Installing Grab Bars and Shower Bars
Most falls occur in the bathroom. These falls can be prevented by having shower bars installed in the shower, tub area and around the toilet. Grab bars provide support and stability when getting in and out of the shower. Shower bars are also called shower rails, bathroom grab bars, bathroom bars, toilet rails, shower grab bar or tub bar.
Length: The minimum length for a grab bar is 18 inches long. A tub grab bar should be about 48 inches long. The diameter of bars should be between 1 1/4 inches to 1 1/2 inches.
Height: In a shower the shower rail should be about 36 inches above the floor. For a bathtub, two tub grab bars should be installed one 9 inches above the tub and the second 33 inches to 36 inches above the floor. At the end of the bathtub install a 24 inch grab bar between 33 inches and 36 inches above the floor.
Styles: Shower bars come in chrome, nickel or brass, making it easy to coordinate with your decorating style. One style of grab bar is mounted on a pole which allows you to hold unto the grab bar and pivots as you move in and out of the tub. Shower bars also come in L shape to allow more flexibility in the bathing area.
Installation: Always install the shower bars into the studs or an area where the wall has been reinforced. Use the recommended hardware to install the shower rails. Most bathroom grab bars are installed horizontally. The maximum distance to install a grab bar outside of the tub is 12 inches away from the tub.
Tips: Check the weight capacity for the grab bar. Look for a label on the grab bars for ADA compliance.
Warning: Never use a towel bar as a grab bar. Towel bars are not anchored into the wall securely and easily detach causing injury.