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Bringing Buildings Up to Code: Renovation Best Practices for Better Accessibility

19th Jan 2024

As facilities age, upgrades become necessary to accommodate evolving standards of safety, comfort, and inclusive design. For building owners and managers, fulfilling key obligations around accessibility regulations guides renovation strategies supporting persons with disabilities. This comprehensive guide explores compliance best practices enhancing universal usability through code-based renovations.


Understanding Triggering Obligations


Accessibility commitments arise in various scenarios, like substantial alterations affecting usability/structural integrity. Regulations relate to:


  • Additions increasing building area/valuation by set thresholds (often 30-50% original value).

  • Restorations changing facility use/occupancy type as per building/fire codes.

  • Maintenance/renovation scopes exceeding valuation (often 25% original facility value).

  • Building code upgrades necessitated by major HVAC/plumbing/electrical system overhauls.


Obligations generally apply singularly per project element rather than across entire facilities. Combining projects raises compliance responsibilities, amalgamating individual scopes. Seeking expert guidance prevents non-compliant, piecemeal work.


Undertaking Accessibility Audits


Pre-renovation accessibility audits identify non-conforming elements advising remedial scopes. Auditors inspect elements like:


  • Paths of travel integrity/dimensional compliance as per ADAAG and AODA standards.

  • Doorway widths/maneuvering clearances enabling mobility access.

  • Seating layouts/lines-of-sight per disability design criteria.

  • Signage placements/visual contrast meeting universal understandability.

  • Tactile indicators condition/position informing hazards as outlined in CSA B651 specifications.


Audit reports guide renovation statements of work, prioritizing upgrades and delivering safe, dignified access according to occupants' needs and rights. Integrated tactile solutions meet obligations.


Prioritizing Elements for Upgrades


When phasing renovations, prioritize:


  • Primary building access points ensure barrier-free entry.

  • Vertical circulation including ramps, stairs, lifts, call-buttons and wayfinding.

  • Sanitary rooms bringing plumbing fixtures, amenities and clearances up to accessibility standards.

  • Seating/amenity spaces laying out furniture and equipment layouts accommodating disabilities.

  • Signage comprehensibly directing movement through standardized formats.

  • Tactile warning systems installing compliant domes/bars as hazards/decision-points according to regulations and CSA B651 technical specifications.


Incrementally address high-traffic, program-critical element types, delivering access outcomes through temporary adjustments where needed, partner for code-compliant alterations, and support all occupants.


Selecting Compliant Products


Facility managers rely on expert accessibility resources like Tactile Solution Canada to guide tactile surface selections adhering to codes and specifications. Considerations include:


  • Material suitability for installation methods and environment/traffic levels.

  • Dimensional compliance with ADAAG, AODA, NBC regulations, and international standards.

  • Slip/wear resistance engineered for long-term safety even when degraded.

  • Vandal/weather resistance upholding sustained detectability over facility lifespan.

  • Color/visual contrast meeting guidelines for effective wayfinding by those with low vision.

  • Warranties and lifecycle cost-effectiveness compared to mid/long-term benefits of access.

  • Aesthetics integrating seamlessly into architectural elements without compromising functionality.


Specialized product knowledge integrates ideal solutions aligned to each unique facility context and users' complex profiles. Strategic selections expedite code compliance.


Incorporating Best Practices in Installations


Certified accessibility installation teams execute renovations through practices like:


  • Surface preparations ensuring substrate suitability and long-term bonding for permanent installations.

  • Layout templating guaranteeing precise pattern/dimensional compliance according to facility type prior to installations.

  • Fastener/anchor selections based on material types, substrate conditions and expected environmental/traffic exposures.

  • Tactile/visual contrast testing confirming adequate differentiability between finished surfaces and surroundings.

  • Inspection verification ensuring installed features meet applicable regulations to CSA B651 standards.

  • Documentation archiving proving inspections delivering compliance assurances during future auditing/lifecycle replacements.


Strategic teams sustain accessible designs in harmony with architecture, avoiding compromises to aesthetics or structural integrity.


Prioritizing Communication


Accessibility projects benefit enormously from transparent, multi-stakeholder communication, including:


  • Coordinated change management to minimize disruptions.

  • Notice distribution thoroughly informing occupants and users of ongoing alternations.

  • Adjustment provisions like shuttle services, alternate accessible paths of travel.

  • Input collection capturing user feedback enhancing compliance outcomes respecting lived experiences.

  • Education augmenting universal understandability around building code basics/regulations.

  • Celebration highlighting successes upholding dignity and participation of persons with disabilities.


Thoughtful engagement fosters inclusive climates, sustaining access achievements through shared ownership of facilities as community resources serving all.


Addressing Common Challenges


Renovation complexities sometimes demand creative solutions. Partnering specialists mitigate issues like:


  • Budget constraints through phased scopes optimized for maximum early impacts.

  • Historic designations balancing preservation/restoration with progressive access appropriately.

  • Small building footprints incorporating versatile, multi-purposed amenity areas.

  • Code conflicts navigating specification variances across regulations/amendments.

  • Temporary disruptions through strategic planning/communication supporting users.

  • Wayfinding navigation aiding independent movement along shortest, clearest routes.


Relying on experienced professionals' problem-solving supports compliance attuned to each facility's uniqueness without comprising access, codes, or architectural integrity.


Maintaining Accessibility Through Stewardship


By thoughtfully managing renovated properties through:


  • Preventative maintenance programs sustaining features to designed lifecycles.

  • Capital plan forecasting/funding promoting prompt element replacement before degradation.

  • Inspections at set intervals validating ongoing conformance for safety assurances.

  • Stakeholder relationships supporting reliance on integrated access through open communication.

  • Education upholding code/facilities understanding transfusing organizational knowledge.

  • Celebration recognizing involvement supporting dignity and self-determination.


Forward-thinking stewardship secures code-compliant access through partnership maximizing buildings' ongoing community value. Sustained accessibility investments multiply social impacts.


Frequently Asked Questions


Q: What if the project triggers major structural work, too?

A: Obligations generally apply to renovated element scopes. Discuss potential staged compliance with authorities.


Q: How do I verify solutions will pass future auditing?

A: Rely on verifiable documentation demonstrating thorough code-guided executions supported by specialists.


Q: What if multiple renovations integrate across the timeline?

A: Obligations amalgamate when combining scopes within set timeframes. Strategize phased compliance according to specialists.


Q: How can older heritage buildings upgrade accessibility?

A: Creative applications of versatile solutions from companies, including Tactile Solution Canada, supporting preservation sensitively incorporating progressive access improvements.


Q: Can obligations be intentionally circumvented?

A: Non-compliance carries significant legal/financial risks. Rely on reputable accessibility resources to expertly navigate regulations to support all facility users and organizational interests.


By partnering with accessibility compliance leaders from planning through stewardship, building owners and managers confidently undertake renovations enhancing universal safety, comfort, and social participation. Integrating best practices pays dividends through enriched, empowered communities. Call us today to discuss more.

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Curb Ramps: The Foundation for Accessible Communities

16th Jan 2024

In public realm design, curb ramps serve a vital yet often overlooked role in fostering accessibility. Providing a smooth transition between the sidewalk and street, proper curb ramp design marks the first step toward creating more navigable, connected, and inclusive communities.


This blog explores the significance of thoughtfully designed curb ramps. We'll cover curb ramp benefits, standards, best practices, common issues, and solutions for constructing accessible, compliant ramps with detectable warnings. Read on for a comprehensive look at how quality curb ramps form the foundation for improved community mobility.


The Importance of Curb Ramps


For pedestrians using mobility devices such as wheelchairs, curb ramps provide the crucial link between the sidewalk and the street. They allow safe passage for those who cannot navigate standard curbs. Without compliant curb ramps, individuals with disabilities face significant barriers traversing the urban landscape.


Well-designed curb ramps also benefit many other groups, including:


  • Seniors with mobility impairments

  • Parents with strollers

  • Delivery workers moving goods

  • Cyclists entering the roadway

  • Pedestrians with temporary injuries


By promoting connectivity between pedestrian and vehicular zones, curb ramps enable people of all ages and abilities to access communities. They also improve walkability and active transportation. Simply put, thoughtfully engineered curb ramps provide significant social, environmental, and economic benefits in our communities.


