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Thread: shower grab bar

  1. #1
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    Default shower grab bar

    I vaguely remember a discussion from a while back about how the grab bar in a shower must be horizontal. So many of them are mounted at an angle. I recently stayed at a hotel where the bar was vertical.
    Or, as is often the case, am I just imagining things?
    Does anyone have a reference, or would this come under manufacturer's instructions?

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    Default Re: shower grab bar

    Quote Originally Posted by John Arnold View Post
    I vaguely remember a discussion from a while back about how the grab bar in a shower must be horizontal. So many of them are mounted at an angle. I recently stayed at a hotel where the bar was vertical.
    Or, as is often the case, am I just imagining things?
    Does anyone have a reference, or would this come under manufacturer's instructions?
    The hotel we stayed at in California, the Westin San Francisco Market Street Hotel, also had the grab bars at an angle.

    The reason they used to ... and many still do ... install the grab bars at that angle was so that the grab bars were installed between 33" and 36" as that is the way they understood what the code said. Except that the bars are supposed to be horizontal, at a height between 33" minimum and 36" maximum and the code did not say what they thought it did. The code shows the grab bars in a figure, which shows the bars as being horizontal, and as being between 33" and 36".

    Last edited by Jerry Peck; 10-15-2009 at 10:51 AM. Reason: re-phrased the last paragraph to be worded better
    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: shower grab bar

    This might help here if I may.
    One has to remember that this is not for ADA requirements, it is for the general standard for installing grab bars.
    Types, lengths and locations for grab bars for ADA Requirements is a different ballgame.

    Positioning a Wall mounted Grab Bar

    Wall mounted grab bars come in several lengths. Deciding which length to install depends on how the grab bar will be used.
    For example, if you're putting a main grab bar on the side wall of a bathroom tub enclosure, the National Kitchen and Bath Association recommends using a grab bar at least 24 inches long. If you're adding a second grab bar for support on the shower head wall, it should be at least 12 inches long.


    Horizontal grab bars offer better leverage to a person trying to get out of a bathtub or up and down from a toilet, but a grab bar placed at a 45 degree angle to the toilet or bathtub's rim is easier for people of differing heights to reach. Another advantage to angling the grab bar is a 24 inch bar installed at a 45 degree angle will exactly span wall studs spaced 16 inches apart, and you can screw into the studs on each end for maximum support, with no need for blocking.

    Horizontal grab bars should be located 33 to 36 inches above the finished floor around toilets, and 33 to 36 inches above the floor of the bathtub and close enough to the shower head wall to support a person adjusting water temperature.
    If the drywall above your tub enclosure is exposed, you can use any of the standard techniques for locating the studs. But if the studs are buried behind a tiled wall, you'll need to use a few tricks of the trade to find them. Most building codes require that they be capable of withstanding a 250 pound load.
    To support this weight, you must screw the grab bars into wall studs or into additional blocking. Molly bolts, nails, or screws into sheetrock are not adequate. "Cats" 2-by-4s that you nail in between the studs, or "Plates" plywood or another substantial material that spans the wall studs, are both common practice.


    Here are the key steps for installing a wall mounted grab bar at a 45 degree angle on a fully tiled wall.
    Locate the wall studs. Using one of these techniques, find the studs you'll attach the grab bar to: Run an electronic stud finder along the wall until it detects a stud, and then mark the location with a fine point marker. Or make a hole in the grout line using a variable speed drill with a 1/8 inch masonry bit or glass and tile bit. If you don't hit a stud on the first try, bend a piece of stiff wire and insert it in the hole. Spin the wire left and right until it contacts a stud. Redrill in the new spot, and you should hit the stud. Measure 16 inches from this point to find the second stud.




  4. #4
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    Default Re: shower grab bar

    Can you post a source for your reference regarding how to install grab bars please.

    "The Code is not a peak to reach but a foundation to build from."

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    Default Re: shower grab bar

    Like I said in the previous post, this is not an ADA appoved installation, just shows how to install a grab bar at 45 degrees and why.
    If you need more info, I'll gladly get for you. Just be more specific in exactly what you may be looking for .


  6. #6
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    Default Re: shower grab bar

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Ramsey View Post
    Can you post a source for your reference regarding how to install grab bars please.

    BR: Installing Grab Bars : DiaDot Disability Solutions


  7. #7
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    Default Re: shower grab bar

    And, for the commercially-inclined:

    ADA Grab Bars in Commercial Bathrooms - Quick Guide


  8. #8
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    Default Re: shower grab bar

    If commercial and public use, keep this in mind;

    (3) Grab Bars. Grab bars for water closets not located in stalls shall comply with 4.26 and Fig. 29 except that grab bars shall be mounted 18 in minimum to 27 in maximum (455 mm to 685 mm) above the finish floor measured to the grab bar centerline. The grab bar behind the water closet shall be 36 in (915 mm) minimum.

