Shower safety bars are essential components of your bathroom as they prevent potential slips and falls which ultimately helps you avoid injuries. However, in spite of their benefits, these bars have to be installed professionally to ensure they are well-placed to serve their purpose appropriately.
This article is your definitive guide on how to install shower safety bars, including the process involved and the required tools. In addition, it will provide helpful YouTube videos and recommend critical shower safety tips to prevent trips and falls.
Tools You Will Need to Install a Shower Safety Bar
Having the necessary tool ready before beginning the installation process saves you time. As such, have the following items before you get started:
- A screwdriver (4-in-1)
- A tape measure
- Level and eye safety glasses
- A drill and drill bits
- A stud finder
- Silicone caulk and caulk gun
- Erasable marker
You’ll also need to purchase the grab bar and anchors.
Important Tips When Choosing a Shower Safety Bar
Before making a purchase, confirm the material used to make the bar. You want a bar resistant to corrosion from the shower water and steam. Additionally, safety bars come in various lengths and diameters, but the most common are 18 inches and 1 1/2 inches, respectively. Follow the tips below when choosing the safety bar length that suits your bathroom:
- For vertical installation near the tub’s edge, use a bar that is 18 inches long or longer.
- The average length of an angled bar is 24 inches, and 32 inches or longer for horizontal bars.
How to Install a Shower Safety Bar: Step-By-Step
Determine The Proper Anchor Points Using a Stud Finder
Note that stud finders rarely work on tiled walls, so be sure of your house’s wall type. Alternatively, you can use your hands to softly pound on the shower wall to identify studs. There will be an audible difference between pounding on top of the studs and knocking on the hollow wall areas.
At the preferred height, mark the stud’s placement with an erasable marker in a manner that corresponds to the anchor points of each mounting flange.
Drilling the Pilot Holes
You will make pilot holes on a regular wall with a cordless drill. However, glass/tile drill bits will be necessary for tile walls to protect them from breakages. For a firm attachment, ensure the pilot holes are smaller in diameter than the supplied screws or anchors.
Mounting Hardware Installation
It’s now time to secure the bar’s mounting flanges to the wall. Insert the screws and tighten with a screwdriver through the channels on the brackets. Only stop tightening once you feel like the screw is underneath the wall stud.
Usually, a screw will remain from each end after this installation. You’ll use the screws to install plastic anchors for extra support or opt for toggle bolts as anchors.
Safety Bar Attachment
Finish the Process by Testing the Bar’s Strength
Support yourself against the bar to confirm that it’s secure and solid enough to support any weight. Then, caulk each bar’s base with a silicone caulk gun to provide a watertight seal all-round.
Areas to Install the Safety Bars
- At the Bathroom’s Entrance
A vertical grab bar is most appropriate at this location to facilitate entry and exit. A small bar of between 12 and 18 inches in length is preferable. Installing a grab bar at this location prevents users from reaching inside towel bars or other shaky objects.
- Inside the Bathroom
Horizontal safety bars give additional stability inside the bathroom, while diagonal ones support the user while lowering to sit on a shower chair. Since studs are typically 16 inches apart on center, a 16-inch grab bar or a multiple of 16 works well.
Best YouTube Videos for Installing a Shower Safety Bar
The tips and guidelines above will help you safely install the shower safety bars. However, if you find them hard to follow, you can supplement them with the YouTube videos below for a smooth installation process:
Grab Bar Installation For An Accessible Bathroom
How to Install a Grab Bar
How to Install a Safety Grab Bar
How To Install Bathroom Grab Bars
Shower Safety Tips – How to Prevent Falls in the Shower
You can make your shower room safer in terms of fall prevention by taking the following actions:
Use Non-Slip Flooring Options
Most shower floors have slippery tiles, especially when they come into contact with water. You can change this by removing these tiles and replacing them with non-slip textured tiles.
However, this option is expensive, considering the tiles’ purchasing and labor costs. Invest in non-slip bath mats or sprays if you can’t afford this option. The mats have suckers that adhere to the ground, reducing the chances of sliding beneath your legs. On the other hand, non-slip sprays create a rough texture on slippery tiles, reducing sliding chances.
Note that you must clean the mats regularly to prevent soap scum accumulation. This is not only unhygienic, but it will also weaken the suckers’ attachment to the tiles.
Have Bathing Items within a Reachable Distance
Sometimes, falls result from overstretching while trying to reach bathing towels or other items. Solve this issue by having all the essentials within easy reach by installing towel hooks, caddies, and shelves near the shower.
Individuals are likely to fall in bathrooms with insufficient lighting. Hence, ensure the lighting is favorable but not too bright, primarily if a senior utilizes the bathroom. Additionally, opt for illuminated switches to make them conspicuous at night.
Clear Clutter in the Bathroom
Most people’s bathrooms have items such as shampoo containers on the floor. These items might act as trip hazards, so it’s crucial to ensure the floor is clear of them, especially for narrow bathrooms.
Opt for Walk-In Showers
Falls often occur when individuals are entering and exiting bathtubs with sloping sides. Walk-in showers are entirely the opposite of such tubs. They aren’t raised on any side, making them ideal for people with limited mobility.
Safety grab bars are critical to your household’s safety in the bathroom. However, they require some level of knowledge to install them appropriately. Nevertheless, with the above-provided guidelines and YouTube videos, you can nail the process, especially if you can get the strongest safety bars available.