Home Improvement Project
Installing Bathroom Grab Bars

Getting in and out of a shower isn't always easy even when you're fit and able. If you have a sore knee or a sprained ankle, you may find it nearly impossible to maneuver safely without a secure handle. Here's a guite to help you install a Grab Bar properly.

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LiveSafe Mounting System

2 LiveSafe Flanges and 2 LiveSafe Hollow Wall Anchors FREE in the box with every Grabcessories purchase 4 with the Grab Bar Towel Shelf

MOUNT GRAB BARS DIRECTLY TO "IN WALL" WOOD STUDS WHENEVER POSSIBLE.. IF NOT POSSIBLE, WINGITS AND TOGGLERS ARE A VERY GOOD ALTERNATIVE. DO NOT USE PLASTIC MOLLIES/WALL PLUGS. THESE ALONE WILL NOT SECURE YOUR GRAB BAR PROPERLY

1
SHOWER
Install a vertical grab bar inside your shower 18 to 24 inches from the showerhead end. If you're installing a grab bar for someone with an injury or disability, have that person help you find the best location.

2
BATHTUB
Inside a bathtub enclosure, position a grab bar horizontally, approximately 36 inches from the bottom of the tub, so that a bather can use the bar to help raise himself from a seated position.

3
GRAB BAR INSTALLATION NOTES:

We recommend that you hire a professional to install your wall mounted grab bar(s).

If you are qualified to install the grab bar(s) yourself, you should carefully follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer. This article provides information on the proper installation and positioning of wall mounted grab bars.

Never anchor a grab bar into drywall , it will not hold and you could be seriously injured.

How to properly install a grab bar is to screw it into the wall studs or to blocking in your walls. If your walls don't have blocking, add it by nailing a piece of plywood into the studs. The plywood should be ¾ inches thick and 6 to 12 inches wide.

A grab bar should have 1-½" of clearance from the wall .

Wall mounted grab bars come in several lengths . Deciding which length to install depends on how the grab bar will be used. For example, if you're putting a main grab bar on the side wall of a bathroom tub enclosure a grab bar at least 24 inches long is best. If you're adding a second grab bar for support on the shower head wall, it should be at least 12 inches long.

Horizontal grab bars offer better leverage when you are trying to get out of a bathtub or up and down from a toilet, but a grab bar placed at a 45 degree angle to the toilet or bathtub's rim is better when trying to accommodate people of different heights .

Angling your grab bar has an additional advantage. A 24 inch bar installed at a 45 degree angle will exactly span wall studs spaced 16 inches apart, and you can screw into the studs on each end for maximum support.

Horizontal grab bars should be located 33 to 36 inches above the finished floor around toilets, and 33 to 36 inches above the floor of the bathtub (7 to 11 inches above the rim) and close enough to the shower head wall to support you when adjusting water temperature.


Don't be tempted to use any old towel bar. Get the best quality grab bar you can afford and install it either with a blind fastening system or with blocking in the wall. Do not rely on wall anchors.

4

USE WINGITS FOR MOUNTING THE BAR

The WingIts anchors flare out behind the wall to hold firmly. You should install the fastener on a sound wall made of 5/8-inch-thick wallboard or tile over plaster, cement board, or 1/2-inch wallboard.

Details and purchase here


5
TOOLS NEEDED TO INSTALL THE BAR

To install WingIts grab bar system, you need the following tools:

  • Electric drill with 1/8-inch masonry bit and 1-1/4-inch carbide-tipped hole saw
  • Felt-tipped pen
  • Measuring tape
  • Rubber mallet or hammer
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Screwdriver


6
HERE'S HOW TO INSTALL THE BAR

1. Locate the 1-1/4 inch mounting holes so that the center of the grab bar fastener slides into the holes.

2. Measure from the inside of one bar flange to the outside of the other to find the center-to-center distance or the distance the 1-1/4-inch mounting holes should be spaced apart.

3. After making sure that the wall surface is clean, mark the location of the mounting holes with a felt-tipped pen.

4. Use a masonry bit to drill a 1/8-inch pilot hole through the surround, whether it be tile or another material, at each mark.

5. Hold the grab bar, with fasteners attached, to the wall to check that the pilot holes line up with the centers of the fasteners.

6. To cut holes in tile use a 1-1/4-inch diamond-tipped hole saw to enlarge the pilot holes.

Diamond saws are very pricy for one-time use. Although you can use a less expensive carbide hole saw for plastic surrounds and some soft tiles, it may not cut through a hard tile.

In lieu of using a holes saw in hard tile, you can drill a series of very closely spaced holes at the perimeter with a carbide masonry bit and use a cold chisel to carefully chip out the waste. A hammer-drill, which adds a high-speed hammering action to the turning drill bit, makes that job go very quickly.

If you hit a wall stud while drilling a hole, you can mount the grab bar directly to the wall stud with 2-1/2-inch-long #12 stainless steel screws rather than the fastener.

7. Use a screwdriver to back the bolt out of the fastener until the end of it is flush with the nut at the opposite end of the fitting.

8. Temporarily install the fasteners to the ends of the grab bar with the stainless steel screws provided.

9. Wipe the wall surface around these holes with rubbing alcohol so that the tape sticks to it.

10. Remove the paper that covers the adhesive on the faceplate.

11. Insert the fasteners into the holes in the wall while they're attached to the grab bar.

12. Press the grab bar tightly toward the wall for a moment so that the fasteners can adhere to the wall in the correct position.

13. Remove the grab bar from the fasteners and use a screwdriver to firmly and quickly punch the head of the bolt toward the faceplate. You can also hit the screw gently but firmly with a rubber mallet or hammer.

14. Simultaneously pull on the bolt and tighten it by hand. Use a screwdriver to tighten the bolt very tight.

15. Attach the grab bar to the fasteners with the stainless steel screws.

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