    EXCEPTION: If administrative authorities require flush controls for flush valves to be located in a position that conflicts with the location of the rear grab bar, then that grab bar may be split or, at water closets with a centerline placement below 15 in (380 mm), a rear grab bar 24 in (610 mm) minimum on the open side of the toilet area shall be permitted. (4) Flush Controls.
    Flush controls shall be hand operated or automatic and shall comply with 4.27.4. Controls for flush valves shall be mounted on the wide side of the toilet area no more than 36 in (915 mm) above the floor.




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    Default Re: shower grab bar

    Just because you can install a 24 inch grab bars at a diagional between 16 oc studs does not make it meets code compliance requirements.

    AD Millers first reference implies ADA compliance. The second reference states bars must be installed horizontally. The discussion is centering around diagional vs. horizontal. I am just trying to make sure I understand if what is being posted is building tips or code compliance.

    "The Code is not a peak to reach but a foundation to build from."

  10. #10
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    Default Re: shower grab bar

    Bruce, I showed that illistration to show how to install a grab bar at 45 degrees and why.
    The reason they are installed that way, is because installed horizontally, with no blocking in the wall, would render the installation unsafe for the user.
    There is one thing one needs to remember, we are not code officers nor enforcers of local codes.
    There is no reference to the IRC for grab bar installations.

    I can install grab bars in any fashion to suit my needs in my house and so can anyone else. I don't have grab bars period.
    The ADA requirements and Commercial Codes that serve the public is a different thing.
    All commercial buildings that cater to the public and provide facilities of the sort have to meet the ADA guidelines which was indicated above.

    The ADA is a civil rights law it is not a building code. The ADAAG though has been incorporated into many state and local building codes.

    With this in mind, check with your local codes or your AHJ in the areas you inspect.




  11. #11
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    Default Re: shower grab bar

    Supplement to the above;

    Horizontal grab bars offer better leverage when you are trying to get out of a bathtub or up and down from a toilet, but a grab bar placed at a 45 degree angle to the toilet or bathtub's rim is better when trying to accommodate people of different heights.

    Angling your grab bar has an additional advantage. A 24 inch bar installed at a 45 degree angle will exactly span wall studs spaced 16 inches apart, and you can screw into the studs on each end for maximum support.

    Horizontal grab bars should be located 33 to 36 inches above the finished floor around toilets, and 33 to 36 inches above the floor of the bathtub (7 to 11 inches above the rim) and close enough to the shower head wall to support you when adjusting water temperature.

    Be on the look out for this type of installation, they do not provide the capabilities of a grab bar and due to human instinct, if loss of balance or slippage occurs, grabing this bar will be natural. They are not designed to withstand the force of a person slipping or falling in a shower.
    They could be considered a safety hazard.
    It is critical that one notes to read the Manufacturers guidelines for this application.







  12. #12
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    Default Re: shower grab bar

    Quote Originally Posted by Marcel Cyr View Post
    Bruce, I showed that illistration to show how to install a grab bar at 45 degrees and why.
    The reason they are installed that way, is because installed horizontally, with no blocking in the wall, would render the installation unsafe for the user.
    Quote Originally Posted by Marcel Cyr View Post
    Supplement to the above;

    Horizontal grab bars offer better leverage when you are trying to get out of a bathtub or up and down from a toilet, but a grab bar placed at a 45 degree angle to the toilet or bathtub's rim is better when trying to accommodate people of different heights.

    Angling your grab bar has an additional advantage. A 24 inch bar installed at a 45 degree angle will exactly span wall studs spaced 16 inches apart, and you can screw into the studs on each end for maximum support.
    The original post was:

    Quote Originally Posted by John Arnold View Post
    I vaguely remember a discussion from a while back about how the grab bar in a shower must be horizontal. So many of them are mounted at an angle. I recently stayed at a hotel where the bar was vertical.
    The grab bars SHOULD BE installed HORIZONTALLY.

    There is NO REASON to install a grab bar at an angle. 'Making it easier to mount to 16" studs IS NOT a "reason", it is a "laziness excuse" - do it the correct way and install proper blocking. And if there is no way to install proper blocking then install a 48" bar ... THAT WILL ALSO exactly match up to 16" studs.

