Grab bars are one of the most convenient and affordable ways to design a safe and comfortable bathroom, especially if you have seniors at home. Not only do they help prevent injury but they make your restrooms more accessible. This is important as the bathroom is the site of many accidents, and the figures only get worse with age. According to Statistics Canada, in 2008-2009, 20% of Canadians aged 65 and older had a fall. That’s almost 862,000 seniors. By installing grab bars properly, you can add stability and increase safety in the shower and bathroom.
Mounting Grab Bars the Right Way
Contrary to what many believe, grab bars aren’t just for seniors. When it comes to preventing falls in the shower, they’re useful for adults and children as well. Even though showers and bathtubs may seem safe, stepping over the side of the tub can be problematic for some. Grab bars are a simple solution. The best part? You can install them in multiple places in your bathroom.
In a previous blog, we told you how to mount different bathroom accessories the right way. In this post, we inform you in detail about how to mount grab bars.
Choosing the Right Size
Grab bars generally range in size between 12” and 48”. Diameter is also important, with the usual measurement being 30-40 mm (1 ¼–1 ½”), according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. You also need to make sure that there’s a space of 35-45 mm (1 ⅜–1 ⅝”) between the bars and wall and sufficient clearance above so they can be easily grasped.
An interesting thing to note: the true length of the grab bars is often at least 3” longer than the size you will choose. This is to provide the space for the circular rims on each side of the metal beam.
Choose grab bars that are 18-24” long and have a diameter of 1 ½”. The longer bars are easier to place vertically at the edge of the bathtub. For horizontal bars, choose ones that are 32” or longer.
Picking the Right Places
When you’re getting grab bars for your shower, tub or toilet area, there are few things to consider.
Mount Grab Bars to Wall Studs, Not Drywall
The main purpose of grab bars is to provide stability when you’re in the tub, shower or toilet. The CSA Standard B651 requires that grab bars are mounted in such a way that they can support up to 133 kg or 290 lbs. That’s why the height, weight and ability of users need to be taken into account.
A distance of 33-36” is generally kept between the grab bars and shower floor, but you can adjust according to your needs. Remember that this bathroom accessory can be mounted vertically, horizontally or at an angle, so make the necessary adjustments. However, the important thing is to always install them in wall studs, not on the drywall itself.
Install Them Where They Can Be the Most Useful
Grab bars are meant to prevent slipping and provide you with the convenience of easier movement within the shower. When remodelling, it helps to know which locations are best suited for the grab bars to be most useful.
When installing grab bars, make sure they’re mounted on the back wall and control wall of the shower stall. On the back wall, you can install two bars. For example, the horizontal bars on the walls can be used for getting in and out of the tub, while the vertical ones can be used as a support to help you turn the water on and off.
In the case of walk-in showers, grab bars can be installed on the side wall, back wall or on a side wall near the toilet. Here too you can add two grab bars: one vertically and one at an angle near the toilet.
Many tubs don’t come with built-in grab bars but you can get them installed. We recommend mounting them near the tub to help you maintain better balance.
You need to install grab bars near the toilet for added support. In this case, fold-down grab bars are helpful, especially if there are no walls beside the toilet.
Before installing grab bars, go through your bathroom routine to understand which areas need the extra support. Even if you’re physically capable, they can still prove to be useful. A great choice is to consult a shower expert who can offer a more personalized home modification for increased safety and functionality.