What Are ADA Exit Sign Requirements For Businesses? | ADA Central

Posted by Rochelle Harris on May 6th 2021

What Are ADA Exit Sign Requirements For Businesses? | ADA Central

What Are ADA Exit Sign Requirements For Businesses? 

ADA Compliance  

In business today, it's impossible for owners not to know about the Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA and what it means for your business. If you are a small business owner interested in becoming ADA compliant, you may ask the question, what are ADA exit sign requirements for businesses? 

In this post, we will be discussing the answer to this and other ADA signage requirements. 

These things are vital for business owners to be familiar with, especially if you want to remain ADA compliant and avoid steep penalties or fines. The Americans with Disabilities Act, and its most significant revision, which included the 2010 standards for accessible design, has proven to have already made fundamental changes in the way we think. 

Core foundational behaviors, such as how we function within our community, are affected in a way that results in a progressive community behavior universally. As this federal law undoubtedly intended initially, we seem to be slowly moving towards a more tolerant community consciousness and level of inclusion, with accessible design standards implemented everywhere. 

ADA Exit Sign Locations

ADA exit sign requirements may surprise you with how specific they are, as much time and careful consideration was obviously invested in these federal regulations. ADA compliant signs are required in practically all businesses having 15 or more full-time employees, and particularly in certain places, like at every exit door. If signage identifies a permanent room or space (bathrooms, kitchen, exam rooms, etc.) within a building, it must have accompanying ADA signage. 

ADA signs pertaining to safety within any public building, or to offer information or directions leading to emergency exits, in addition to both regular and emergency exit doors, stairs, elevators, etc., also require ADA signs. Do not neglect to include information or directional (arrow) signs along the access route, guiding people to emergency exits, restrooms and other important accessible spaces. 

Tactile/Braille ADA Signs

 Doorway exit signs and emergency exits with emergency exit signs that are overhead or visual only, or pictograms only, must have an accompanying ADA Braille sign, also called an ADA tactile sign, using grade #2 Braille. 

The Braille or tactile sign must also contain tactile characters, which are raised characters. Part of a tactile sign requirement is having both of these in its design. 

According to the exit sign guidelines, install exit signs on the adjacent wall to the exit doors or exit discharge on the latch side of the door. 

If the emergency exit has double doors, they are the exception to the rules. See details in the official ADA standards for accessible design here: 


ADA Exit Sign Requirements 

In general, there are specific requirements for ADA sign compliance, such as using high contrast colors between the sign's text and background for optimum visibility. 

You must use a non-glare background finish, a sans serif font, and all uppercase characters. It is even essential to watch your character proportions and spacing, as well as your stroke thickness. 

 Mount tactile exit signs with the baseline character of your tactile or raised lettering measuring 48" inches minimum to 60" inches maximum from the ground surface. 

Exit signs and other ADA signage requirements should be checked for the amount of clear floor space needed in front of a tactile sign to allow a person in a wheelchair comfortable access to it. 


Rules for all new construction of any public building from 2010 require accessibility right from the start, which is a massive step towards a more tolerant and inclusive community consciousness. 

There must be at least two exit doors or avenues of escape in case of emergency, and each exit door needs accompanying ADA exit signs that have visual, tactile, and Braille in their design. 

The smartest thing to do when it comes to your signage is to trust an experienced professional sign company specializing in ADA-compliant signage like ADA Central. We provide the expertise and quality custom ADA exit signs and all types of ADA compliant signage you need for your business or building. 

Exit Doors, Etc. 

In the case of emergency exit double doors, there are specific regulations or requirements for signage different from others. 

For example, if both panels or sides are active, the exit signs need to be located on the right side of the right doors. If only one side is operational, the tactile sign's requirements state it should be placed on the inactive side. Otherwise, ADA signs should be on the adjacent wall of the side of the door with the latch. 

The DOJ & ADA Central

The Department of Justice is partly responsible for enforcing ADA requirements for businesses. Even for first violations, fines for non-compliance can easily reach $75,000, and $150,000 for each subsequent violation. This kind of ordeal and financial hit can easily crush a struggling new business, so don't trust your professional signage to anyone but ADA Central. 

ADA Central is the authority on all signs needed for ADA compliance. We do professional custom work and have many standard stock options as well, and you can always count on our signs meeting all ADA requirements for your business. 

Our customer service is excellent, and we offer expedited service and wholesale prices. You can request a free quote right here on our website; fill out the form on our home page. When you need ADA signage, remember ADA Central is here to help!