Things to Know About Grab Bar Installation


Things to Know About Grab Bar Installation

For many, grab bar installation is seen as an easy do it yourself project. But be aware that improper installation often creates problems than the grab bar’s intended solution. Remember that an ADA standard grab bar must be able to support up to 250 lbs. without ailing. Many can handle much more weight, but a secure installation is an important part of assuring proper weight-bearing support. Be sure to do your research first before installing one by yourself or hire an experience aging in place specialist.

For many wall installations, the proper mounting location is very important to the bar’s usefulness. It is very helpful if the bar’s position is tested, adjusted and customized for the intended user. The difficulty of finding the right position depends on the availability of adequate structure for wall anchorage.

In new construction, you can easily install blocking between wall studs to serve as a structure anchorage. This is the easiest way to prepare the wall structure for grab bar installation.

For existing construction, this is not the case. Once your decided and confident with the selected mounting position, you can determine the permanent anchorage position. You must install a blocking/ anchorage point in the wall. The easiest solution is to screw mount a 1X6 board at the top of the wall directly to the wall’s studs framing to provide a sturdy grab bar anchorage.

If you don’t want to install an exposed anchor board, concealed anchorage points must provided for direct installation. Most walls don’t have the proper anchorage points that are needed. In this case the drywall finish must be removed and a horizontal blocking can be installed between vertical studs. After the blocking installation, drywall must be reinstalled, patched and finished before the final grab bar installation.

Grab bar manufacturers also offer special mounting systems and hard wares for specific installation and needs. These include large toggle-bolt type flanges that anchor directly to unreinforced surfaces, but you must be aware of the wall’s strength and capacity before installing this kind of fasteners. Be sure that the unreinforced wall can hold at least the ADA standard weight. Having a structural anchor board is the best and the safest way to go.

Knowing the proper installation, grab bars will be an instrument to help you rather than an instrument that can harm you. It is wise to stick in the tried-and-tested method of having a structural anchor that will serve as a support for your installation.

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