Any Questions? Call: 732-329-3600

ground surface

ADA Standards for Floor and Ground Surface Construction (Chapter 3)

In construction, floor and ground surfaces are subject to the regulations of the ADA Standards, which form the base of the Department of Transportation.

These standards require specifications for floor and grounding surfaces, which address the surface characteristics, carpeting, openings, and changes in level.

These surfaces can be hazardous, and it is the Department of Transportation’s goal to prevent hazards and make them as minimal as possible.  Hence, these standards were born.

The standards apply to all four major aspects of surfaces:

  1. Interior and exterior accessible routes
  2. Stairways that are part of a means of egress
  3. Clearances that are required
  4. Parking spaces, aisles, and passenger loading zones that are all accessible

Additionally, the standards are based on the three key aspects that contribute to a safe and minimal hazardous surface: firmness, stability, and slip resistant.

As a result, the first and foremost standard is that all surfaces must be stable, firm, and slip resistant.

Slip Resistance

As part of the three major standards for flooring, all surfaces are required by the ADA Standards to be slip resistant.

This means that all surfaces accessible by the public must have some level of resistance to slipperiness to reduce hazards, especially to people with disabilities or injuries.

However, the ADA Standards fail to specify the minimum amount, or, level, of slip resistance a surface must have.  Therefore, there are several protocol tools to help determine or estimate the amount of slip resistance a floor contains.

To comply with the slip resistance regulations, a surface must specify three things:

  1. Surface materials
  2. Textures
  3. Finishes

These three things must be used to prevent slipperiness to the surface, especially in conditions it is likely to face.

To prove that a surface is slip resistant, it must clearly prove the provision of these three things to reduce the risk of hazards.

Firmness and Stability

Secondly, a floor or surface must be firm and stable.

Contributing to the firmness and stability of a surface are four main elements: surface smoothness, carpet, openings, and changes in level.

These elements determine the amount of firmness or stability a surface has, and each is subject to different standards.

First, to provide greater surface smoothness, there are limits placed on openings in floors and grounds by the ADA Standards.  However, they don’t specify the overall amount or level of smoothness a surface requires.

However, it is important to know that rough surfaces such as cobblestones and Belgian blocks can produce hazards and difficulty for mobility aids such as wheelchairs and crutches.

Secondly, carpet standards consist of a specific maximum height and texture a pile can have.

The maximum pile height is half of an inch (1/2), which is measured to the backing, cushion, or pad.

Additionally, the pile texture is required to obtain a level or texture loop, level cut pile, and firm backing.

Openings are subject to a maximum width, where the passage can fit a max of ½ a diameter sphere. 

Finally, changes in level are required to be only ¼ of an inch without treatment, but with it can be ½ if it is beveled with a maximum slope of 1:2.

Additionally, changes above ½ of an inch are required to be classified as a ramp.

Safety First Should Always Be the Motto of a Construction Project

Nothing is more important than keeping your workers and the people walking on your grounds and surfaces safe.

Take precautions and be sure to follow the ADA Standards step by step to ensure that your new facilities truly are the safest they can be.

Help with ADA Standards

Serving clients in New Jersey, New York and Eastern Pennsylvania, the experienced professionals at East Coast Paving and Site Development are prepared to help you achieve the standards for ADA compliance.

For additional questions about ADA compliance, contact the paving experts at East Coast Paving and Site Development at 732-329-3600 or email

Read more on this series:

The Ultimate Guide to ADA Compliance: Using the ADA Standards (Chapter 1)

Scoping Requirements and ADA Standards for New Construction (Chapter 2 Part 1)

Construction Alterations and the ADA Standards That Affect Them (Chapter 2 Part 2)

Accessible Routes in the ADA Standards (Chapter 4 Part 1)


2850 Woodbridge Avenue, Unit F
Edison, NJ 08837

Any Questions? Call



Contact Us

* All fields are mandatory