Curb Ramp Design Standards


Curb ramps must adhere to established design standards and regulations to provide consistent accessible cues. Key codes and guidelines for curb ramps in Canada include:


  • Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)

  • CSA B651-18 - Accessible design for the built environment

  • Ontario Building Code

  • Canadian Standards Association (CSA)

  • Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments (GAATES)

  • National Building Code of Canada


These standards define important curb ramp specifications like:

  • Maximum slopes and cross slopes

  • Minimum clear width

  • Mandatory landings at turns

  • Required handrails and edge protection

  • Detectable warning surface requirements


By consulting relevant codes and working with experienced accessibility specialists, planners can develop optimally compliant and navigable curb ramp designs tailored to specific community needs.


Best Practices for Curb Ramp Design


Universal design principles emphasize the importance of developing holistically accessible and connected pedestrian networks. Here are some best practice strategies for achieving excellent curb ramp design:


  • Provide ramps at all intersections and crossing points

  • Ensure detectable warnings extend the full ramp width

  • Confirm 1:50 max cross slope and 1:12 max running slope

  • Include required 1.2 m x 1.2 m landings at turns

  • Verify adequate top/bottom ramp landings

  • Eliminate uneven transitions or gaps between surfaces

  • Select durable, slip-resistant surface materials

  • Validate ramp components do not impede drainage

  • Facilitate integrated wheelchair access where possible

  • Incorporate suitable handrails for support and guidance

  • Maintain clear sightlines for visibility and safety


Well-planned curb ramp networks create cohesive, intuitive access that promotes confident mobility within communities.


Common Curb Ramp Issues


Despite existing standards, many curb ramps remain non-compliant and difficult to navigate. Some common issues include:


  • Excessive slopes beyond permitted ratios

  • Narrow ramp widths impede maneuverability

  • Lack of integrated bottom/top landings

  • Poor drainage causes water pooling

  • Missing or inadequate detectable warnings

  • Broken/uneven surfaces causing tripping hazards

  • Tight turning radii creating challenges for mobility devices

  • Ramps facing the wrong direction away from crossings


Such deficiencies not only violate code requirements but also create frustrating obstacles limiting access and participation.


The Solution: Accessible Detectable Warning Systems


Quality-detectable warning systems are essential to constructing fully accessible and compliant curb ramps. Also known as truncated domes, these specialized texture systems:


  • Provide a tactile cue detectable underfoot and visually contrasting

  • Alert pedestrians to the transition from sidewalk to street

  • Indicate the boundary between pedestrian and vehicular zones

  • Encourage proper crossing position in line with ramps

  • Meet code requirements for standardized truncated dome size, spacing, and placement


Detectable warnings are a legally required component for accessible curb ramps. However, not all products are created equal. Specifying durable, compliant systems builds long-lasting community access.


Choosing Durable Tactile Warning Solutions


As Canada's top accessibility solutions provider, Tactile Solution Canada supplies superior detectable warning products from leading manufacturers like:


  • Armor Tile® Cast-In-Place Truncated Domes

  • Access Tile® Surface-Applied Truncated Domes

  • Advantage Truncated Dome Tactile Systems

  • Eon® Flexible Rubber Tactile Tiles

  • Elan Tactile Vitrified Porcelain Pavers


Our extensive range of solutions are:


  • Custom fabricated in required sizes

  • Available in multiple high-visibility colors

  • Manufactured from durable metals, polymers, rubber, porcelain

  • Slip resistant for Canadian weather conditions

  • Compliant with CSA B651 and other regulators

  • Eligible for LEED credits as sustainable materials

  • Backed by 5+ year product warranties


With customizable modular systems, we can supply the optimal product tailored to your specific curb ramp specifications and community needs.


Achieve Curb Appeal with Full-Depth Accessibility


Curb ramps are invaluable in connecting communities. Well-engineered detectable warnings complete the access path, allowing people of all abilities to traverse the built environment confidently. With ADA/CSA-compliant systems available in various durable materials and high-visibility colors, specifiers can select optimal solutions to complement the surrounding landscape.


Contact the experts at Tactile Solution Canada today for all your accessible paving needs. Let's work together to create more navigable, vibrant, and inclusive communities across Canada.


Frequently Asked Questions


What are some benefits of well-designed curb ramps?

Curb ramps enable access for wheelchairs while also benefiting seniors, parents, cyclists, and pedestrians with temporary mobility limitations.


What are the main codes and standards for curb ramps in Canada?

The AODA, Ontario Building Code, CSA B651, National Building Code, and GAATES guidelines apply to curb ramps.


Where are detectable warnings required?

Detectable warnings must be integrated along the full width at the bottom of curb ramps where they meet the street.


How can you create accessible, compliant curb ramps?

Follow best practices such as proper slopes, widths, and landings. Specify high-quality detectable warning systems.


Who can you contact for durable, tactile solutions in Canada?

Tactile Solution Canada supplies superior ADA/CSA-compliant tactile warning systems from leading manufacturers.

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Tactile Domes vs Detectable Bars: Knowing the Difference

16th Jan 2024

Tactile walking surface indicators (TWSIs) are a crucial accessibility feature in buildings and public spaces, providing critical textured cues for improved navigation and safety for the visually impaired. Two main types of TWSIs exist—tactile domes and detectable bars—which serve complementary purposes. But what exactly distinguishes these two essential tactile systems?


In this blog post, we’ll explore the key differences between tactile domes and detectable bars to develop a deeper understanding of how these accessible design elements enhance spaces.


Understanding Tactile Domes


Tactile domes, also known as truncated domes or detectable warning pavers, are specialized textured tiles used to indicate potential hazards. These warning indicators feature small, flattened dome bumps in a consistent pattern, alert pedestrians to stop, assess their surroundings, and proceed with caution.


Tactile domes are commonly used at:


  • Transit Platform Edges: Prevent slips and falls at dangerous platform edges

  • Curb Ramps: Mark the transition from sidewalk to street

  • Building Entrances: Indicate change in elevation at thresholds

  • Staircases: Signal upcoming stairs

  • Pedestrian Crossings: Define the crossing point before vehicle routes

  • Escalators: Forewarn of moving staircases


The unique feeling underfoot provides a vital cue—“warning, danger ahead.” In addition to the textural pattern, domes often feature bright contrasting colors like safety yellow for high visibility. Compliant domes are essential for potential fall or impact hazards.


Key Features:


  • Standardized truncated domes in consistent square or radial patterns

  • Installed at platform edges, stairs, curb ramps, and other hazards

  • Bright safety yellow or white for visibility

  • Caution users and mark upcoming dangers


Understanding Detectable Bars


Detectable bars, also called directional bars or guidance bars, are another type of TWSI used to guide pedestrians along pathways and circulation routes. Featuring a series of elongated flat-topped ribs running in the direction of travel, these indicators provide orientation cues for improved accessibility.


Detectable bars are commonly used:


  • Along Pedestrian Walkways - Guide users through open spaces

  • In Transit Stations - Direct passengers to platforms, exits, etc.

  • Public Plazas - Safely lead across expansive open areas

  • Office Lobbies - Direct from entries to key amenities

  • Government Complexes - Guide through labyrinthine spaces


Unlike domes, the linear ribbed texture signals “follow this path.” Bars make navigation intuitive, allowing users to traverse unfamiliar environments independently. They define accessible routes of travel to key destinations.


Key Features:


  • Parallel raised bars running in the direction of travel

  • Installed along designated pedestrian routes

  • Color contrasting, avoid using yellow

  • Provide directional orientation cues


Comparing Tactile Domes and Detectable Bars


While both critically accessible design elements, some key differences between tactile domes vs detectable bars include:



  • Domes caution users about upcoming hazards

  • Bars guide users along proper circulation routes

Typical Configuration:

  • Domes have truncated dome bumps in consistent grid patterns

  • Bars feature parallel raised ribs running directionally


  • Domes at platform edges, stairs, curb ramps, etc.

  • Bars along pedestrian walkways and routes

User Experience:

  • Domes signal “caution” and the need to assess the surroundings

  • Bars enable intuitive wayfinding through spaces

Color Contrast:

  • Domes often safety yellow or white for high visibility

  • Bars use colors contrasting the floor but avoid yellow


While different in purpose and design, tactile domes and detectable bars work together. Pedestrian routes often begin and end with domes that indicate upcoming decision points or hazards. Investing in quality-compliant tactile walking surfaces creates consistently accessible and interpretable cues.


