Shower Grab Bars
We all want our homes to be the safest haven for our families. But what we don’t realize is that potential hazards or danger is lurking around the corners of our homes. These put us at risk for accidents and injuries. According to studies, the bathroom is one of the most dangerous places at home. One wrong slip may result in contusions, fractured bones, and hips, or worse, fatal head trauma that can lead to death. To reduce the risk of accidents from happening, we need to follow safety measures.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says:
An estimated 7 fall deaths every hour by 2030, as rates continue to rise every year. Moreover, falls among adults aged 65 and above are the most common and costly. Falls are also the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among older adults.
Good thing the risk of slipping, falling, or tripping in dangerous spaces can be prevented easily with bath room and shower grab bars. Other safety precautions can help reduce accidents and provide bathroom safety like:
- non-slip surfaces like textured or matte tiles
- non-skid mats
- proper lighting
- the right choice of tub’s height
Why Do Accidents Happen in the Bathroom
There are many causes why accidents mostly happen in these tricky spots of our homes. One common culprit is a combination of wet floors and smooth flooring. Soap-suds, tub height, shower lip thresholds, and rugs all add to the risk of slipping. Moreover, a person may be unaware of small and sharp objects like scissors, razors, tweezers, and nail files lurking on the floor. This can cause a person to slip too.
Accidents can happen to people no matter what age. Seniors, PWDs, pregnant women, and children are at a greater risk than most groups. As we age, we become frail and unsteady on our feet. Medications and other health conditions can cause dizziness. This also increases the risk of slips and falls when using the bathroom.
Further Research and Study
The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) says 65 and older are most-prone to bath-room and shower accidents :
“The most hazardous activities for all ages are bathing, showering and getting out of the tub or shower. (Only 2.2 percent of injuries occur while getting into the tub or shower, but 9.8 percent occur while getting out.) Injuries in or near the bathtub or shower account for more than two-thirds of emergency room visits.”
Grab bars installed in these danger spots would be helpful not only for aging people or with disabilities, but for all users no matter what age.
Where Should Grab Bars be Placed in a Shower?
Some people are reluctant to take a shower or use the bathtub because they may have fallen or slipped in the past. Good thing, grab bars can support them to maintain their balance in these slippery spots. A grab bar is particularly useful when the tub is too high for a user to step over its side. It’s also a struggle for people with balance problems or sure-footedness to take a bath. Especially when shower stalls have a lip or threshold that they must step over. Thankfully, grab bars are there to save the day.
Today, many of these grab bars have become more stylish and trendy, without the institutional finish or look. This is a good option for homeowners to add safety bars, without worry that these products will ruin the house interiors.
When installing shower grab bars, it's best to consider these
01 Choose an ADA-compliant grab bar with the correct dimensions.
02 Make sure to get bathroom grab bars that can bear a 250 lbs. direct weight or more. Most grab bars available in the market exceed ADA standards with up to 500 lbs.
03  Use at least 2 bathroom grab bars for shower stalls. A vertical bar and a horizontal or diagonal bar installed on the sidewall.
04 Choose a sturdy type of bar with screws for secure wall mounting. Avoid using suction cup types as much as possible as they can't hold a person's full body weight.
05 Choose durable and corrosion-resistant grab bars, made from stainless steel or other steel bars like brass or bronze.
06 Opt for safety grab bars with a textured surface or non-slip feature for added grip and stability.
07 Make sure you install grab bars according to product specifications. A grab bar comes with an instruction manual and most of them are easy to install, you can even do it yourself. Simply follow the instructions for proper installation. Or watch a video tutorial for safety precautions.
Where Exactly to Place Grab bars?
Don’t know where to place a grab bar in your shower or bathtub? Don’t worry. We got you covered. Consider these common locations of grab bars for maximum safety:
- A vertical grab bar should be installed near the entrance or close to the shower door jamb.
- Install a horizontal grab bar on the side wall with a standard height of 33-36 inches above the floor.
- Use a vertical type of grab bar on the wall or near the faucet handles. This helps a person standing while turning the shower knob or when getting in and out of the shower.
- For showers with a seat, you can choose to install a diagonal grab bar for an easier angled-grip. An inclined grab bar is good for people with arthritis as it doesn’t contort the wrist when holding onto it.
- For a bathtub and shower combo-type, a vertical bar is one of the best options. It helps a person when standing and showering for added stability and support.
- For bathtub safety, install a horizontal grab bar near the sidewall to help users get in or out of the tub. For a bathtub without built-in handrails, 2 horizontal bars are installed on the side wall. While a shorter bar at the foot of the tub. A standard height of 33-36 inches applies. The grab bars on the side help users lower themselves to a sitting position at the bottom of the tub or transfer to a wheelchair.
- Grab bars differ in sizes and diameters. Length varies from 9 inches up to 36 inches for shorter vertical bars. Longer grab bars start from 16 inches to 42 inches with 18 and 24 inches being the most common.
- The diameter has 1-1/4 inch and 1-1/2 inch variations.
