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.
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.
If 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.
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!
Your 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.
Vertical 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 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.
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.