Tactile Design Guidelines and Standards


When employing tactile walking surface indicators in Canada, it’s crucial to comply with all relevant accessibility regulations and building codes. 


These include:

  • Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)

  • CSA B651 - requirements for tactile walking surface indicators

  • Ontario Building Code

  • National Building Code of Canada

Key specifications involve:

  • Material durability and strength

  • Standardized sizes, patterns and layouts

  • High tonal and color contrast

  • Beveled edges for a smooth transition

  • Strategic placement to properly convey meaning


By consulting standards and working with experienced providers, designers can select optimal tactile systems that enhance accessibility and safety.


Choosing the Best Tactile Solutions


As Canada’s premier accessibility solutions provider, Tactile Solution Canada supplies high-quality tactile systems from trusted industry brands:


  • Armor Tile - Cast-in-place and surface-applied polymer composite tactile

  • Access Tile - Replaceable composite tactile tiles

  • Advantage Tile - ADA-compliant tactile indicator tiles (Single domes and bars & plates)

  • Eon – Durable rubber attention and directional tiles

  • Elan - Premium porcelain tactile pavers


Our extensive selection of tactile solutions are:


  • Engineered for strength, durability, and slip resistance

  • Customizable in various colors, sizes, and dome patterns

  • Compliant with all Canadian accessibility standards

  • Backed by 5+ year manufacturer warranties


Let our team of experts recommend the optimal tactile warning systems for your next architectural or landscape project. Contact Tactile Solution Canada today to enhance accessibility, safety, and experience!


Frequently Asked Questions


What are the main types of tactile indicators?

The two main types are detectable warning pavers with truncated domes that caution about hazards and directional bars that guide along accessible routes.


Where are domes vs bars typically used?

Domes are used at stairs, curbs, platforms, etc. Bars are installed along interior circulation paths and exterior walkways.


Can they be used together?

Yes, domes and bars work in tandem. Pedestrian paths often begin/end with warning domes indicating upcoming decision points.


What standards apply to tactile indicators in Canada?

Relevant regulations include the AODA, CSA B651, Ontario Building Code, and National Building Code of Canada.


Who should you contact for compliant tactile solutions?

Tactile Solution Canada is the premier accessibility solutions provider in Canada, offering a wide selection of compliant tactile warning systems.




Tactile domes and detectable bars serve vital complementary purposes in enhancing accessibility. Investing in compliant, durable, tactile walking surface indicators creates consistently interpretable guidance and hazard cues. With creative solutions now available in various materials, colors, sizes and patterns, selecting tactile products tailored to your spatial needs is important. Consult experienced providers at Tactile Solution Canada to specify the optimal systems to make your next space safer and more accessible.

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Advantage One Self-Adhesive Domes & Bars Installation Guide

5th Jan 2024

Ensuring safe access for all citizens has become an imperative for builders and managers across Canada. Tactile walking surface indicators (TWSIs) play a vital role in communicating hazards and wayfinding cues to pedestrians with visual disabilities. Among the most versatile TWSI solutions are self-adhesive domes and bars from Advantage Tactile Systems.


Advantage One domes and bars are fabricated from durable stainless steel with slip-resistant textures for indoor and outdoor applications. Their self-adhesive backing enables swift installations on level concrete or tile/stone flooring without drilling. This makes them ideal for retrofitting existing structures or temporarily marking hazards during construction/renovation work.


Overview of Advantage One Self-Adhesive Tactile Solutions


Advantage One truncated dome and directional bars from Advantage Tactile Systems provide robust stainless steel tactile warning systems that can self-adhere onto existing concrete or asphalt.


These domes and bars feature integral anti-slip textures and are engineered to withstand extremely heavy foot traffic. The self-adhesive backing creates a tenacious yet replaceable bond with the substrate, facilitating straightforward installation.


Preferred Applications


Advantage One domes and bars find wide use in settings requiring periodic access route modifications:


  • Construction sites: Mark underground utilities and designate pedestrian separations.

  • Retrofit projects: Refresh faded indicators without disruptions from drilling/adhesives.

  • Office floors: Cordon off temporarily carpeted areas or hazardous spills quickly.

  • Institutional facilities: Securely indicate accessible washrooms/amenities at events.

  • Streets/plazas: Direct temporary pedestrians safely around closures or work zones.

  • Transit stations: Guide through platform gap areas or ongoing renovations.

  • Parks and trails: Mark day-use pathways or special events to avoid substrate damage.

  • Shopping malls: Cue entrance/exit points during renovations without surface scarring.


With growing accessibility demands, self-adhesive Advantage One dome and bars provide a swift yet code-compliant solution for safely accommodating access requirements.


Simple Pedestrian-Friendly Installation


Advantage One products ship pre-cut and ready for application right out of the box. Certified accessibility installers first layout site templates to delineate placement zones. They then peel protective liners to expose self-adhesive backing on individual domes and bars.


Installation is swift and non-intrusive. Domes and bars are firmly pressed onto the marked substrate with gentle hand pressure. No drilling, layout marking, or mess is involved, minimizing disruptions to pedestrian routes. The tough fiberglass-reinforced backing tenaciously bonds to surfaces on contact.


For enhanced adhesion or on uneven porous floors, a small bead of construction-grade adhesive can be applied underneath indicators. But in most applications, the durable self-adhesive coating alone provides years of reliable bonding. Immediate access is allowed after placement, with no curing downtime required.


Surface Preparation


Proper surface preparation is vital before installing Advantage One self-adhesive tactile. Key steps include:


  • The substrate must be clean, dry, and free of oil, grease, dust, curing compounds, loose particles, and projections. Allow fresh concrete to cure for 30 days minimum.

  • On existing surfaces like old concrete, use pressure washing and detergents to thoroughly clean grime. Rinse and allow to dry completely.

  • Any surface irregularities should be patched for a smooth finish. Cracks or joints wider than 1/4 inch must have a sealant filler applied.

  • The installation area must be inspected just before applying tactile to ensure suitability.


These measures allow the self-adhesive tiles to form a tenacious, long-lasting bond with the substrate.


Installing Advantage One Self-Adhesive Tactile Domes


Follow step-by-step procedures to install the self-adhesive truncated domes properly:


  • Position Template and Mark Layout: Place the manufacturer-supplied dome template in the desired location and orientation. Tape securely. Use a permanent marker to outline the dome profile per the specified spacing/grid pattern on the substrate.

  • Thoroughly Clean Surface: Sweep and wipe inside the marked area to clear dust or debris. Prepare a clean surface for the adhesive to bond effectively.

  • Apply Domes: Peel off the dome's release liner to expose the adhesive. Firmly press the dome into place by hand or with a rubber mallet, applying even pressure on the top flat surface. Apply adequate pressure for 10 seconds until the adhesive makes full contact with the substrate.

  • Repeat for Other Domes: Follow steps 2-3 to apply all domes as per the marked layout. Ensure proper alignment between domes.

  • Roll Entire Area: Once all domes are affixed, roll over the entire installation area with a hand roller or weighted floor roller to ensure strong, consistent adhesion across the system.

  • Avoid Traffic for Cure Time: Prevent foot traffic over the installed domes and allow the adhesive to cure adequately as per manufacturer instructions, generally 24 hours at 70°F.


Advantage One self-adhesive domes are now installed and ready to provide critical hazard warnings and navigation cues to pedestrians.


Installing Advantage One Self-Adhesive Directional Bars


Follow similar procedures to install self-adhesive directional bars properly:


  • Mark Layout: Place the directional bar template and tape securely. Use a marker to outline the desired pathway orientation for the bars to guide pedestrian travel.

  • Clean Mounting Surface: Sweep and wipe the marked area to remove any dust or debris for clean adhesion.

  • Apply Bars: Peel off the release liner on the self-adhesive bar. Press the bar firmly into place along the marked path outline. Use even hand/mallet pressure for strong adhesion.

  • Roll Entire Area: After affixing all bars, roll the complete installation area with a hand roller or weighted roller for uniform adhesion.

  • Let Adhesive Cure: Avoid foot traffic over the bars for the recommended adhesive cure time per the manufacturer, generally 24 hours at 70°F or above.


The directional bars can now provide reliable wayfinding guidance once fully cured.


Safety Guidelines


Ensure proper safety protocols during Advantage One tactile installation:


  • Wear cut-resistant gloves when handling metal domes or bars to avoid sharp edge cuts.

  • Use safety goggles, boots, hard hats, and high visibility vests as per site regulations.