What are the Best Grab Bars for Showers?
Installing grab bars for bathrooms and showers are great options for home improvement. They provide the highest safety for all users no matter their age and physical ability. Accidents can happen to anyone in split-seconds. No exceptions! So it’s our top priority to take all necessary precautions for our family’s safety. Remember that prevention is the key to avoid accidents.
Some examples of the best grab bars in town are:
- Straight Grab Bars
This product is the most basic and most common. It can be installed multi-directional.
- Curvy or Wavy Grab Bars
The wavy-style finish adds aesthetic design.
- Multi-functional Grab Bar (Toilet Paper Holder, with Soap Dish and Towel Rack)
This compact-style is good for limited wall space. They are sturdy enough to provide balance and stability. Plus, it serves as a rack for toiletries and bath towels. Good value for money.
- Slide Bar Grab Bar with Handheld Showerhead
This product is best to use when you need to sit down to bathe. It’s two-way support when standing or sitting down while holding the showerhead.
- Grab Bar Clamps
For bathtub safety, attach this grab bar to the side of the tub. It will help you get in and out of the tub as you lift your legs over the tub wall. It’s not, however, designed to help you pull yourself up. You also need to check it periodically to ensure it’s securely locked in place or may need to retighten the clamps.
- Floor-to-Ceiling Poles
You can adjust the height to provide stable support for bathroom, shower, and bedroom use.
- Angled at 90 Degree Grab Bar For Two Walls
Perfect for limited space that can provide support on both sides of the walls.
- Corner Grab Bars For Two Walls
This continuous steel bar is attached along the two sides of the tub wall. This helps you sit in the tub, on a shower chair when bathing.
Bathrooms and Shower Grab General Tips
Technically, the best grab bars are those that meet the ADA standards. They should be properly installed according to product specifications. Moreover, different people have different needs and design preferences. So it’s really hard to pick the best out of the best.
Luckily, you don’t have to install bland or institutional-looking handrails in your house. Many grab bars have a sleek design and modern finish that suits your needs and aesthetic taste. Bathroom and shower remodel are now easier to achieve. All thanks to functional yet beautifully-designed grab bars. You can add a few more safety measures like non-slip mats or non-skid floor tiles. Combined everything with proper lighting, and you’re good to go for an easy renovation.
Choose ADA-Compliant Grab Bars
When shopping for grab bars, most commercially-available meet the standards. It’s very uncommon to find a non-compliant product, most even surpass the ADA requirements. Consider this simple guide to help you pick the right grab bars for your home.
- The grab bar must be heavy-duty stainless steel or other option with equal strength. Stainless steel bars are mostly used as they’re resistant to corrosion.
- Flanges must be durable. It must hold maximum strength so bars won’t easily come loose.
- A standard grab bar has a diameter range of 1-¼ inch to 1-½ inch. The smaller size provides an easier full-fist grip for small hands.
- Grab bars should have a space clearance or allowance of 1-1/2 inches from the wall. There should be no obstruction projecting 12 inches above the bar. The space between the walls and grab bar should be free from clutter so users can easily reach and hold onto it.
- A grab bar installed should be able to hold a 250 lbs direct body weight. Most products have up to 500 lbs. weight-bearing capacity.
ADA Standard Requirements for Installation
It’s highly-recommended that professionals should install grab bars for quality and safety. They have extensive years of experience in proper grab bar installation. Also, they have the necessary tools to install them at the correct locations.
In general, most grab bars are easy to install. You can either ask someone to do it for you or you can D-I-Y by following product specifications and instructions. Refer to ADA for complete bathroom and shower grab bar requirements.
Are Suction Cup Shower Grab Bars Safe?
A grab bar with suction cups is usually a temporary fix. They don’t come with studs or screws to drill on the wall. Suction cup-types stick best with flat, smooth, and non-porous surfaces like natural stones and glossy tiles. Again, they won’t attach to textured surfaces!
Moreover, they’re not that strong enough to hold a full-body weight of 250 lbs. – you can’t use them when pulling yourself up from a seated position. They are a good balancing-aid though when standing. Besides, a suction cup grab bar can work well for a few weeks or months. Keep in mind that they need periodic maintenance. Always check the strength indicator whether you need to retighten them or not. They may budge anytime and cause an accident, so it’s better to be safe than sorry
Are No Drill Grab Bars Safe?
If you’re an interior nut who worries that a grab bar causes permanent damage to your tiles and walls, then, grab bars without drills are for you. Their quality passed the ADA compliance test for 250 pounds weight-bearing capacity. They’re perfectly safe to use and won’t leave a mark or damage when you remove them. It’s so easy to install and comes with an adhesive that is resistant to heat, cold, and UV. One of the best options you can find in the market if you want to get a quick DIY grab bar fix at home. You can find a full product installation guide for grab bars without drilling and cracking the tiles.
To sum up, permanent grab bars are safer and durable compared to suction cup grab bars as recommended by ADA.