Bathroom Grab Bars

Bathroom Grab Bars

Positioning Your Grab Bars Even a solidly anchored grab bar is useless if it’s in the wrong place. What location is best depends on the particular situation. If you’re installing the bars for a person with a disability or injury, have this person help you decide which location will be most helpful. A physical therapist or an occupational therapist also can help with this decision. For solid anchoring, stud locations are critical too. (Later we’ll tell you what to do if studs aren’t available.) Here are guidelines for placing the bars: Place an 18-in. to 24-in. long bar vertically at the tub edge (Photo 8) to assist in getting in and out of the tub. The bottom of the bar should be 32 to 38 in. above the floor. Position the bar so it can be anchored to a wall stud. Mount a bar at an angle between two wall studs on the long back wall of the tub (Photo 7). The bottom of the bar should be about 6 to 10 in. above the top of the tub. For studs 16 in. apart, a 24-in. long bar provides a nice angle. A person can use this grab bar to help lower himself and get up again. If this bar will be used primarily by a person sitting in a bath chair, raise the bottom to about 18 in. above the tub. Mount a bar horizontally about 36 in. to 38 in. above the bottom of the tub as a convenient handhold while showering.
bathroom grab bars 1

Bathroom Grab Bars

If you’re mounting your grab bars to standard wood-framed walls, first you’ll have to precisely locate the vertical framing members called studs (Photos 1 and 2). Most grab bars have three screw holes in each mounting flange, but you’ll only be able to anchor two of the three screws into a typical 1-1/2 in. wide stud. Use a plastic anchor for the third screw. As long as these screws penetrate at least an inch into sound wood, the grab bar will meet or exceed the 250-lb. load rating required by the government for public buildings. More important, it will be plenty strong to support you even in a fall.
bathroom grab bars 2

Bathroom Grab Bars

In your bathtub or shower, grab bars provide extra security for that first slippery step. In this article, we’ll show you where to position grab bars and how to anchor them so they’re rock-solid.
bathroom grab bars 3

Bathroom Grab Bars

Mark the studs and grab bar mounting holes (Photo 4). Then drill a 1/8-in. hole at one of the marks located over a stud. If you miss the stud, adjust the grab bar location accordingly and drill new holes. In most cases, the unused hole will be covered by the mounting plate on the grab bar.
bathroom grab bars 4

Bathroom Grab Bars

We’ll show you how to mount grab bars to fiberglass tubs and showers, hollow walls and concrete. Studs are easy to find in walls with only a single layer of drywall over the framing. Rap on the wall with your knuckle until the sound changes from hollow to a dull thud, or use a stud sensor (Photo 1). Thicker wall coverings like plaster present a greater challenge. Here are a few tips: Remove the access hatch behind the tub drain and peer behind the tub with a flashlight to look for studs. Go to the room or closet behind the long tub wall and look for clues to stud locations like nails in the baseboard. Then measure from a reference point you can identify when you go back into the bathroom.
bathroom grab bars 5

Bathroom Grab Bars

Grab bars are designed for those who have difficulty lowering themselves to a seated position, or rising to a standing position. These devices affix to the bathroom or shower wall, providing the user with a handhold as needed. We have both permanent and temporary options available, so whether you’re recovering from an injury, or you’re dealing with a permanent disability, you’ll have no trouble finding the support you need.
bathroom grab bars 6

Bathroom Grab Bars

You’ll only need a hammer, a level, a drill and a few special drill bits. A stud sensor is optional. Your grab bars will be rock-solid if you anchor them to the studs.
bathroom grab bars 7

Bathroom Grab Bars

Here are guidelines for placing the bars: Place an 18-in. to 24-in. long bar vertically at the tub edge (Photo 8) to assist in getting in and out of the tub. The bottom of the bar should be 32 to 38 in. above the floor. Position the bar so it can be anchored to a wall stud. Mount a bar at an angle between two wall studs on the long back wall of the tub (Photo 7). The bottom of the bar should be about 6 to 10 in. above the top of the tub. For studs 16 in. apart, a 24-in. long bar provides a nice angle. A person can use this grab bar to help lower himself and get up again. If this bar will be used primarily by a person sitting in a bath chair, raise the bottom to about 18 in. above the tub. Mount a bar horizontally about 36 in. to 38 in. above the bottom of the tub as a convenient handhold while showering.
bathroom grab bars 8

Home centers keep a variety of grab bars in stock, but specialty suppliers offer the most complete selection. We’ve listed a few sources at the end of this article, or check your Yellow Pages under “Medical Equipment and Supplies.”
bathroom grab bars 9

Bath SafetyBath safety is loaded with great items that make your bath time both worry-free and enjoyable. An ideal selection for individuals who are handicapped, elderly or bariatric. These safety accessories include handle grips, grab bars, safety rails, shower seats, transfer benches, hair washing trays, commodes and much more. Shower seats and benches allow comfortable sitting when used inside a shower stall. Bariatric bath benches are made with a reinforced design to withstand higher capacities.
bathroom grab bars 10

Drill a 1/8-in. hole with a glass-and-tile bit at the mark closest to the center of each stud to confirm the stud location. If you hit solid wood, drill the remaining holes. If not, poke a piece of bent wire through the hole and probe until you feel the stud. Reposition the grab bar and mark the holes
bathroom grab bars 11

As a last resort, use toggle bolts or WingIts to mount the grab bar to the hollow part of the wall. The plaster, mortar or tile backer must be dry and solid and at least 5/8 in. thick.
bathroom grab bars 12

Photo 5: Drill into the studs Drill a 1/8-in. hole with a glass-and-tile bit at the mark closest to the center of each stud to confirm the stud location. If you hit solid wood, drill the remaining holes. If not, poke a piece of bent wire through the hole and probe until you feel the stud. Reposition the grab bar and mark the holes