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Thread: Grab bars

  1. #1
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    Default Grab bars

    My Dad is having a hard time getting around.
    He uses a cane to walk. Today the Dr told him to get a scooter.
    Even with the cane he has fallen several times.
    I'm worried that he may fall so I'm wanting to install some grab bars in the shower and at the toilet for safety, and maybe something at the back door.

    I thought some of you may have already gone through this and may have some advice or ideas.

    2018 ASHI InspectionWorld
    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Grab bars

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    My Dad is having a hard time getting around.
    He uses a cane to walk. Today the Dr told him to get a scooter.
    Even with the cane he has fallen several times.
    I'm worried that he may fall so I'm wanting to install some grab bars in the shower and at the toilet for safety, and maybe something at the back door.

    I thought some of you may have already gone through this and may have some advice or ideas.
    My sister-in-law is having her shower completely redone for the same reason - installing a bench seat, a separate shower valve with a hand held shower at the seat, a shower valve and diverter valve at the shower head with another hand held on a vertical slide bar, and an "L" grab bar.

    Of course, doing everything with the drywall wall off is much easier to install the necessary blocking for the grab bars and stuff.

    In our house, I installed a 42" bar at a angle so I could mount it to the studs (no blocking behind the tile). While the official code way is for the bar to be horizontal, the angled bar is better than no bar.

    Another way to address the blocking is, if you can get to the back side of the wall, remove a piece of drywall large enough to install blocking at the two locations and then patch the drywall.

    I went through the back of a closet when I added a bar in the bathroom of our house in South Florida.

    (Finished with edit on my desktop computer as my notebook started doing wild and crazy things just trying to finish typing the last sentence.)

    Last edited by Jerry Peck; 12-08-2014 at 02:58 PM.
    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Grab bars

    For simpler, faster retro work, Wingits brand anchors install where there's no blocking. I've installed them and the can help put the bars where you want them to go.

    Dom.


  4. #4
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    Bozeman, Montana
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    Default Re: Grab bars

    As Jerry mentioned; opening up the opposite side of the shower walls is the way to go (less expensive then replacing shower surround) for placement of grab bar backing. A patch is a patch, so don't scrimp on size. make it big enough to easily place your backing in desired location. Try to stay a couple inches away from inside corners (ceiling or walls), so you don't have to refinish other wall or ceiling planes. Make sure your backing material is FLAT and properly sized, don't knock it into place. Would not recommend using an impact driver (in tiled surround area). Recommend standard cordless (close then hand tighten fasteners for grab bars in surround area). In surround area, recommend applying silicone to back of flange before tightening. If your substrat is a natural product, make sure the silicone you use is of a type which is compatible with the stone used. Don't forget to caulk your grab bar escutcheons in the surround area. Check the tub/shower floor surface to confirm the anti skid texture is adequate. Add tape or mat if needed. Consider an emergency call pendant (I picked a guy up who had been wedged between his deck (3 rises) and hedge for 20 minutes). Landline phone user? Consider chasing a phone jack into the bathroom.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Grab bars

    Quote Originally Posted by Dom D'Agostino View Post
    For simpler, faster retro work, Wingits brand anchors install where there's no blocking. I've installed them and the can help put the bars where you want them to go.

    Dom.
    Dom,

    I know their advertising is good, and that those will 'last forever', but it is the material they are installed in that keeps me from trusting them ... we all know what eventually happens to drywall behind tile - and that drywall is what those things are in and what is holding those things ...

    Not for me.

    I noticed all the references they gave, but the code calls for backing and specifies the type and thickness of the backing (metal or wood) and those are not either.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Grab bars

    Shower is in outside corner, so no access from other side.
    Shower walls and floor are marble tile (12x12).

    I gave him a "PERS" (Personal Emergency Response System) pendant, it " got lost".

    I'm thinking grab bars and a folding seat in shower. Garb bar at toilet.
    Ramp or landing with a smaller step up and hand rail at door.

    Thanks for the comments

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Grab bars

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    Shower is in outside corner, so no access from other side.
    Shower walls and floor are marble tile (12x12).

    I gave him a "PERS" (Personal Emergency Response System) pendant, it " got lost".

    I'm thinking grab bars and a folding seat in shower. Garb bar at toilet.
    Ramp or landing with a smaller step up and hand rail at door.

    Thanks for the comments
    Install an "L" bar as it is stronger (because it wraps the corner) and one or two shorter bars (I think they are 14" or so) vertically next to the entry.

    Because you don't have proper backing for the folding seat either, install one with legs as the legs will take most of the weight off the wall support. More likely than not, once the seat has been raised and lowered a few times, the seat will remain down anyway.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Grab bars

    Jerry,

    Sometimes people need options. Those WingIt devices work, especially in tile walls. If you have only one stud (for half of a grab bar) than you can use something else (like that device) to support the other end.