  • Follow all applicable government and industry standards for workplace safety.

  • Install tactile only after surface preparation steps are complete to avoid slips or falls.


By following safety guidelines, the risks of potential injuries can be minimized for installers.


Maintenance Best Practices


Advantage One truncated domes and directional bars are engineered for extreme durability with minimal maintenance needs. However, follow these practices:


  • Avoid painting or coating the products, as it reduces slip resistance.

  • Inspect annually and replace damaged pieces to sustain compliance.

  • Clear leaves, debris, and dirt promptly to maintain visibility.

  • Use clean tactile using non-abrasive brushes and avoid corrosive degreasers.

  • Remove snow carefully without damaging metal.


Proper installation and care ensure Advantage One tactile warning systems maintain compliance and effectively promote accessibility over decades of use.




Installing Advantage One truncated domes and directional bars properly is key to enabling years of optimal performance and safety benefits compliant with ADA/CSA standards. By following recommended surface preparation, step-by-step installation, safety guidelines, and maintenance best practices, you can actualize the full potential of these robust tactile solutions. Contact the experts at Tactile Solution Canada now for any product or installation support needed for your next public realm project.

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Advantage One Drilled Vs. Self-adhesive Domes & Bars: Which Option is Right for Your Needs

5th Jan 2024

When upgrading accessibility in buildings across Canada, specifying the ideal detectable warning tactile solution is crucial. Advantage Tactile Systems' Advantage One Domes and Bars offer industry-leading durability through stainless steel construction. They are available in drilled-to-the-floor and self-adhesive formats - so which installation method suits different project needs best? Read out to know...

Drilled-to-the-Floor Domes and Bars


Advantage One drilled-to-the-floor tactile indicators are mounted by drilling holes into the walking surface substrate and fastening the domes or bars securely with anchor sleeves using the manufacturer’s recommended construction-grade adhesives. Some of the key features of this installation method include:


Maximum Durability: 


Drilling and setting the domes/bars into the substrate creates an incredibly strong bond that can withstand heavy foot traffic loads. The stainless steel construction also makes these tactile solutions highly durable against weathering effects. The drilled installation has proven long-term success, standing up to heavy use in the busiest public settings.


Ideal for Problematic Substrates: 


Drilled domes and bars work excellently on substrates that may present challenges for adhesive mounting, such as exterior concrete, rough finishes, pavers, tile, terrazzo, metal, etc. The mechanical anchoring provides reliable tactile feedback on uneven or porous surfaces where adhesive solutions can fail.


Easy Replaceability: 


The drilled fastening system allows convenient replacement of individual domes or bars damaged due to vandalism or wear-and-tear. Damaged units can be unfastened easily and replaced without having to remove the surrounding surface finish.


Versatile Application: 


Drilled tactile indicators can be installed on any structurally sound substrate, including concrete, stone, tile, steel, terrazzo, wood, etc. Their extensive substrate versatility makes them an ideal choice for both indoor and outdoor settings.


Conforms to ADA Guidelines: 


Advantage One meets the dome/bar diameter, height, and spacing requirements per ADA Accessibility Guidelines. The durable texture and high-contrast stainless steel material provide optimal tactile distinction from surrounding surfaces.


Custom Sizing Available: 


Along with standard 24" bars and inline dome patterns, custom lengths and layouts can be fabricated as per your unique accessibility requirements.


Self-Adhesive Domes and Bars


As an alternative to drilling, Advantage One domes and bars can also be installed using the self-adhesive method. This involves applying a strong bonding adhesive pad pre-attached to the underside of each dome or bar. Some key aspects of self-adhesive tactile solutions include:


Faster, Simpler Installation:


The self-adhesive pads stick to the substrate instantly, eliminating the need for drilling holes. This allows much quicker installation compared to drilling each unit individually. The simplicity also reduces specialized labor requirements.


Minimal Substrate Impact: 


Since adhesive domes/bars do not penetrate the substrate, they leave the walking surface undamaged. The non-invasive mounting is ideal for decorative surfaces like stone, tile, stamped/stained concrete, or landscaping where drilling holes may be prohibited.


Cost-Effective Option: 


While drilled tactile indicators often have a lower per-piece cost, the additional time and labor for drilling can add expenses for large installations. Self-adhesive tactile with rapid “peel-and-stick” application offers a cost-effective alternative by reducing installation man-hours.


Easy Layout Adjustments: 


The self-adhesive pads allow removing and relocating individual domes/bars easily to modify layouts or replace damaged units. Drilled tactiles are permanently fixed to the substrate, limiting layout flexibility.


Limited Durability on Certain Surfaces: 


Adhesive mounting is not as strong or durable as drilled anchors on high-load substrates like poured concrete. The adhesive bond may deteriorate on exterior applications due to moisture, temperature fluctuations, substrate inconsistencies, etc. Lifespans average 5-10 years based on substrate conditions.


Not Ideal for Heavy-Traffic Areas: 


While suitable for moderate foot traffic, self-adhesive tactile indicators are not recommended for areas with very high usage, like transit platforms. The shearing forces caused by heavy repetitive foot traffic can loosen the adhesive over time.


Substrate Limitations: 


The adhesive pads do not work well on uneven, textured, dusty, or porous substrates. Smooth, clean, and non-porous surfaces like tile, metals, or laminates provide the most reliable bond. Outdoor concrete requires proper curing/sealing for adhesive mounting.

How to Choose Between Drilled vs Self-Adhesive Tactile Indicators?


Traffic Frequency/Volume: 


For high foot-traffic zones like transit platforms, building entries, or sidewalks, drilled domes/bars are strongly recommended. Their superior durability stands up to the most punishing loads. Low to moderate-traffic pedestrian settings like offices, stores, and lobbies can utilize self-adhesive tactile.


Substrate Type and Condition: 


Drilled domes/bars are better suited for outdoor concrete, rougher finishes, uneven substrates, or surfaces prone to moisture issues. Self-adhesive works best on smooth, non-porous materials like tile, terrazzo, and metal, where they achieve maximum adhesive bonding strength.


Installation Convenience: 


Projects needing rapid installation favor self-adhesive for their quick “peel-and-stick” application, reducing labor time. Multi-story buildings or large campuses with many tactile installations make drilling-in each piece tedious and better suit adhesive mounting.


Location Accessibility: 


Areas where drilling equipment access is difficult or limited due to space constraints often utilize self-adhesive to simplify installation. Drilled domes/bars work better in openly accessible ground-level exterior settings.


Surface Aesthetics: 


Decorative walking surfaces where drilling holes are prohibited, like stamped concrete, stone finishes, etc., require self-adhesive domes/bars for non-invasive installation. Plain gray concrete can utilize drilled anchoring without affecting appearances.


Lifespan Considerations: 


For long-term applications like building entries or transit platforms, drilled tactile provides exceptional longevity of 20+ years. Shorter-term needs of 5-10 years in lower traffic settings can use self-adhesive. Their eventual replacement is relatively convenient if required.


Budget Constraints: 


Although material costs are lower for drilled domes/bars, self-adhesive tiles can be more economical for large installations when factoring in the reduced labor time. Tight project budgets may benefit from adhesive mounting's cost advantage..


Considering these factors carefully will ensure you choose the ideal tactile solution for your specific requirements. The experienced team at Tactile Solution Canada can also provide personalized guidance on selecting the best product and installation options for your application.


Frequently Asked Questions


Q: Are drilled or self-adhesive tactile indicators easier to install?


A: Self-adhesive tactiles are simpler to install, requiring just peel and stick application. Drilled tactile involves drilling into the substrate and fastening each piece, so the installation process takes longer.


Q: How long do self-adhesive domes and bars typically last?


A: On ideal interior substrates, you can expect 5-10 years of longevity. Exterior performance is reduced due to weathering factors. High-traffic areas also require more frequent replacement.


Q: What are the main advantages of drilled tactile indicators?


A: Maximum durability and longevity, suitability for heavy-duty and outdoor settings, reliable installation on any substrate, replaceable units, and conformance to ADA standards.


Q: How do I determine if existing tactile indicators need replacement?


A: Replace loose, damaged, missing, or excessively worn domes/bars. Also, upgrade old non-compliant indicators that do not meet current ADAAG standards.