    Crimeny, this is not difficult rocket science stuff, use a 48" bar and mount to the studs if there is no blocking installed.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  13. #13
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    Default Re: shower grab bar

    Jerry, where is it written that the grab bar cannot be installed at a 45 in an existing building that had none, and that is the preference of the occupants?


  14. #14
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    Default Re: shower grab bar

    Quote Originally Posted by Marcel Cyr View Post
    Jerry, where is it written that the grab bar cannot be installed at a 45 in an existing building that had none, and that is the preference of the occupants?
    When you install a grab bar at that angle, and a person grabs it and falls because there is not HORIZONTAL or VERTICAL "grab" to grab onto, and their hand slides down ...

    ... all you will need to do to see where it is written is to read the judges order stating how much you are to pay the injured part.




    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: shower grab bar

    And the same would apply for the manufacture of the adjustable shower head bar used as a grab bar and the one that installed it. So where does it end.
    A lot of these circumstances of accidents stem on the comprehension of the beholder, and everyone out there is susceptible to any kind of lawsuit.
    Some grab bars are install in the vertical position for special cases and the same thought of slippage could be applied to that also as you mention.
    The grab bar is horizontal and I am trying to get out of the tub due to a bad back injury, my hand slides and hurt my back some more, now who is liable.
    Your fishing.


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    Default Re: shower grab bar

    Marcel,

    You are the one fishing and trying to justify installing it at an angle.

    Just install it horizontally, and by one long enough to be able to do so.

    Not sure why you use blue, but I guess you like color text instead of black text so I will use red for you.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: shower grab bar

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Marcel,

    You are the one fishing and trying to justify installing it at an angle.Not at all, never installed one like that. But it is not a defect as far as a Home Inspection goes I can install a grab bar any way I wish in my home and some do. Fortunately, I have no need of one.

    Just install it horizontally, and by one long enough to be able to do so. Always have for the past 40 years.

    Not sure why you use blue, but I guess you like color text instead of black text so I will use red for you. Using blue is a distinguishing mark.
    I only use red on expert witness or Insurance claim reports.
    So now that I made it on your red list, Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.


  18. #18
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    Default Re: shower grab bar

    Quote Originally Posted by Marcel Cyr View Post
    So now that I made it on your red list, Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.
    Actually, for you and your color fetish, I will be using many colors.

    Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  19. #19
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    Default Re: shower grab bar

    Are people falling down stairs because the handrails are all on an angle?
    If you are trying to get up out of the tub, the low end of an angled rail is easier to grab than a rail that is 36" above you.


  20. #20
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    Default Re: shower grab bar

    Are people falling down stairs because the handrails are all on an angle?
    JK: Only on the horizontal stairs.

    The grab bars SHOULD BE installed HORIZONTALLY.
    JP: Perhaps, if one is complying with ADAAA or with a particular manufacturer's installation instructions. More opinions:

    http://www.environmentalgeriatrics.c.../grab_bars.pdf

    Gerontologic Environmental Modifications >> Injury Prevention
    From this one:
    "Rosemary Bakker spoke of the importance of colors not just for aesthetic reasons, but also for people with low vision (not white on white). She spoke of the general guidelines on locating wall mounted grab bars. Horizontal bars are easiest to grab onto during a fall. She spoke of the various complaints regarding angled and vertical bars: hands can easily slip during use and these positions are not appropriate for transfers."

    http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/publicati...io03-010-e.pdf
    From this one:
    "Given the All Bars option, most participants used the angled or horizontal bar on the back wall (54.9 and 21.6 per cent, respectively)."



    Grab bar - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    From this one:
    "In industry and construction, only horizontal grab bars are reliable to sustain a dynamic fall of the body"


    So then, it is my personal opinion that one should install ADAAA-compliant bars horizontally, when required. Otherwise, one should install grab bars vertically, horizontally, or on an angle, depending on one's own preference. A combination of the three might be the safest bet.



  21. #21
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    Default Re: shower grab bar

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    Are people falling down stairs because the handrails are all on an angle?

    To word it differently than Aaron did ... the handrail IS NOT at an angle ... to the stairs, they are parallel with each other ... just like a horizontal handrail would be parallel with a floor.



    Aaron,

    Yes, when not installing to ADAAG ... anything goes ... and we see that every day, right?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  22. #22
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    Default Re: shower grab bar

    anything goes ... and we see that every day, right?
    JP: Some days more than once.


  23. #23
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    Default Re: shower grab bar

    Aaron, thanks for the pdf's. Since I install a fair amount of grab bars, the pdf's are very helpful.

    www.aic-chicago.com
    773/844-4AIC
    "The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

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