How to Install Bathroom Grab Bars
Bathroom grab bars are great to install near your bath or in your shower in order to prevent you from that freak slide that might just cause a bruise, or heaven forbid, worse. However, if such bars aren’t installed properly, the injuries might result in a trip to the hospital.
Below are a few easy steps for you to ensure that your grab bar doesn’t slip right off the wall. It’s quick, easy and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
You’ll need: a hammer, a level, a drill and a few special drill bits. A stud sensor is optional if you want a rock solid result. NOTE: it is highly recommended to fastener to a stud or solid blocking.
Step 1: Find the studs near the area where you would want to install your bath bar. You can do this by using a stud sensor, but if you don’t have one, you can simply rap on the wall and where the sound changes from a hollow to a dull thud, you’ll know you’ve found your studs.
Step 2: Confirm the center of the studs by probing it with a nail until you find the edges of the stud. Should the wall extend all the way to the ceiling, drill 1/8 inch holes with a glass-and-tile or masonry bit in a horizontal grout line instead. You can patch these holes later with matching grout. Mark the edges of the stud by using your probing nail all along the tile line.
Step 3: Extend the lines from the tile line right down to where you would want the bar to be. It would be wise to use a level to do this and masking tape on the tiles to indicate the position of the studs.
Step 4: Place the bar according to the reason why you’re installing it in the first place. It is advised to position the bar at an angle, about 32 – 38 inches above the ground, so that the person can lower and lift themselves from in or out of the bath. This, however, is entirely up to you. Position the grab bar so that at least two of the screw holes are aligned with the studs. Mark each hole with a pencil.
Step 5: Enlarge the holes with a 1/4 inch bit and then use a 5/32 wood bit to drill pilot holes into the studs. Continue to caulk the back of the mounting bar with silicone caulk or tub-and-tile adhesive.
Steps 6: Insert a plastic anchor in the holes that miss the studs and continue to screw the bar into the wall until the screw is at least 1 inch in the stud. You can use no. 10 or 12 stainless steel pan head screws that are 2 inches long.
Step 7: Test the strength of the bath bar by giving it a good yank to see if it will hold.
Step 8: Enjoy a warm, stress free, safe bubble bath or steamy shower!
CLICK HERE for information on level-entry, barrier-free showers.
Here are a few bathroom projects that include grab bars from the Design Build Planners Network:
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