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How Color Contrast Impacts the Visually Impaired Individuals

29th Dec 2023

For those with visual disabilities, high color contrast is indispensable for distinguishing important objects and navigational cues within environments. Insufficient tonal contrast between surfaces poses challenges. As Canada's leading tactile solutions provider, we examine how color contrast affects visually impaired users and why proper contrast should be prioritized in accessibility planning.


Understanding Visual Disabilities


Roughly 1.5 million Canadians live with some degree of vision loss ranging from mild blurriness to total blindness. Visual impairment stems from diseases, age-related decline, or congenital conditions. It encompasses:


  • Low vision: Reduced vision that cannot be corrected fully with lenses or surgery. Acuity is 20/70 or worse.

  • Color blindness: Inability to distinguish certain colors. The most common is red-green color blindness.

  • Cataracts: Clouding over the eye's lens, causing blurriness and fading. Common in senior citizens.

  • Diabetic retinopathy: Damage to the retina's blood vessels triggered by diabetes, which induces blurriness.

  • Glaucoma: Peripheral vision loss when the optic nerve becomes damaged from fluid pressure buildup in the eye.

  • Macular degeneration: Gradual erosion of the central retinal area impairing detail perception. Highly age-related.


Even mild visual deficits create challenges in judging distance, seeing trip hazards, reading signage, avoiding obstacles, and more. Optimized environments empower users through inclusive design.


The Need for Color Contrast


The sufficient color contrast between adjoining surfaces enables those with low vision to perceive edges and visual information better. Key advantages include:


  • Distinguishing among distinct tactile and walking surfaces

  • Discerning elevation changes like curbs and stairs

  • Identifying cautionary signage and safety warnings

  • Seeing doors, furnishings, amenities, and hazards in spaces

  • Reading lettering on signposts, displays, and control interfaces

  • Detecting tactile wayfinding pads that guide navigation

  • Recognizing faces and expressions during social interactions


With thoughtful color contrast implemented across buildings and public spaces through accent colors, tonal juxtapositions, and highlighted elements, the built environment becomes more navigable for the vision impaired.


Standards for Visual Contrast


Standards like the CSA B651 mandate minimum color contrast levels for accessibility design elements to guide proper implementation. Some specifications include:


  • Tactile walking surfaces should contrast adjoining floors by at least 70% light reflectance value.

  • Warning indicators (e.g., truncated dome tiles) must contrast standard walking floors by at least 70%. Safety yellow against gray floors provides an ideal contrast.

  • Text and Symbols should substantially differ from background colors. Light characters on dark backgrounds or vice versa.

  • Handrails and Controls should contrast walls and furnishings through high-visibility colors.

  • Door Frames should exhibit at least 70% contrast from surrounding walls for visibility.


By consulting resources like the CSA B651 and incorporating sufficient color contrast in line with regulations, the built environment can be adapted to assist individuals with visual disabilities.


Design Considerations for Contrast


Several factors should guide color contrast implementations:


1. Luminance Difference

Aim for at least 60-70% relative luminance difference between adjacent surfaces and elements. Light tones on dark backgrounds or vice versa provide the best contrast.

2. Avoiding Color Deficiency Confusion

Many visually impaired also have color blindness, especially red-green deficiency. Avoid problematic color pairings.

3. Glare Minimization

Prevent glossy or mirrored surfaces that create glare and reflections and obscure things like signage. Use matte paints and finishes.

4. Background Colors

Lighter wall colors and floors enable elements like railings or tactile pads to contrast strongly when darker.

5. Ambient Lighting

Ensure consistently well-lit spaces with minimal shadows and no high-glare spotlights. Supplement with task lighting.

6. Emphasizing Hazards

Highlight potential hazards using bold contrasting colors different from surrounding floors - like yellow or black.

7. User Feedback

Consult vision-impaired users on optimal color combinations that maximize perception based on their needs.

8. Ongoing Assessment

Periodically evaluate contrast sufficiency as lighting fixtures age, structural colors fade, or alterations are made.


Thoughtful contrast design guided both by standards and user input creates accessible, navigable spaces.


Tactile Surfaces with High Contrast


An important consideration with tactile walking surface indicators involves sufficient color contrast between tiles and adjoining flooring for optimal visibility. Our ADA-compliant tactile products leverage bold contrasting colors like:


  • Vibrant yellow truncated dome tiles against gray sidewalks

  • White wayfinding bars on dark charcoal floors

  • Safety yellow warning pavers embedded into concrete


Based on the setting, user feedback, and luminance testing, we advise combinations that meet 70% light reflectance value contrast levels per CSA B651. This enables those with some residual sight to detect vital ground surface cues better.


Benefits of Compliant Contrast


Accessibility regulations mandate certain color contrast minimums, but going further fosters inclusion. An accessible built environment through high visual contrast:


  • Allows independent mobility and avoids reliance on aids

  • Reduces disorientation and anxiety navigating spaces

  • Promotes confidence and dignity traversing independently

  • Welcomes diverse users and abilities into communities

  • Enhances experiences for all with clutter-free visual flows

  • Reflects universal design principles that are human-centric




The adage "contrast is king" rings especially true for those with visual impairment. The sufficiently high color contrast makes environments and interfaces more usable. By consulting leading standards and vision-impaired users, designers can strategically enhance tonal contrast in structures through surface colors, warning indicators, signage, and wayfinding. Contact our team at Tactile Solutions Canada for advice on maximizing accessibility and safety through compliant tactile products with strong visual contrast.


Frequently Asked Questions


Here are some common queries about color contrast:


How is color contrast quantified and measured?

Using relative luminance or light reflectance values. Handheld meters and photometry software help assign numerical contrast.


What are some design alternatives if the high color contrast is difficult?

Supplementary textural and tactile differences, audio cues, braille markings, and ample lighting can compensate somewhat.


Should all floors have contrasting walls for visual accessibility?

Ideally, public facilities aim for at least 60% contrast between large adjoining surfaces. Brighter walls aid visibility.


What are examples of high-contrast color combinations?

Black against yellow, white text on dark backgrounds, navy blue contrasts orange well. Dark floors with light walls aid wayfinding.


How can designers determine optimal colors?

Conduct user studies and surveys with vision-impaired participants. The test proposed contrasts under actual environmental conditions.

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How to Avoid Common Installation Mistakes with Tactile Products

29th Dec 2023

Proper installation is crucial for tactile indicators like detectable warning surfaces to maximize accessibility, safety, and longevity. Even minor errors in tactile marker placement or tile application can severely undermine functionality.


As Canada's leading supplier of accessible building products, we at Tactile Solution Canada want to highlight common installation missteps with tactile walking surface indicators and how to avoid them. Adhering to specifications and using certified installers prevents defects that render tactile systems ineffective.


What are Tactile Walking Surface Indicators?


Tactile walking surface indicators (TWSIs) refer to textured ground surfaces that convey vital accessibility information through touch. Two main types exist:

  1. Warning Tactile Indicators: Textures with truncated tactile domes that alert users to hazards like platforms, stairs, vehicle routes, etc.

  2. Wayfinding Tactile Indicators: Textures with parallel raised bars that direct users along appropriate pedestrian circulation paths.


Proper installation ensures these tactile cues are positioned correctly and securely fastened. Let's examine installation pitfalls to avoid.


1. Incorrect Locations


Tactile indicators must be placed accurately to serve their function correctly. For warning indicators, improper placement jeopardizes hazard notification. With wayfinding indicators, imperfect placement misdirects users.


  • Consult design drawings to verify specified tactile locations.

  • For standardized placements like platform edges, refer to codes like CSA B651.

  • Seek guidance from accessibility specialists on appropriate positioning.


2. Inadequate Coverage Area


Insufficient tactile marker coverage leaves key areas devoid of accessibility cues.



  • Review minimum surface area standards for each application in CSA B651.

  • Based on regulations, ensure tactile pads extend fully across walkways, ramps, and platform edges.

  • Confirm sufficient visual contrast between tactile and surrounding surfaces.


3. Improper Orientation


The orientation of tactile markers impacts detectability. For example, wayfinding bars must align with circulation routes.



  • Double-check design plans for tactile orientation relative to pedestrian movements.

  • Arrange wayfinding bar tiles perpendicular to the direction of travel.

  • Consult with CNIB representatives on appropriate orientation.


4. Non-Compliant Dimensions


Dimensional defects like insufficient dome spacing, diameter, and height reduce tactile detectability.



  • Verify all dimensions, including truncated dome size, height, and spacing, adhere to CSA B651 specifications during installation.

