According to a report published by CDC (Center for Disease Control), more than 235,000 people above 15 visit the emergency rooms due to suffering injuries in the bathroom.
These numbers are growing higher, making bathroom safety paramount. Even if you have a non-slippery floor, there’s a chance of slipping on the wet and soapy floor.
So, what’s the solution to avert any bathroom injuries? Well, the best solution is getting bathroom grab bars installed in the bathroom.
Here’s our guide on how to install bathroom grab bars. The guide even highlights the types of grab bars you can buy depending on your bathroom.
Let’s get started.
What are Bathroom Grab Bars?
So, you aren’t sure what a bathroom grab bar is? Or you haven’t seen one before? Well, a bathroom grab bar is a big handle that offers additional support to help you sit down and stand up from the toilet. Furthermore, the rail even enables you to move around easily on the tiled floor.
You can grab the bar when required to maintain your balance to prevent falling on the floor. Grab bars are available in a broad range of options, from heavy-duty to lightweight. So, you can select any safety bar depending on your preference.
Different Types of Bathroom Grab Bars
There isn’t just one type of bathroom grab bar available, so buying it can be challenging. When I was looking for a grab bar, I was not sure which one would suit my needs. And after extensive research, I was able to choose the right one.
Here are the types of grab bars with a brief that’ll help you make a decision.
1. Straight Grab Bars
As it is evident from the name, these grab bars are straight and long. Typically mounted on a fixed location, straight bars are ideal for installation near the toilet or around the showering area.
2. L-shaped Grab Bars
L-shaped bars look like a big L, so you get ample support due to the bigger size. Suitable for installing around shower areas and tubs, these bars offer a range of gripping options. You can even install them near the entry and exit of the bathroom.
3. Suction-mounted Grab Bar
Usually, grab bars need nuts and bolts for installations. If you don’t want to drill on the bathroom walls, suction-mounted grab bars should be your choice. You can install the bar anywhere, just push it against the wall, and you are good to go.
Ideal for residential bathrooms, suction-mounted grab bars are great to get more balance while walking. If you have an elderly in the house that needs additional support while bathing, you should choose suction bars.
An Important Note: Suction grab bars cannot withstand a lot of weight, so be sure not to use them for the load-bearing task such as getting up from the toilet.
4. Adjustable Grab Bars
If you have multiple people at home with some special needs, go for adjustable grab bars. These bars can be quickly adjusted depending on the need of people. Some folks even call them flexible bars due to the freedom to adjust the gripping area.
There is no need to use multiple grab bars, as only one adjustable bar will do the job.
5. U-shaped Grab Bars
Extending from the wall, these grab bars look like an elliptical loop. If you need multiple gripping positions, going for U-shaped grab bars makes sense. These bars offer great support, and you can use nearby the toilet to get up and sit down with added comfort.
Positioning Your Safety Grab Bars
It is essential to position the safety bar accurately, so you get good support from it. But where to install the grab bar is always the biggest question. There are numerous places inside the bathroom, but you can’t install it just anywhere.
Use a grab bar and a measuring tape when deciding the position. Place the grab bar where you want to install it, like near the toilet or the bathtub.
Place an 18-24 inches long bar vertically on the wall, while it should be 32-38 inches above the floor. The bar should be easily accessible to the person sitting on the toilet. It would be great to install the bar on the wall adjacent to the toilet as it will offer support while sitting and standing.
If you don’t have an adjacent wall near the toilet, get two bars installed on both sides of the toilet.
In the case of a bathtub, position the safety bar from 32″ to 38″ from the bathroom’s floor or the tub’s bottom.
Typical bathroom grab bars are 16-32 inches, and they are great for installing with studs 16″ apart on center. Place the bar in different positions, and figure out if it’s easily accessible and fits with the studs properly.
How to Install Bathroom Grab Bars – Step by Step
So you have figured out the position of the grab bar? Now get ready with the tools and equipment to install the bathroom grab bar like a pro.
Tools Required to Install Grab Bars
You need several tools to install a grab bar perfectly. It would be great to have all the tools in one place to install the safety bar without any hassles.
Here’s what tools you need:
- Measuring tape
- Plumber’s tape
- Electric drill
- Tile/glass drill bits
- Silicone caulk
- Caulking gun
Bathroom Grab Bars Installation Guide
Step 1: Mark the Mounting Hole
Once you are sure about the position of the grab bar, it is recommended to mark the mounting holes. Marking the holes will help you drill exactly where you want to install the safety bar.
Take a plumber’s tape to mark the holes, and check the level beforehand drilling the holes.
Step 2: Drill the Holes into the Studs
It’s essential to install the grab bar into the studs, so find the wall studs before drilling holes. Now take an electric drill, and use the right bit to avoid damaging the wall. Position the drill exactly on the points marked using the plumber’s tape and drill holes carefully.
If you are drilling holes on a tile, be gentle as the tiles get cracked easily.
Step 3: Apply Silicone Caulk
Get the bathroom grab bar ready for installation by applying silicone caulk on both mounting plates. The silicone caulk enhances the hold of the grab bar while creating a watertight seal around it.
Apply small dots of caulk on the entire mounting plate, and then get ready to install the grab bar.
Step 4: Place the Bar on the Holes
Now place the bar on the holes, and put screws through the mounting plate. Tighten the screws using a screwdriver to install the grab bar securely. Now slide the escutcheons on the mounting plate, and make sure it snaps properly in place.
Step 5: Clean the Mess
Sometimes the silicone caulk comes out from the sides of the mounting plate. Use a scraper to remove the excessive caulk before it hardens. Do the other basic cleaning to make your bathroom spotlessly clean, and enjoy using the new shower grab bar.
Q1: How much does it Cost to Install a Grab Bar in the Bathroom?
A1: The grab bar installation cost depends on several factors, such as the type of grab bar you are buying and its installation process. As per HowMuch.net, the cost of installing one bathroom grab bar can be around $230-300.
This includes the cost of hiring a plumbing guy. If you install the grab bar using our DIY guide, then the cost will be somewhere around $150-170.
Q2: Are Suction Grab Bars Safe?
A2: Suction bars are trending among homeowners because they don’t need any drilling or strenuous installation. However, the load-bearing capacity of these bars isn’t that great. You can use bathroom grab bars just to get balance while walking in the bathroom.
These bars aren’t great for getting up from the toilet.
Q3: Should I call a Plumber to Install a Grab Bar?
A3: There’s no need to call a plumbing guy if you follow this complete guide to installing a grab bar. However, if you have a busy schedule and aren’t sure how to use a drill, you should call a plumbing technician.
Q4: Should Grab Bars be Vertical or Horizontal?
A4: It entirely depends on your requirements. If you are installing a grab bar near the bathing area to get additional support while walking, install the bar horizontally. However, if you are installing the bar near the toilet, install it vertically.
With this how to install bathroom grab bars guide, you can quickly install any type of grab bar. Just follow the steps one by one, and you can install the grab bar properly within an hour. Before leaving the bathroom, inspect the grab bar carefully.
Lastly, make sure to wear protective gear, i.e. safety glasses, to avoid flying debris from hurting your eyes.