    Since not everyone can rip out a shower to install blocking, the choices are fairly limited. The ones I have used are nearly 10 years old and still holding up well. The 3M peel & stick is very durable. The weirdest part was drilling a 1.25 inch hole in a tile wall. But I understand your point.

    Dom.


  9. #9
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    May 2010
    Location
    Redondo Beach, CA
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    21

    Default Re: Grab bars

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    ... I gave him a "PERS" (Personal Emergency Response System) pendant, it " got lost"...
    There are now devices such as the "Tile" that you can attach to items that make it easy to find commonly misplaced items at home (keys, PERS, cell phone, etc.) The "Tile" casts a signal across a 100 foot radius that you can find from your phone. The battery in each tile lasts about a year and is not (currently) replaceable. Each tile costs about $17.50

    If you are like me and occasionally misplace important items, give them a try.
    www.thetileapp.com
    There is at least one similar competing product.


  10. #10
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    Jul 2010
    Location
    Wisconsin
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    Default Re: Grab bars

    My Dad could still pull himself up, legs were weak, so we put a bar on the ceiling and a chain that dropped down with a handle. He could pull himself up from the toilet or sit down, and could hang on to step over the side of the tub. The bar was a couple feet long so he could slide the handle a bit. He got the idea from the hospital bed he was in, like the one below. He had a "S" hook on the handle so he could move it up or down on the chain. I think we used two shower curtains to close around the bar as it was under the curtain rod. It also helped that the toilet was across from the tub, you faced it as you sat down.




  11. #11

    Default Re: Grab bars

    Code may specify that grab bars are to be installed horizontally or vertically but I installed mine on an angle adjacent to the toilet to catch studs in the existing wall. I didn't plan on it but it's actually easier to grab since you can grab it at a height that works for the individual.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Grab bars

    Quote Originally Posted by Marshall Brown View Post
    Code may specify that grab bars are to be installed horizontally or vertically but I installed mine on an angle adjacent to the toilet to catch studs in the existing wall. I didn't plan on it but it's actually easier to grab since you can grab it at a height that works for the individual.
    Unfortunately, grabbing a grab bar which is at an angle also allows the grabber (the person) to slide down the grabbee (the bar) and, while it may break your fall, it will not provide the necessary stationary horizontal object to try keep on from falling ... but, yes, many people install grab bars at an angle because it is easier (the can find the studs) and, yes, it does help.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Grab bars

    Also good to go online and check the latest code on the Americans with Disabilities to get the most recent guidelines on length, height, placement, etc. and at least try to get close to those requirements. Obviously quite a few home bathrooms don't match the dimensions specified.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Grab bars

    Rick,

    I do ADA inspections and my partner got certified to modify homes for senior to stay in place. In addition to grab bars, look for trip hazards in the home. Rugs that will move, step-ups, corners of furniture. In many homes we will enhance the lighting and add motion lights for hallways, utility rooms and stairwells. Large numbers of seniors will fall each year and have significant bone breaks. This starts a downward health trend that causes them to go into assisted living.

    If they are living alone they will need the pendant. As a firefighter I have been to numerous calls where a senior has taken a fall and cannot reach a phone. By the time we get to them they have been laying on the floor for many hours. Many are hypothermic and dehydrated when we get there. When it gets to that point the families have to place them in assisted living. If they don't want to wear the pendant or lose it, take on a tour of the worst assisted living center in the area. I am sure that they will find it....

    //Rick

    Rick Bunzel
    WWW.PacCrestInspections.com
    360-588-6956

  15. #15

    Default Re: Grab bars

    Quote Originally Posted by Dom D'Agostino View Post
    Jerry,

    Sometimes people need options. Those WingIt devices work, especially in tile walls. If you have only one stud (for half of a grab bar) than you can use something else (like that device) to support the other end.

    Since not everyone can rip out a shower to install blocking, the choices are fairly limited. The ones I have used are nearly 10 years old and still holding up well. The 3M peel & stick is very durable. The weirdest part was drilling a 1.25 inch hole in a tile wall. But I understand your point.

    Dom.
    Lowe's sells a grab bar that can be attached to a smooth shower wall with suction cups. There is no need to drilling, and it holds just fine.


  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Greene Va
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    14

    Default Re: Grab bars

    Notice that your are in GA. may want to check this resource for both construction and finiacial assistance; Georgia Home Access Program

    Wish the best for your Dads' health and spirit getting along in the years ahead.



  17. #17
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    Default Re: Grab bars

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Hucker View Post
    Lowe's sells a grab bar that can be attached to a smooth shower wall with suction cups. There is no need to drilling, and it holds just fine.
    Lowe's and Home Depot also sell corrugated, flexible, tailpieces for sinks and they work just fine ... as long as you think that not doing it to meet the code is "just fine".

    *You* would trust *your* *life* to suctions cups? Really? Well, that would be "just fine" ...

    Shop MHI 17-in White Suction Cup Grab Bar at Lowes.com

    That does not meet any of the requirements for grab bars.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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