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INTERIOR DESIGN - Proper Placement of Shower Grab Bars


Are you designing a new bathroom or planning to remodel a bathroom?  You may be young and healthy so you don't think this is an important issue, but grab bars come in handy for all of us at one time or another. 

shower, showers, shower safety, grab bars, grab bar safety The elderly who are frail come to mind when you mention grab bars, but they are helpful for children who may not be steady on their feet, for someone with the flu or some other temporary illness and people recovering from surgery also.


safety grab bars, grab bar installation, grab bar placement, shower grab barsIf you are remodeling a bathroom, I strongly urge you to install backing (solid wood between the studs filling in the area where they will be mounted) in the wall for future grab bars.  You never know when the need may arise and if you are prepared, the installation will not be difficult.

easy install grab bars, temporary grab bars, no screw grab bars, no drill grab bars

I also strongly urge you not to be tempted to get by with the suction type that do not get permanently installed.  They will not be able to handle the dead weight of an adult and may give way when you need them the most! 


safely entering shower, shower grab bar for entry to shower, getting in and out of showerYour grab bars should be rated for at least 250 lbs. You do not want to risk the safety of your loved ones by skimping and although they may look like grab bard, towel rack are not a substitute and will not hold a person's weight.


grab bar weight bearing, shwer grab bar placement, vertical grab bars, vertical shower grab barsVertical Bars:  are mounted at the front of the shower so the bather can steady themselves getting into and out of the shower. They come in lengths of 12" to 24" and the bottom of the bar should be mounted at 32-36 inches above the floor. 


horizontal grab bars, horizontal grab bars for shower, horizontal grab bars in shower

Horizontal Bars:  are mounted at the back and sides of the shower so the bather can stabilize themselves.  They should be mounted 36"-38" above the shower floor. If there is a seat there should not be a grab bar behind it.


angled, grab bars, sloped grab bars, placement of shower grab bars, shower grab bar placement

Diagonal Bars: helps the bather raise and lower themselves from a bath chair or tub.  The slope helps accommodate people of different heights and reduces stress on the wrists.  This bar is mounted on the back wall and the bottom of it is 6-10" above the top of a tub in a tub shower combination or 18" above the seat if there is no tub.  It may be necessary to install a horizontal bar also so the individual can transfer from the diagonal bar to the horizontal bar before getting out of the shower.


These simple precautions can keep our families safe for years to come.


 Please call if I can be of any help!Interior Design, Accent on Design, Lila Levinson, ASID, CKD, CID, NCIDQ, IDG


408-369-9801 or e-mail me

Lila Levinson,ASID, CKD, CID, NCIDQ, IDG

contact Lila Levinson of Accent on Design



Lila's absolutely right. Put the backing between the studs during construction. You never know when you'll need the bars - my wife broke her pelvis on a bike ride. We didn't anticipate the need when we remodeled 17 years ago; didn't anticipate staying in the house this long (still love it). Tried the suction cup-bars - total failure. Bathing was complicated & miserable for 6 weeks.  
Also, when "senior" guests stayed at our vacation rentals the've been afraid to bathe without grab bars. They used heavy perfumes that are hard to remove from bedding after they leave..Grab bars now installed.  
For the last 7 years I've included full backing in all bathroom walls when building or remodeling. Buyers love this hidden but valuable detail.
Posted @ Wednesday, August 10, 2011 12:51 PM by Kevin Murphy
Thank, greeat photos and simple explanantions.
Posted @ Sunday, December 11, 2011 8:26 AM by Mandy
Many companies make attractive grab bars that coordinate with the rest of the bathroom fixture collection. We have a transitional style bathroom and used Moen "90 Degree" grab bars. It is much less of a "invalid" feel.
Posted @ Tuesday, July 22, 2014 4:04 PM by Anna Kieken
Article about placement of grab bars
Posted @ Thursday, April 23, 2015 7:36 AM by bob
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