Bathroom Grab Bars Decision Guide

Bathrooms Can Be Very Hazardous.

Grab bars increase accessibility and safety for people with a variety of disabilities or mobility difficulties Grab bars can prevent falling and slipping in your bathroom.

They can also be used around the toilet to help get up and down from the toilet. Grab bars must bear high loads and sudden impacts.

They are generally mounted to masonry walls or to the studs of stud walls (which may need to be specially strengthened). They can be mounted through the drywall into a strong wooden wall stud or other structural members, but not mounted only on the drywall, as it will not bear the person’s weight.

It is not possible to prevent every accident. However, by installing grab bars in your tub or shower, you will significantly reduce the chances that someone in your home will fall and be injured. 

Some Guidelines for Choosing Grab Bars

Installation

There are many considerations when deciding which grab bar to use and how best to install it. Properly securing a grab bar is important so that it doesn’t pull out of the wall when pressure is applied to it. Each installation should be secured appropriately into wall blocking or studs to provide the best support. If no studs are available, specialized mollies fasteners or a WingIt fastener can be used.The most important thing about the grab bar that you choose is how it’s going to be installed into your shower. There are two kinds of installations you have to look forward to. The first is an installation by suction cup. These grab bars can be installed almost instantaneously, and the suction cups that they use provide a surprising amount of stability thanks in large part to their size and the use of levers to create extra force. The other option is to install your shower grab bar by screwing it into the wall itself. Depending on the construction of your bathroom, this could prove to be a more difficult process then you have the time or patience to execute. Ultimately, however, wall-mounted grab bars are going to provide the most reliable stability over the longest period of time.

If the person who needs the grab bar the most is a permanent resident in your home, and they aren’t the type to regularly check the security of a suction cup model, it might be a smart idea to suffer the more complicated installation of a permanent, wall-mounted bar. If, on the other hand, you only need the bar for a short period of time, as with an injury that’s going to heal, or if you occasionally have a visitor that requires such a device, a suction cup bar is likely your best bet. You’ll easily be able to remove it when you no longer need it, and it won’t do any lasting damage to your bathroom wall.

Also keep in mind that there are places where you cannot drill into bathroom tiles, for a example  an apartment or a rented house or when you are traveling.

Locations

Grab bars are often used in conjunction with other medical devices to increase safety. For example, a grab bar added to a shower is frequently used with a shower chair and hand-held shower head. Grab bars installed by a doorway are usually added near a railing. In addition, grab bars can be placed on any wall where extra support is needed even if it is not the “usual place” they are used.

Grab bars should be installed in the safest and most convenient area of the shower or tub. They must be connected to wall studs. It might be beneficial to eye-ball the correct placement for grab bars by having family members stand inside the bath or shower to ensure that everyone will be able to reach it when needed.

Grab bars can be installed in different positions:

  • The vertical position may help with balance while standing. They are also useful stepping into a tub or shower and  for getting out. Vertical entrance bar should go close to the shower door jamb. The vertical bar on the faucet end wall should go near the faucet handles.
  •  The horizontal grab bars provide assistance when sitting or rising, or to grab onto in case of a slip or fall. A horizontal bar should be attached to the side wall and should be as long as possible. It should be about 30 inches up from the tub floor.
  •  Some grab bars can be installed at an angle, depending on the needs of the user and the positioning. Grab bars installed horizontally offer up the greatest safety and care should be taken when installing them on the angle as this contrary to the ADA Guidelines. Often this angled installation is easier for people pulling themselves up from a seated position.
  • These grab bars need to be easy to use, so they should be about elbow level.
  • Also, consider the heights of the other members of your family so it is convenient for them as well.

Grab Bar Materials and Finishes

Grab Bars are Available in 1-1/4″ and 1-1/2″ Diameters
As Well As Many Finishes and Gripping Surfaces

The materials can be Stainless Steel, Polished Chrome, Polished and Antique Brass, Satin Nickel, White, and Almond. Most grab bars are manufactured to the highest quality standards using the most modern design techniques and subject to the most rigorous quality control inspections. All grab bars come with mounting hardware and are ADA compliant when properly installed.

Most grab bars are made of stainless steel to resist corrosion. They come in various sizes, but the most common bars are 18 inches long or 24 inches long and are usually 1 1/2 inches in diameter. The texture is added to some bars for additional safety.

·         Choose a bar 18 inches long or longer for vertical placement at the edge of the tub.

  •  When mounting at an angle, be sure to locate the studs to fasten the bar to and measure accordingly. Angled bars are usually 24 inches long.
  •  Choose a bar 32 inches long or longer for a horizontal bar.
  • Choose bars that are 1 1/2 inches in diameter.
  • Steer clear of bars that leave more than a 1 1/2-inch space between the bar and the wall.

Grab Bars In The Bathroom Are Not Just For Seniors.

Let’s consider the rest of the family and relatives who visit. Contrary to what many believe, seniors are not the only people who can benefit from using grab bars in the bathroom. When it comes to falls in the shower or bath, children are just as apt to slip as are seniors. So, consider the rest of your family in your choice. 

Shower stalls and bathtubs look quite safe, but accidents can happen no matter who is using them. Studies have shown that there are over 230,000 non-fatal bathroom falls each year in people over 15 years of age. Most bathtubs require you to step over the side that is usually about 18 inches high. Most stall showers have a 4-inch to the 5-inch-high lip that you must step over. For many people, this is not a problem. However, for those whose balance is not as good, such as children and older adults, this can be quite a problem. Luckily, there is a simple solution to this problem – grab bars.

No matter your age, having something to hold on to in the slippery and wet environment of a shower or bathtub makes good sense.

 

Here is a video on placements

 Grab Bar Comparisons

Information created on 1/21/2019. Prices and the number of reviews can change.

* 0 = severe impairment 1 = moderate impairment 2 = mild impairment 3 = normal ambulation. Click here for a description 

Suction Cup Grab Bar Comparisons

Information created on 1/21/2019 Prices and the number of reviews can change.

* 0 = severe impairment 1 = moderate impairment 2 = mild impairment 3 = normal ambulation. Click here for a description

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