How To Install Grab Bars: A Do-It-Yourself Guide
Installing grab bars is one way of providing extra safety in the bathroom when walking on wet and slippery surfaces. Properly installed grab bars do wonders when providing the necessary support. However, learning how to install grab bars may not be as easy as you might expect. Lucky for you, we’ve got the necessary guidelines and some basic tips when trying to install one.
On most occasions, grab bars can hold weight up to 250 pounds, giving you that much-needed protection from unwanted falls. Also, grab grabs bars come in various shapes and sizes depending on the need of the owner. Getting in and out of the bathroom or the toilet with the help of grab bars will easily help you maneuver around the bathroom.
Getting Started: The Steps for Grab Bar Installation
Grab bar installation could be costly if you hire someone to do it for you. Why would you even let someone do it when you can perfectly do it yourself? Here are the useful and easy steps on how to install grab bars in your bathroom for added safety. Pay attention to the steps because everything is vital.
Step 1: Preparing Your Materials
Before we start, it is important to gather all the necessary tools and equipment. These include:
- Pencil or any Marker
- Masking tape
- Electric Drill
- Newly-purchased grab bar
- Drill bits specifically for tiles. One for the wall anchors, and one for the pilot holes
- Wood bit for the pilot holes in the wall studs
- Philipps Screwdriver
- Wall screws for the mounting through the tile and cement board
- Additional wood screws when mounting onto a wall stud
- Silicone caulk
Step 2: Examining the Grab Bar Kit
When you purchased a new grab bar kit, it is important to take out everything in the box and examine them. Always check what’s included in the box, especially screws, and whether the bar is in excellent condition.
Step 3: Determining the Location
This will solely depend on who is using it, and the location of your wall studs, if you plan on mounting it to them. In general, the rule of thumb if you want to know how to install grab bars in your bathroom should be waist level.
- In some cases wherein the wall is not tiled, use a stud locator to trace the two studs needed for the grab bars to be screwed on to. Studs usually are placed between 16 to 18 inches apart. Find both edges of the studs and mark each center using a pen. Be sure to mark the hold in the center of the studs. Don’t screw them on the edges as it does not provide enough strength and could crack the entire studs.
- If the wall is tiled, but not through the ceiling, you can still use a stud finder to locate that studs above. However, if there happens to be a cement board where it is located to the location where you will mount the grab bars, you may not need the mount them onto the wall studs.
- If the wall is tiled up to the ceiling, a stud finder may be useless. Cement boards often cover tiled walls, and stud finders cannot locate studs around it and through the tile. By this, the grab bars should be mounted onto a wall anchor in the cement board, like normal grabs are.
Step 4: Marking the Location for Your Screws
If you have already located the studs above the tiles, use a level with a size of 46” to 48”. This is to find their location where the grab bar should be mounted. If the wall is tiled, place masking tape on the location where you will find the holes. This is for the drill bit to keep on sliding when you punch a hole onto it, and it also prevents the tile from cracking entirely.
Step 5: Pre-Drilling the Holes
Once you already placed a masking tape, mark the tape before drilling the holes. If the wall is tiled, drill pilot holes that are smaller than the original size, be sure that both bits are specifically for tiles and glass. Most wall anchors recommend the appropriate hole size before drilling. If you are mounting through a wall stud, drill the tile with a tile bit, then drill holes in the stud with a bit.
Step 6: Securing the Grab Bar
When you have successfully drilled a hole onto the tile, it is appropriate to screw the grab bars in. Some people might find it hard to drive the screw deeper with a normal screwdriver. It might be an idea to drive them using a screw bit. Usually, grab bars have three screws in both ends of the grab bar, secure them tightly.
Step 7: Sealing
Once you are done screwing and tightening all the screws, seal them with silicone caulk. This is to keep water from penetrating inside the screws, and the drilled holes.
Step 8: Testing
Once you sealed everything. Give it around a day or two before trying to test the entire grab bar. Then put a little force when pulling the grab bar, if the grab bar doesn’t budge, then it is good to go!
The Useful Tips for Grab Bar Installation
It is always essential if you know some of the guidelines of grab bar installation. Here are some tips that you must be aware of when you want to learn how to install grab bars for your bathroom.
- Be sure to drill carefully, and slowly, you might want to avoid cracking the entire tile and replacing a new one.
- One good feature of grab bars is their surface. Non-slip surface is proven effective when trying to hold onto it without the fear of losing grip.
- Most grab bars need three holes in both sides to be screwed. Be sure to tighten them according to your liking.
- When drilling holes, be sure to be very meticulous. You don’t want your tiles looking like Dalmatians with their spots. Use smaller bits to drill pilot holes.
Grab bars are an essential component in your bathroom, and it comes with a lot of uses. They protect from slips and falls, but they also help improve the quality of life, especially for the elderly and disabled. Learning how to install grab bars is a simple and easy task, especially if you have all the necessary tools.
Remember, the bathroom is a very dangerous place to walk in, especially when it is wet and slippery. Grab bars can help us in so many ways possible. We should emphasize the safety and protection of our family when going to the bathroom, and installing a grab bar can be proven beneficial in long term usage.
July 19, 2020
It might be difficult to place a grab bar inside a fiberglass shower since there usually is a gap between the shower and the wall frame.