For elderly or disabled individuals, taking a bath or shower alone can be a severe hazard. Conversely, asking someone to help with the process can make the disabled or elderly person feel embarrassed. The ideal solution for most elderly or disabled person is to have grab rails installed in these areas to ensure they can safely take a bath or shower without additional assistance. However, successfully installing these elements can be a tricky thing to do. You do not have to be a professional contractor, but it does help to know a thing or two about installing grab rails to ensure that are sturdy enough to support the weight of the individual they are intended to help. Here is how to fit a grab rail in your shower or bath.

Different Styles of Rails

Before we talk about proper grab rail installation, we must address the various types of grab rails available. The type chosen will be based on the individual needs of the person requiring assistance in the bathroom. There are currently 4 types of grab rails available.

Horizontal Grab Rails

Horizontal grab rails are among the best solutions for bathrooms and showers as they provide adequate assistance without the risk of slipping. These rails are positioned in a way that offers substantial support for both lowering and raising from a bath or shower seat. They are generally located above the seated area and are angled to help effectively.

Vertical Grab Rails

These grab rails are designed to help assist individuals with standing and can act as a support while showering or getting in and out of the bath.

Inclined Grab Rails

With inclined grab rails, the weight of the individual is spread across a wider stance. The slight incline allows for essential support for the wrist and forearm when pushing up in the shower or bath. Inclined grab rails allow for additional support for entering or exiting the shower or bath.

Angled Grab Rails

Angled grab rails are angled upwards, away from the person. They are generally placed at a 45 degree angle to allow assistance as the person gradually stands up or lowers into a bath or shower. The orientation of the grab rail allows the person to maintain proper hand placement without having to lean into the railing system. Once standing, an angled grab rail offers support while showering or exiting the bath or shower.

Do Grab Bars Need to Be Installed in Studs?

It depends on the type of grab bars being installed. Permanent, fixed grab rail installation will require the installer to find the stud behind the shower or tub wall. Drilling directly into the wall without locating a stud will likely damage the wall and can lead to potential injury. The stud is the strongest space in the wall, so when installing a permanent grab rail, always locate the stud and only drill into that area.

How Do You Install Grab Rails Without Drilling?

Grab rails come in a wide range of styles and designs to accommodate almost any need. If you are leasing a space or unable to perform permanent changes to the property for any reason, suction cup grab bars might be the best solution. This type of grab bar is not always as strong as a permanent fixture, but they can be moved around the space as needed to assist any disabled or elderly individual at bath time. They can also be ideal for those temporarily taking care of a loved one during rehabilitation from an injury.

Can You Glue Grab Bars?

Gluing grab rails is not an ideal solution. Although industrial strength glues will hold in place, they will also place significant strain on the wall. Basically, every time the person uses the grab rail, they will be pulling directly on the dry wall, tile, or other wall materials and each pull risks the wall giving way from the strain. You should avoid gluing grab rails to showers and tub walls.

Do Suction Grab Bars Work on Tile?

It depends on the type of tyle used on the wall. Suction cup grab rails require a smooth, non-porous surface to attach to. They will not adhere correctly to porous wall materials or those that have small tiles. As long as the tile is large enough to cover the suction cup area completely, you can use them on the surface, but be careful to avoid damaging the tile as older mortar in tile work might be weakened. Always have your tile checked for optimal strength before placing a suction cup grab bar on it.

Grab bars are the best way to ensure a disabled or elderly individual is able to bathe, shower, and take care of their most intimate needs. Take the time to examine your loved one’s needs and determine the type of grab rail that is right for them and always install grab rails correctly.

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