Grab bar in alcove tub

rosiegoldenJuly 17, 2014

For our bathroom remodel, we are planning on putting a grab bar in the alcove tub/shower area. We are in our 50s and it may be useful at some point - in the meantime it is another place to hang a washcloth. :-)

There will be two niches on the long wall, one at showering height for shampoo, etc., and another at bathing height for soap and other bathing (versus showering) supplies. We will also have a corner soap dish at showering height. The grab bar will be just above the lower niche, at the level shown in the below photo.

My question is, what length should the grab bar be? Given that it will be on the long wall, just above the lower niche, I think probably 24" (not 18"). I'm interested to know what others have done.

Thank you!

Transitional Bathroom by Juneau Architects & Building Designers Bauer Clifton Interiors

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I think you're right on the 24". Have you considered mounting it on a diagonal? That allows for a stander to have a balance point and a sitter to have a place to pull up.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 2:47PM
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Thank you, Suzannesl. I had not considered mounting it on the diagonal but am hesitant to do so, based on Internet photos. It looks more "hospital"-like to me than a straight horizontal mount does. Do you think it makes much difference?

FWIW, DH and I shower in our master bath (which also has a grab bar).

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 3:32PM
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My recently remodeled bath is pretty much the same layout as in the photo. I didn't add a grab bar but I should have.

I have a single niche, at shower height, on the left, at the rear of the tub. I notice that when I exit the tub, having taken a shower, I steady myself with the edge of the niche. I realize it isn't support, but it feels safer. IOW, I think the place you've proposed the bar will be good for sitting/standing, but also consider having something to grab when you leave the tub.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 4:21PM
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I recall reading something, some where, last year or so, that recommended you should not put a tub bar on the diagonal as it will not allow you to pull yourself up, because your hand my slip down the slope. I don't know where I read that but it made sense to me. I have a horizontal bar at my tub, similar to the one you show in your pic. I also have a mounted bar at the back of my tub at a high height, to use as a towel bar, thinking that if I fell, I'd want something other than a towel bar to bear my falling weight.

With my new bathroom I have the blocking to mount a long bar along my long wall. It is a 60"x36" shower in an alcove. I was also going to put an 18" vertical bar at the entry but won't now, due to the shower door layout. But I like the idea of a vertical bar at the head of the shower to hold onto while getting into the shower, especially if climbing over a tub.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 11:59PM
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I just spent a long time going over pictures of grab bar placement for our new tub. I didn't spend a lot of time on the ones on the back (long) wall because we didn't put one there. Like the OP, the grab bar is a "one day it may be useful" thing. In any case, the recommendations for the long wall were almost all diagonal placements to assist users both sitting and standing. Some grab bars come with a textured surface to help with the slippery surface.

In our tub/shower, we were torn between placing a vertical bar at the faucet end of the tub or the foot. Most illustrations (google "grab bar placement") show either one at both ends or faucet end only. We discussed it a bunch and did a survey of whoever we happened to be talking to and finally decided to go for the foot end. The reasoning is that once you get the shower going, you really don't want to enter the tub at the end directly into the spray. So that's where it is. Long decisions for something that seems easy on the face of it.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 9:54AM
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Another option - if you have a hand held shower bar at the faucet end, you can replace it with a grab/hand-held-shower bar combination. I bought mine from Jaclo. I figured if you slip while showering you are going to try to grab the shower bar, so might as well have one that will work as a grab bar too.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 1:15PM
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