday when the hours are 12:30 PM until 5:30 PM.

Spanish language service is also available.

For general ADA information, answers to specific technical questions, free ADA materials, or information about filing a complaint, call:
800 – 514 – 0301 (voice)
800 – 514 – 0383 (TTY)


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