Where to Install Bath Bars

Bathrooms can be a challenge to navigate as people get older. Simply sitting down on and rising from the toilet or getting in and out of the shower can be difficult tasks, as balance and strength decreases.

In these instances, a grab bar is a necessary addition for toilets, showers, and tubs.

How to Select a Grab Bar

To make the bathroom safer for elderly or disabled occupants, grab bars are necessary installations. They’re relatively inexpensive, between $15 and $50 depending on the specific model you choose.

They’re also available in many sizes and materials, along with different colors and finishes such as stainless steel and chrome, with textured surface options for a better grip.

ceiling light

A majority of grab bars have a diameter that works well for both hands, but the surface is one of the most important considerations. Ideally, the grab bar will include a textured surface such as knurls or ridges.

Installing the Grab Bar

It’s important to find the most convenient and safest place to install the grab bar. Make sure the bar is visible under the ceiling lights.

The first step when installing should be to make sure it’s firmly attached to the wall. Most specifications—including ones from the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)—recommend attaching grab bars by driving screws into wall studs.

To find studs behind the wall, you can use a stud finder, most of which are affordable and easy to find. These tools locate both sides of each stud. You can start by lightly marking the walls with pencil and then determine the lengths required based on the space between the studs.

bathroom grab bar

Recommendations for Specific Areas

Depending on where you want to install the grab bar, there are certain specification you’ll want to meet.

Toilets

Install two two bars on the toilet wall, with one parallel to the floor and about five to six inches above the seat, extending at least 32 inches long and 12 inches past the front of the toilet bowl. The other bar should be perpendicular to the end of the horizontal bar, extending at least 16 inches above it.

Stall Showers

Stall showers and bath/shower combos will use roughly the same setup for grab bars. However, there are some differences.

A vertical bar should go inside the shower door where the door shuts, which could be on either end of the wall based on how the door is hung. The purpose of this bar is to make it easier to step between the shower and bathroom floors.

Two other waist-high bars will be placed horizontally along the side wall, which individuals can use by reaching with one hand while the other hand holds onto the entry bar. Another bar will be installed vertically on the wall where the faucet is, beside the faucet handles.

What to do about Combos

For bath/shower combos, the setup will mostly be the same, with the key difference being the placement of the vertical entry bar on the wall opposite the faucet. The horizontal bar should also be longer and installed lower, leaving about 30 inches of space between the bar and the floor.

Following these steps, you can properly install a reliable grab bar setup that makes bathroom navigation easier and more efficient.

2 Comments

  1. Beth

    I redid my bathroom a few months ago and still need to install a couple bars. I will do that this weekend.

    Reply
  2. Karl

    I didn’t know these bars were inexpensive to buy. I am gonna go to the store right now to find them.

    Reply

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