Grab Bar

Category: Maintenance
Safe Installation

Dear Maintenance Men:

One of my residents is requesting a grab bar for the shower/tub. What do I need to get and how do I install it safely?


Dear Bob:

This is a subject that is surfacing more and more as our residents are getting older. The use of handrails and safety bars helps provide stability and extra support required by the elderly and people with limited mobility. Shower and bathroom safety grab bars are available in a wide variety of configurations, colors, and finishes. The most common is the stainless steel or chrome finish.

Installation of grab bars must be done securely. The bars must be able to support a dead weight pull of 250 pounds. The preferred method is to bolt directly into the wall studs. This is not always practical, as the stud might not line up where they are needed. Grab bars can be mounted vertically or at an angle to match wall stud spacing. Horizontal installation can be difficult because stud spacing and bar size do not always match. If finding studs becomes a problem, alternate installation methods are available. If your walls are in good condition and have not been compromised by water intrusion, you may use large toggle bolts or if you have access to the backside of the shower or bath walls, insert a backer plate or add a new stud for an anchor point. Safety grab bars can be found at any local hardware store. 

Frank Alvarez Buffalo Maintenance, Inc.

Jerry L’Ecuyer Real Estate Broker involved with apartments since 1988