  • Use calibrated measuring tools to check dimensions regularly.

  • Review product Data Sheets to confirm tactile system compliance.


5. Uneven Borders & Trip Hazards


Improperly seated tactile tile edges pose tripping risks and impair wheeling.



  • Select tiles with beveled borders to provide smooth transitions.

  • Ensure surface-mounted tactile tile edges get trimmed flush with surrounding floors.

  • Confirm proper subfloor preparation and use of setting compounds for even surfaces.


6. Weak Adhesion


Poor bonding leads to loose tiles that detach, causing safety issues.



  • Strictly follow the adhesive manufacturer's instructions for setting tactile tiles.

  • Check bond strength at intervals during the curing period.

  • Consider more robust mechanical anchors instead of adhesives alone in specific settings.


7. Lacking Edge Contrast


Insufficient visual contrast diminishes safety for low-vision users.



  • Opt for brightly colored tactile tiles like safety yellow where possible.

  • Ensure noticeably different lightness/hue between tactile tiles and ground plane.

  • Border tactile pads with high-contrast tactile strips for added detectability.


8. Non-Compliant Materials


Certain tactile materials lack exterior durability or slip resistance.



  • Consult standards like CSA B651 to select suitable materials for each application.

  • Verify product testing data to confirm weathering performance, lifespans, and slip ratings.

  • Privilege sturdy metals, polymers, porcelain, and granite over low-cost materials.


9. Ignoring Existing Conditions


Failing to assess current surfaces leads to improper preparation and faulty application.



  • Survey existing substrates for soundness, flatness, drainage, and fastening options.

  • Specify appropriate setting compounds and adhesives based on conditions.

  • Correct deficiencies like cracks, sloping, and pooling water before installing tactile.


10. Insufficient Lighting


Poor visibility complicates tactile location, especially for low-vision users.



  • Advise design teams to provide sufficient overhead lighting near tactile installations.

  • Use photoluminescent tactile products to add glow-in-dark visibility.

  • Test illuminance levels post-installation for hotspots, shadows, and glare issues.


By being vigilant of these common installation missteps, stakeholders can take corrective actions to implement compliant, durable, and effective tactile systems.


Product Installation Guides


We provide comprehensive installation instruction guides for all tactile products to promote proper application. Referring to manufacturer guidelines and involving certified installers mitigates defects in the tactile application.




Attention to specifications, certified installers, quality control, and guidance from tactile specialists help avoid preventable errors that compromise accessibility. Adhering to standards like CSA B651 ensures tactile systems fulfill their vital function of promoting universal mobility and safety. Contact our team at Tactile Solution Canada to learn more about installation services.


Frequently Asked Questions


Here are some common installation-related queries:


How are common installation defects detected?

Inspections at project completion or annually using standards like CSA B651 cover placement, dimensions, materials, contrast, adhesion, and transitions.


Who typically installs tactile tiles?

Installers should be certified by manufacturers or have 5+ years of installing similar systems. Tactile providers offer training.


When should installation instructions be consulted?

Guidelines should be reviewed thoroughly before installation and periodically referenced during application.


What is the average lifespan of properly installed tactile?

Properly installed and maintained outdoor tactile systems last 10-15 years. Indoor applications last 15-25+ years before requiring replacement.


How can construction workers avoid tactile damage during other work?

Protect installed tactile from traffic using boards/mats. Schedule tactile application as one of the final steps before turnover.

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Accessible by Design: Incorporating Tactile Wayfinding Early

22nd Dec 2023

Designing accessibility from the outset enhances usability for all. This concept of “inclusive design” should shape spaces to accommodate diverse needs from the early stages. When it comes to visual impairments, a key element of accessible design involves tactile wayfinding – integrated floor guidance systems that orient users non-visually.


As Canada’s leading accessibility solution provider, we at Tactile Solutions advocate incorporating compliant tactile wayfinding into public realm projects early. This blog explores what tactile wayfinding entails, its benefits, optimal applications, and how proactive design integration enhances accessibility.


What is Tactile Wayfinding?


Tactile wayfinding refers to textured ground surface indicators that help users with visual impairments navigate built environments. It comprises:

  • Detectable Warning Surfaces: Textured indicator tiles with raised truncated domes that alert users to upcoming hazards like platforms, vehicular areas, drop-offs, and more.

  • Directional Guidance Paths: Ground textures with raised parallel bars or cones to delineate pedestrian circulation routes between key points.


By scanning the patterns with their feet or cane tips, visually impaired individuals orient within spaces and trace safe passages along appropriate paths.


Why Prioritize Tactile Wayfinding?


Navigating unfamiliar environments poses difficulties for blind or low-vision users. The lack of accessible wayfinding severely limits mobility and independence. Thoughtfully planned tactile guidance fosters confidence, dignity, and autonomy by providing a reliable navigational aid.


Benefits of Tactile Wayfinding

  • Promotes self-sufficient mobility

  • Reduces disorientation & Anxiety

  • Indicates paths between key decision points

  • Alert users to upcoming hazards

  • Creates inclusive environments accessible to all


Proactively designing tactile wayfinding makes public spaces navigable for citizens of all abilities from the outset.


Top Applications for Tactile Wayfinding


Tactile wayfinding has widespread applications across public, commercial, and institutional spaces with pedestrian traffic, including:

  • Public Transit Hubs: Provides orientation between platforms, ticket counters, information kiosks

  • Parks & Trails: Marks pedestrian walkways and highlights hazards

  • Plazas & Squares: Outlines safe circulation routes

  • Museums & Galleries: Guides visitors between exhibits and amenities

  • Airports & Stations: Links check-in, security, gates, baggage claim

  • Sidewalks & Crosswalks: Indicates safe pedestrian areas

  • Office Lobbies: Directs users from entries to elevators, desks, conference rooms

  • Shopping Centers: Helps shoppers navigate between stores, levels, and assistance points


International Examples


Globally, tactile wayfinding is transforming public spaces through proactive, inclusive design practices:

  • London, UK: The revitalized King’s Cross Area  integrates guidance paths from transit to offices, plazas, and homes.

  • Singapore: Extensive barrier-free access policies ensure wayfinding in train stations, bus interchanges, Housing Board estates, and more.

  • Seattle, USA: The redeveloped Seattle Center has a comprehensive tactile network allowing intuitive navigation between museums and attractions.


Thoughtful tactile wayfinding design makes environments more equitable for citizens of all abilities.


Best Practices for Implementation


For maximum accessibility and safety, tactile wayfinding should adhere to recognized standards like AODA and CSA B651, which covers placement, sizing, materials, and several nuanced specifications. Our specialists actively consult on optimal product selection and layout.


Some key planning considerations include:

  • Logical Layout: Tactile pads relate together intuitively based on space configurations. Wayfinding should correlate to the overall floor plan.

  • Clear Path Dimensions: Minimum 0.6m width for two-way travel between pads without veering.

  • Edge Contrast: Sufficient visual tone contrast between tactile surfaces and surrounding flooring for partial sight.

  • Hazard Indication: Warning indicators like truncated domes are placed appropriately to identify platform edges, vehicle routes, etc.

  • Durability: Withstand heavy foot traffic and weather. Surfaces are slip-resistant.

  • Consistency: Use consistent tactile textures throughout for congruency.


Planning Considerations


Several factors play into specifying appropriate tactile wayfinding. Our team helps navigate these choices:


Installation Method

  • Surface-Applied: Affix tactile tiles post-construction

  • Cast-In-Place: Embed tactile markers during construction


Performance Needs

  • High footfall areas require durable metal, porcelain, and polymer tiles

  • Simple indoor installs can utilize more economical options


Lifespan Needs

  • Long-term exterior applications warrant 20-25 year tiles

  • Replaceable solutions are preferred for interior upgrades


Noise Considerations

  • Metal or porcelain tiles make minimal sound underfoot

  • Rubber, urethane, or asphalt-based materials absorb more sound


Careful deliberation of setting, costs, and future needs ensures optimal product selection.


Accessible by Design


Ideally, tactile wayfinding decisions take place early alongside overall space planning considerations. This “accessible by design” approach allows wayfinding to drive layouts versus being an afterthought addition, which compromises inclusion. Our advisors provide recommendations during the initial design phases.


Some benefits of early integration include:

  • Unified Spatial Language - Wayfinding seamlessly blends with floor flows versus disjointed arbitrary placement as an add-on.

