California ADA Restroom Signs

Posted by Kelly Brewster on


While the Federal ADA regulations require only on sign to identify an open public restroom, California requires two.  Their two-sign requirement came about because the State of California adopted Restroom Sign requirements prior to the American with Disability Act in 1991.

The original California Restroom ADA signs, developed in March of 1970, consisted of two geometric shapes without any tactile pictograms, text or braille.  These signs were invented and developed by Dr. Sam Genensky.  He was seeing impaired and when working in Santa Monica, he had some awkward experiences looking for the correct restroom.  The restroom signs at the time were so small for him to read that he had to have his face a few inches from the sign to be able to read them, thus startling some women exiting the restrooms.  Genensky’s “geometry” eventually became the standard for marking public restrooms in California. These geometric symbols became so ingrained in California history and culture that the state kept these symbols, while adding the Federal ADA requirements of as well. 


California Restroom Sign Requirements

Door Signs – Visual Requirements

Doorways leading to a public restroom must be identified by a geometric shape centered horizontally on a contrasting door at a height of 58” minimum and 60” maximum above the finished floor.  Men’s restrooms must be represented with a triangle, Women’s with a circle and Unisex are triangles superimposed on a circle shape.  These visual signs must be 12” tall and ¼” thick material.   

California Men's ADA Restroom compliant signCalifornia ADA Women's Restroom compliant SignCalifornia Unisex ADA compliant Restroom sign


Wall Signs – ADA Requirements and Braille

Along with the geometric door signs restrooms must also have a wall sign to be compliant.  The wall signs should be installed on the wall adjacent to the latch side of the restroom door.  Wall signs need to have tactile pictograms along with braille.  The tactile lettering needs is be between 5/8” to 2” in height, sanserif and all uppercase. 

 California ADA compliant Restroom signs ~ NapADAsigns.comCalifornia ADA compliant Restroom signs ~


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