How to install a bath grab bar: 8 steps

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How to install a bath grab bar: 8 steps
How to install a bath grab bar: 8 steps

Bath grab bars are designed to provide extra safety during the first slippery step. Properly installed handrails of adequate quality are designed to withstand loads of up to 110 kg, ensuring your safety in the shower or bath. Our tips will help you know where to position and how to secure your handrails for maximum reliability.


Part 1 of 2: Preparation

Install a Grab Bar Step 1
Install a Grab Bar Step 1

Step 1. Prepare the necessary tools

If you have the right tools, installing such a handrail is not particularly difficult for both an experienced craftsman and an amateur to tinker on the weekend. You will need:

  • Pen or pencil
  • Masking tape
  • Electric drill
  • Handrail, sold at hardware and hardware stores
  • Drill for glass and tiles, corresponding to the size of the dowels
  • Universal drill or for wood and metal, also in appropriate size
  • Hand screwdriver
  • Wood screws
  • Bath Silicone Sealant
Install a Grab Bar Step 2
Install a Grab Bar Step 2

Step 2. Inspect the handrail assembly

Take everything out of the box, check the general condition of the handrail. Check the complete screws and the dimensions of the dowels in relation to the diameter of the existing tile drill. If the diameter does not match, then you will need to purchase a new drill.


Step 3. Determine the installation location

It depends on who the handrail is installed for, as well as on the location of the uprights in the wall. In general, the useful height for installing such a handrail is at belt level.

  • Locate the two posts to which you can attach the handrail. Typically, the racks are 40 cm apart as measured from center to center. To find them, you can knock on the wall, check in the room on the opposite side of the wall, or use a special device.
  • Use this fixture where there are no tiles. You can also measure 40 cm from the center of the stance you know (usually in the corner), but this does not always work. Be sure to find both ends of the rack.

Step 4. Mark the location of the rack

Using a spirit level, extend the post limit marks down to where the handrail will be installed and use a 3-4 cm strip of masking tape to mark the post location on the tiles. A good place to install the handrail is to mount it at an angle between two wall posts on the wall on the long side of the bath. The bottom of the handrail should be 15-25 cm higher than the top of the bath. For racks at a distance of 40 cm, a 60 cm handrail is an excellent solution for corner mounting.

Use tape to mark the screw installation points on the wall to position the handrail correctly. If you drill the tiles through masking tape, the drill will not slip and scratch the tiles. It also prevents the tiles from cracking in some cases


Step 5. Pre-drill the mounting holes

Since most bathrooms are tiled, you will need a glass and tile drill. They usually have a chisel end, but there are also diamond bits that last a little longer. Dowels usually require a hole of the appropriate diameter. Select the most suitable drill for the size, not exceeding the diameter of the dowel.

  • Most handrails require a hole about 3mm in diameter, drilled into glass and tiles at the closest point to the center of the post to confirm location. If you hit solid wood, drill the remaining holes. If not, insert a piece of bent wire into the hole and try to find a stand. Determine a new location for the handrail and mark the holes according to the new location of the rack. In most cases, the unused hole will be covered by the handrail base plate.
  • After drilling the tile, change the drill bit to make a further hole in the wood or cement panel (behind the tile). If you forget to change the drill, the process will not go as smoothly and there is a chance of ruining the drill. To widen the hole in the tile, use a glass and tile drill or a thin-walled diamond core bit 6 mm in diameter, and for wood drilling - 4 mm in diameter.

Part 2 of 2: Attaching the handrail


Step 1. Install wall plugs

Different wall plugs are installed in different ways, but usually they are simple plastic wedges that are driven into the holes to ensure that the screws grip tightly when screwed in. Insert them into the drilled holes, thread the screws through the handrail, place the handrail against the wall and tighten. Follow the instructions given by the manufacturer of the handrail.

  • Usually 4, 75 or 5.4 mm diameter stainless steel screws with a cylindrical head are used for this. In this case, they must fit into the rack by at least 2.5 cm. In most cases, the screw length is 5 cm.
  • Do not use eye bolts for fastening. They depend on the strength of the wall backing, which is usually drywall or concrete panels. Distribution of more than 100 kg of weight in 6, 4 or 13 sq. cm of such material clearly will not be able to provide a reliable fastening of the handrail.

Step 2. Seal the joints with silicone sealant

To prevent water from seeping under the tiles through the drilled holes, it is necessary to apply a small layer of sealant around the joint. Cut through the tube of sealant at a slight angle and apply a silicone layer around the handrail where it touches the wall.

Some people prefer to seal the back of the flange with sealant before securing the handrail to the wall. This allows for additional reliability and durability


Step 3. Test the handrail by pulling on it

Let the sealant dry for an hour or two, then apply light pressure to check that the handrail is secure, then pull harder. Pull the handrail with a good jerk to check that it is secure. Before turning on the water in the bathroom, the sealant must dry completely within 24 hours.


  • For the installation of handrails on the GRP bathtub, special filling pads are available. Check with your plumbing manufacturer or supplier.
  • If your bathroom has metal racks, then you can use swing bolts. Otherwise, do not use them.
  • Most handrails have three screw holes in each mounting flange, but in a regular 3-4 cm wide rack you can only attach two of the three screws. Use a plastic dowel for the third screw. Since the screws enter the wood by at least 2.5 cm, the strength of the handrail will meet or exceed 110 kg required by the standards.
  • The handrails themselves are different. Try to choose a handrail with a non-slip surface. In preparation for this article, a US-made gray handrail made of high-strength plastic with a grooved grip surface was installed.
  • If a gasket is not included with the handrail, apply a small amount of silicone sealant to the back and / or sides of the flanges. Water must not get under the tiles.
  • If the tile is cracked, then it must be replaced. Take measurements with high precision. Make sure to drill the hole exactly in the center. Make the mounting holes with a smaller drill.
  • Make sure there is no piping or electrical wire at the installation site. Some post locators have built-in sensors. If you are unable to drill a hole, you may be caught in a metal plate. Be careful if the shower head or faucet is directly on the wall. Make a small preliminary hole and check if everything is in order, or drill deep enough and shine a flashlight.

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