  • Cost Optimization - Forecasting full tactile flooring needs from the outset allows more accurate budgeting and material purchasing.

  • Enhanced Safety - Hazard and directional guidance indicators inform layouts to maximize safety.

  • Streamlined Approvals - Getting sign-off on holistic, inclusive designs is faster than major retrofits.

  • User-Informed Design - Testing wayfinding mockups early allows user input to refine layouts.


By interweaving tactile wayfinding early in design processes, public spaces can achieve true accessibility for citizens of all abilities.


Tactile Wayfinding Solutions from Tactile Solution Canada


As Canada’s top tactile solution provider, our extensive product range from leading manufacturers enables compliant, durable, and affordable wayfinding for every application:


Access Tile® Cast-In-Place Tactile Systems

  • ADA-compliant polymer tiles installed into concrete walkways


Armor Tile® Vitrified Polymer Tactile

  • Heavy-duty tiles for intense outdoor foot trafficAdvantage Tactile Systems

  • Customizable stainless steel indicator plates screwed into surfaces


Elan Porcelain Stoneware Tactile Tiles

  • Sleek porcelain tiles meeting slip resistance standards


Ecoglo Photoluminescent Wayfinding

  • Photoluminescent cast in place and surface applied stair edge nosing


With in-house technical experts providing layout and product recommendations aligned with standards, our clients achieve seamless integration of wayfinding systems into public realm projects.


Let’s Make Canada Accessible Together


Beyond moral and regulatory imperatives, proactive accessibility planning creates better experiences for all citizens. Prioritizing tactile wayfinding early in design processes ensures spaces accommodate diverse mobility from conception.


To discuss specialized product solutions or advisory services on tactile wayfinding planning, contact our team at Tactile Solution Canada today!

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Accessibility in Urban Planning: Lessons from World Cities

22nd Dec 2023

Urban accessibility refers to the ease with which people with disabilities or other access needs can navigate and participate in city environments. It is a key pillar of inclusive urban design. When implemented thoughtfully, accessibility measures empower and include vulnerable groups while enhancing cities for all users.


As a leading supplier of tactile warning systems in Canada, we at Tactile Solution advocate for accessibility across infrastructure, technology, policies, and attitudes. In this blog, we analyze global leaders in accessible urban planning and extract key learnings for Canadian cities.


The Need for Accessibility


Over 15% of the global population lives with some form of disability, ranging from mobility and sensory issues to cognitive conditions. These groups face daily barriers navigating inaccessible built environments – curbs without curb cuts, narrow hallways, lack of audio cues or Braille signage, and more.


Beyond permanent disability, anyone can experience situational limitations at some point, like using crutches after an injury. An aging population also increases demands for accessibility as mobility declines.


The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) outlines a clear moral and legal imperative for accessibility in Canada. Most countries worldwide have similar regulations. Beyond legal obligations, accessibility enables social participation and autonomy for all people regardless of ability – a fundamental human right.


The Pivotal Role of Urban Planning


Over 80% of Canadians live in cities today. This number will only grow over the coming decades. The design of these urban landscapes has an outsized impact on the quality of life for residents.


Urban planning teams shape the built environment through policies, zoning, transportation networks, public spaces, infrastructure standards, etc. These planning decisions either erect or tear down accessibility barriers at a mass scale.


Key Areas for Accessibility


Some key facets that determine the accessibility of a city include:

  • Public Transit: Access to low-floor buses, accessible trains, wayfinding in transit hubs, etc.

  • Streets & Sidewalks: Curb cuts, pedestrian crossings, rest areas, maintenance, etc.

  • Parks & Public Spaces: Sensory gardens, inclusive playgrounds, tactile wayfinding, parking, etc.

  • Civic Infrastructure: Government offices, libraries, community centers, voting stations, etc.

  • Housing: Visitable homes, universal design standards, affordable options, etc.

  • Digital Access: Assistive technologies, apps, virtual services, automated systems, etc.

  • Awareness & Inclusion: Disability representation, cultural sensitivity training, outreach programs, etc.


When all these aspects are designed inclusively, they collectively enable people with disabilities to access education, employment, healthcare, recreation, and all facets that contribute to an independent and fulfilling life.


Global Leaders in Accessibility


Many international cities have become pioneers of accessible urban design. Though no city has achieved perfect accessibility, we can extract key lessons from those setting the bar.



This island city-state ranks among the most accessible cities globally thanks to holistic, accessible development policies mandated by its government.


All new infrastructure projects must adhere to Universal Design principles such as barrier-free access. Public housing encompasses 80% of residential buildings, most built with accessibility in mind. Singapore actively consults disability advocacy groups to guide planning decisions.


A comprehensive quality of life index tracks progress on inclusion and accessibility. Mass transit offers low-floor buses and barrier-free routes from homes to destinations like community centers. Apps provide navigation assistance tools powered by AI.




Legacy infrastructure poses accessibility challenges in old European cities like London. Yet concerted revitalization initiatives are transforming districts into beacons of accessibility.


A prime example is the new King’s Cross regeneration project. The 67-acre site has been reimagined as a model of inclusive urban design. Nearly a third of new housing is explicitly dedicated to disabled residents. Tactile walking maps help navigation while audio beacons announce points of interest. The neighborhood connects seamlessly with accessible public transit.


Such decentralized district-based retrofitting allows old cities to pivot towards accessibility one area at a time.




The world’s largest metropolitan area, Tokyo, offers a test case in making densely populated megacities accessible, though significant room for improvement remains.


Accessibility initiatives picked up steam leading into the 2021 Olympics. This includes nearly universal access to subway systems thanks to platform screen doors, tactile surfaces, and accessible carriages. Accessible taxis receive government subsidies to aid affordability.


Apps provide navigation assistance and disability resource access information. Barrier-free routes connect major tourist attractions like the Tokyo National Museum to transit hubs. Tactile walking surface indicators aid navigation in commercial centers.


Tokyo proves that even the most populated cities can make progress on accessibility with sustained government commitment.


Accessibility Lessons for Canada


Though ranking decently on disability inclusion, Canada has ample room to emulate global leaders. Our key takeaways include:


1. Adopt Universal Design Policy Mandates

Legislate accessibility requirements into building codes, infrastructure standards, and zoning policies at all government levels.

2. Consult with Disabled Advocacy Groups

Actively partner with disability advocates to guide urban planning decisions instead of ineffective “deciding for” approaches.

3. Set Accessibility Targets

Establish quantitative goals and track detailed metrics on inclusion efforts. What gets measured gets managed.

4. Prioritize Accessible Public Transit

Mobility is essential for participation. Ensure affordable, reliable, accessible transit across buses, trains, taxis, and innovative platforms like rideshares.

5. Retrofit Neighborhoods Holistically

Bring accessibility interventions together at the district scale for exponential impact rather than scattered, disconnected efforts.

6. Encourage Inclusive Business

Provide tax benefits, grants, and resources for businesses undertaking accessibility improvements.

7. Foster Inclusive Culture

Promote accessibility and disability awareness through media representation, education campaigns, and leading by example in the public service realm.


The Role of Tactile Indicators


An often overlooked yet pivotal dimension of urban accessibility involves navigation tools for the vision impaired. Detectable warning surfaces provide essential environmental cues to enhance mobility.


1. Compliance with Standards


Proper tactile design requires careful consideration of placement, product specifications, and installation methodology. Our team possesses extensive expertise in AODA, ACA, CSA B651, and NBC compliance. We actively advise urban planning agencies on correctly integrating tactile wayfinding and hazard warning surfaces.


2. Applications Across Urban Contexts


Tactile indicator applications include:

  • Public Transit Platforms: Detect platform edge drop-offs with attention tactile system

  • Sidewalks & Trails: Define boundaries between pedestrian and vehicular zones

  • Parks & Plazas: Guide visitors with wayfinding tactile to key places like information kiosks and counters

  • Civic Institutions: Embed wayfinding paths leading to entranceways

  • Commercial Spaces: Help users locate checkout points, directories, seating areas, and more

  • And much more.


Realizing Inclusive Cities


The collective lessons from global leaders demonstrate that accessible urban design relies on coordinated efforts across infrastructure, regulations, technologies, and changing hearts and minds.

While progress takes sustained commitment, every step moves us closer to cities that empower all citizens regardless of ability or circumstance. It is time for Canada to become the benchmark for inclusive communities.


