Grab Bars

jackson2348April 4, 2014

Hi everyone, I'm planning my guest bath. My elderly parents will be frequent visitors, so I'm planning with their ease of use in mind.

I have a low tub and I'm planning to install a grab bar vertically close to the edge of the shower to help them step over. does this grab bar need to be textured? I'm thinking it should be, but have looked at several that are smooth and say ADA compliant. Seems like in a vertical installation their hand could slip more easily?

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We put these in our guest bath. The peened texture looks just like the rest of our brushed nickel fixtures in that room.
The look pretty bulky in this picture because I was so close to the subject but in person they look nice and the texture is safer IMO.

Here is a link that might be useful: grab bars

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 9:57AM
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Your vertical bar is a great idea. The peened finish is probably best, though I have polished stainless steel and it has been no problem for me. I have heard not to put the bars at a diagonal, such as at the tub area. I can't remember where I heard that. But it is because the hand could slip down the slope as one is trying to lift themselves up from a sitting position.

I added a bar at my tub so that when one is setting in the tub they can ease down or get up from sitting in the tub. Then, at the back end I put another grab bar to use as a towel bar, cause I know if I were to slip, I would grab what ever is around and hank it off the wall. I didn't need a bar at the entry to the bath because my counter acts as a ledge to rest the hand, as one steps into the tub. With my other bathroom I will be putting a vertical bar at my shower entry like you are doing.

Here is my first remodel:

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 12:34PM
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I did a fair amount of research into grab bars. (Still haven't installed ours, but the blocking is there). We intend to have two, one installed vertically just inside the shower door, and one installed at a 45 degree angle on the back wall to be used getting up and down off bench if needed.

I am posting the link of a Canadian study which very clearly states that for two bars, one vertical and one at 45 is the most preferred.

I bought these Moen grab bars which I have in brushed nickel, but with the grip pads on the underside, I think that even in chrome they would be OK. I like that they don't look quite so clinical as many others.

Here is a link that might be useful: Canadian grab bar study

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 5:06PM
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Don't forget bars by the toilet. I am not elderly, but have damaged knees (recovering from a knee replacement). We have a horizontal bar on each side of the toilet. One of the bars is a standard bar, the other is a TP holder that is also designed to be a grab bar. I *love* those grab bars!

I don't know about bars by the tub - we have a walk in shower.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 6:31PM
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I suggest you also consult your parents since they are the intended users. When my (elderly, frail, with health-issues) mom came to live with me, I asked her about it. She immediately said that if I intended to install the grab bars "like they have in the hospital" I shouldn't bother. She had very small, arthritic hands and the standard ADA bars were too thick for her. She did not feel secure with them because she couldn't get a good grip. I ended up getting thinner ones with cross hatching. She wanted a vertical one to steady herself while climbing into the tub (she used a shower chair) and one on a diagonal by the toilet.

In my bathroom remodel, I'm replacing both with some that are more stylish and shorter, with a square profile and even thinner. I'm not quite decrepit yet but will get there soon enough.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 6:49PM
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You don't need to be "decrepit" to use grab bars! If you ever wind up on crutches, you will probably need help getting off the "throne"! Maybe we need to start giving grab bars their just place as a very cool feature of our bathrooms - they aren't just for people who have one foot in the grave!

Since we built our new house last year, the grab bars in the bathroom have been one of the more admired features when people have come to visit!

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 6:59PM
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For the handheld shower head I am also using the type of slide bar that is thicker and functions as a grab bar. If you slip you will try to reach for whatever might help you, so I might as well make sure the slide bar will work for both functions.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 9:39PM
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Moen makes a 16" grab bar that has a shelf underneath for soap and shampoo. The shelf comes out for cleaning. We put this in our shower, underneath the the showerhead.

Here is a link that might be useful: Moen grab bar

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 10:01PM
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When I am building-in a tub and/or shower, I almost always put in 3/4 inch plywood as a full backing for the tile backer board and/or sheetrock walls (un-flat molded plastic shower walls are tough to block decently). I can't stand knowing I put blocking in the wrong location(s) and attempting to mount grab bars, either now or later, without a good backing is unfair to someone slipping and grabbing for support.

If you have them installed and the installer uses toggle bolts or any other kind of wall anchor, kick 'im out! Drywall screws are also not sufficient.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 10:17PM
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Thanks everyone for the information. We did put significant blocking for the vertical one now and to add a horizontal one later. I like the one rahelen posted. DreamingoftheUP, do you have a link to the thinner one you have? I'll be sure to ask my parents before the final purchase, that's a good tip!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 8:46AM
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chispa-Would you mind posting the bar you have used as both a grab bar and for the vertical bar for the handheld shower? We are also looking at this option.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 9:12AM
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I'm starting my master br reno this month and am also using a handheld shower slide bar which is also a 24" grab bar. Mine is from Delta and I got it from Home Depot (on line only). It comes with the grab bar, slide attachment and hose. You need to purchase the handheld and elbow separately. They also carry a matching regular 24" grab bar.

Here is a link that might be useful: Delta Handheld Slide/Grab bar

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 9:33AM
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I'm using the Kohler Margaux grab bars. They come in several different finishes, but not chrome, so I got the polished stainless steel. Compared to chrome, it's a little brown, similar to polished nickel, while chrome is bluer. Kohler's got 5 different styles of grab bars. See link below. Also take a look at - they've got tons as well.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kohler Grab Bars

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 11:07PM
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We installed a jaclo grab bar and handheld shower slide bar. Pricey, but very solid.

Here is a link that might be useful: Jaclo grab bar-slider bar

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 11:15PM
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Leela, the handheld/grab bar we have spec'd is also from Jaclo. Slightly different design from the one above. My local plumbing supply store has them in their showroom and the quality looks good and solid.

Here is a link that might be useful: Jaclo

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 5:03PM
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Thanks to you both chispa and crl. Jaclo bars are the ones I've been looking at-good to know you both like them.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 8:25PM
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we bought the Kohler Purist and they are actually very nice looking. I have tested them by pulling myself off the floor and they seem quite functional as I have small hands and they are not fat bars. They are smooth though and some people prefer some grip.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 12:12PM
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