Wall mounted grab bars are available in a variety of lengths, usually ranging from 12 to 32 inches. Right and left angle bars are also available as well as other special configurations. Wall grab bars are available in nylon polymer coating, stainless steel, and chrome plated steel.
When placed in strategic positions wall bars offer physically challenged individuals a great degree of safety. They may provide assistance in areas of the bathroom other than just the bathtub or shower area.
The quality of the wall grab bar and proper installation are critical. With the proper tools an individual with good basic "do it yourself" skills should have little difficulty making safe, secure installations. These general guidelines may be helpful.
- An electric drill (Preferably slow speed, it must have a chuck capacity to accommodate at least a 9/16" masonry bit.)
- A 1/4" Masonry Bit
- A 9/16" Masonry Bit (May have 1/2" turned down shank)
- A 1/8" Standard Drill Bit
- A Felt Tip Marker
- Assorted Screw Drivers
- A Hammer
- A Punch (MUST BE VERY SHARP)
Although not absolutely essential, an electronic stud locator is also a very handy device for wall grab bar installation.
Please read through these instructions carefully and completely before starting the installation.
Locate proper placement of grab bars to provide maximum assistance to the user. Ideally, have the fully dressed user get into the dry bathtub and simulate use of the grab bars to determine the best location. Once the proper location has been determined mark the holes in the grab bar flange on the tile wall with a felt tip marker.
Carefully and lightly chip the glaze on the tile at the hole markings with a SHARP punch and a hammer.
Using an electric drill and a 1/4" masonry bit, carefully drill a hole through the tile and dry wall material behind the tile. If you hit a stud (indicated by wood shaving after penetrating the dry wall material), stop drilling, change to a 1/8" drill bit and finish drilling a pilot hole into the stud. That hole is ready for use with a long wood screw. The best choice of wood screws is stainless steel, as long as possible, up to 4 inches, with a pan head.
If you do not hit a stud, re-drill the hole using a 9/16" masonry bit to accommodate a 1/4" toggle bolt (preferably stainless steel). When purchasing the toggle bolts, check the markings on the "butterfly" for the size of the hole required. Some 1/4" toggle bolts can be accommodated by a 1/2" hole. It is obvious that the smallest hole that will accommodate the toggle bolt is preferable. The hole should never be larger than 9/16" because, in all probability, it would not be completely covered by the flange of the grab bar. Care must be exercised in positioning the holes to avoid the edge of the hole from extending beyond the edge of the flange.
An electronic stud locator is very helpful in many ways. When the proper location for the grab bar is determined, the wall can be checked for stud locations. If the hole will be near the edge of a stud, the grab bar can usually be shifted slightly, without impairing its helpfulness to the user. It is always preferable to mount grab bars into studs if this can be done without significantly reducing the effectiveness of the bar for the user. The electronic stud locator is also helpful in avoiding electrical wiring and/or water pipes hidden behind the wall.
NOTES AND PRECAUTIONS:
Installers of the wall grab bars should be cognizant of several precautions.
Homes built since the late fifties usually have dry wall construction and present few problems with grab bar installation. If there is reason to believe the walls are other than dry wall, (for example, wire mesh and plaster), it is wise to determine this before starting the installation. Temporarily removing a wall switch plate at receptacle cover will usually allow you to determine the construction of the wall.
If the wall is plaster and wire mesh, a great deal of caution must be exercised. The drill bit can easily hang in the wire mesh and result in breaking one or more pieces of the tile. Unless you have replacement pieces of the tile, and understand the risk, it may be wise not to proceed. Also, this type of wall construction frequently deteriorates over the years and may not be strong enough to provide a secure installation. Remember, this is generally a problem only in older homes. If there is any reason to doubt that a safe, secure installation can be expected, it is wise not to even begin the procedure. If the integrity of the wall is questionable the only solution may be mounting only to wall studs.
*** In the interest of Patient Safety we recommend hiring a professional contractor for installation***