Reach out to our team at Tactile Solution Canada to learn about our tactile and accessible attention and wayfinding products, helping realize this vision one public space at a time.


Frequently Asked Questions


Here are some common questions about urban accessibility and inclusive city planning:


How are accessibility standards enforced for urban design projects?

Mandates like AODA levy financial penalties for non-compliance. Many cities also provide tax credits and grants to incentivize voluntary adoption of Universal Design.


Which Canadian city is the most accessible currently?

Ontario, Calgary, Montreal, and Ottawa consistently rank among the most accessible in global city indices. However, all cities have room for considerable improvement.


Where should accessibility interventions be focused first?

Priorities include public transit, civic institutions, public housing, and disabled-friendly downtown districts well connected through barrier-free routes.


How do you make heritage sites and old infrastructure accessible?

Where retrofitting is unrealistic, supplementary measures like ramps over stairs, wheelchair lifts, and audio guides improve accessibility. Tactile wayfinding is invaluable for navigating aged complex sites.


How can tactical urbanism and pop-up solutions foster accessibility?

DIY improvements like curb-cut ramps, sensory gardens in vacant lots, vibrant crosswalks, and pedestrian plazas can rapidly transform accessibility.


Contact our team at Tactile Solution Canada to learn more about building inclusive cities!

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Exploring the Budget-Friendly Tactile Options for Retrofit Projects

15th Dec 2023

When retrofitting existing structures to comply with accessibility regulations, choosing the most cost-effective tactile solutions becomes quite important. As the leading tactile products supplier in Canada, here at Tactile Solution Canada, we understand this challenge well. This blog highlights some highly affordable tactile options well-suited for upgrading structures on a tight budget.


Regulatory Need for Tactile Upgrades


As per the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and the National Building Code of Canada (NBC), installing tactile tiles is mandatory to ensure safe navigation for pedestrians with vision impairment. While newbuilds can seamlessly integrate cast-in-place tiles, retrofits usually need " tactile, "glued" to the existent surface".


"Surface Applied Tiles" - Affordable Compliance for Retrofits


As discussed in our previous blog, " surface applied tiles" offer a pragmatic solution for upgrading tactility on "existent surfaces" like pavements and flooring. These tiles offer a convenient and affordable way to install tactile walking surface indicators on existing surfaces, unlike more expensive options, embedded concrete. These durable tiles attach securely to surfaces like sidewalks, ramps, platform edges, stair treads, or landings with special adhesives built to withstand heavy foot traffic, freeze/thaw cycles, salt, and moisture.


Compared to tearing up and re-pouring concrete, installing surface-mounted tactile pads provides tremendous cost and labor savings. Tiles offer flexibility to contour curved surfaces and radii seamlessly. They can also be precision cut onsite to fit any shape. Color choices contrast against surroundings to enhance detectability. These versatile solutions work excellently to create accessible routes through public parks, transit centers, government buildings, healthcare campuses, shopping centers, and other facilities.


We'll highlight four great surface-applied tactile products that meet Canadian standards that balance durability and ADA/AODA compliance with affordability!


AccessTile Surface-Applied Truncated Domes


AccessTile leads the industry for affordable detectable warning systems perfect for retrofit applications. Their surface-applied truncated dome tiles are installed easily to add tactile curb ramps, platform edges, and other hazards needing bright visual and textured contrast between pedestrian and vehicular routes such as curb ramps, wheelchair ramps, top of stairs/escalators, and blended transitions.


Key Features:

  • Beveled edges ensure smooth, wheelchair-friendly transitions
  • Lightweight material cuts easily onsite for custom sizing
  • Color-contrast domes molded from durable composite polymers
  • Full installer kit included
  • 5-year manufacturer warranty


Suitable Applications:

  • Curb ramps
  • Transit platform edges
  • Stair/ramp landings
  • Accessible pedestrian crossings
  • Multimodal transit stations
  • Reflecting pool perimeters
  • Angled driveway curb cuts
  • And more


AccessTile Surface-Applied Wayfinding Bars


AccessTile's surface-mounted wayfinding bars are installed together with their truncated dome tiles to create full AODA-compliant accessible routes. These detectable directional bars guide users along paths between destinations like information kiosks, registration desks, and elevator banks.


Key Features:

  • Installs together with detectable warning tiles
  • Lightweight material cuts easily into custom sizes
  • Beveled edges provide smooth wheelchair transitions
  • Full installer kit included
  • 5-year manufacturer warranty


Suitable Applications:

  • Public parks & plazas
  • Transit terminals
  • Government & healthcare corridors
  • Museum galleries
  • University walkways
  • Shopping malls / retail stores


Armor-Tile Surface-Applied Tactile Tiles


Boasting excellent durability and traction, Armor-Tile surface-applied tactile pads bring enhanced accessibility anywhere without breaking budgets. The tiles made from proprietary polymers blend optimal slide resistance, sound properties, and textured profiles to improve detectability and grip for canes/walkers.


Key Features:

  • Extreme all-weather durability
  • The complete kit includes adhesive and color-matched screws
  • Visual color contrast options
  • 5-year warranty


Suitable Applications:

  • Public places & plazas
  • Complexes
  • Healthcare settings
  • Academic institutions
  • Recreational centers


Eon Tile Rubber Surface-Applied Tactile Systems


Eon Tile's flexible rubber tactile tiles suit both interior and exterior applications requiring custom sizing to unique measurements. These durable, resilient pads install perfectly along curved walkways and radii.


Key Features:

  • Flexible rubber tiles form fit curved surfaces
  • Installer kit included
  • Visual color contrast domes
  • 5-year warranty


Suitable Applications:

  • Curving pathways
  • Landscaped walkways
  • Blended transition ramps
  • Irregular platforms
  • Corner store produce areas
  • Complex lobbies


Guidance on Accessibility Budgeting for Tactile Retrofitting


Installing proper TWSI tiles improves accessibility and minimizes liability risks across properties receiving public foot traffic. Tactile warning surfaces represent excellent return on investment over their long lifespans.


1. Plan Ahead


Ideally, begin budgeting early once consider enhancing accessibility among retail spaces, transit platforms, public parks, and government sites. This allows for appropriate funding for quality tactile installations.


2. Leverage Grants


Explore federal and provincial grants incentivizing accessibility upgrades under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) supporting goals for barrier-free Canada by 2040.


3. Consider Phases


For large-scale retrofitting, break projects into budget-friendly phases, first addressing high-priority areas to balance immediate needs against stretched capital resources.


As Canada's leading supplier of durable ADA and AODA-compliant tactile solutions, Tactile Solution Canada stands ready to assess retrofitting requirements, recommend appropriate systems balancing durability, detectability, and affordability, plus support contractors through environmentally friendly installations, improving accessibility at facilities across provinces.


Frequently Asked Questions


What are the most budget-friendly tactile options for retrofitting projects to meet accessibility regulations?

Quality surface-applied tiles from AccessTile, Armor-Tile, and Eon Tile balance affordability with durability, ADA/AODA, CSA compliance, and ease of installation for retrofit applications. Their customizable modular designs allow cost-effectively tailoring detectable warnings to site parameters.


How long do surface-applied tactile tiles typically last?

When installed adequately following manufacturer guidelines onto concrete or asphalt surfaces, most surface-applied tactile systems provide 10-15 years lifespans in outdoor conditions and 20+ years indoors before needing replacement.


What materials work best for exterior tactile applications facing freezing weather, salt, and snow plows?

Look for surface-applied tactile tiles containing polymers, composite metals, or porcelain stoneware materials resistant to corrosion, fractures, wear, and wear-and-tear. Avoid natural woods or plastic composites vulnerable to exterior conditions.


Where can I find grants, tax credits, or other funding to help make our aging buildings more accessible?

Great information sources include the Canadian Revenue Agency, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Ontario Renovates Program, and local provincial accessibility directorates. Consulting an accessibility specialist also helps navigate the best funding support.


What accessibility regulations apply towards public buildings and facilities in Canada?

The federal Accessible Canada Act harmonizes nationally with provincial laws like Ontario's Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), which provides standards all public buildings must achieve. Local building codes often reference these laws.


We hope these surface-mounted tactile solution options and budgeting tips assist your team's planning process when navigating important retrofitting decisions ahead. Please get in touch with Tactile Solution Canada for personalized guidance tailoring the optimal product recommendations unique to your retrofitting project requirements and budget.

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