Placement Tips for Shower and Tub Grab Bars
Featured Image: DR314240
Installing permanent grab bars in a shower or tub enclosure takes some planning and hard work, but they’re much more reliable than suction-based devices. These safety devices aren’t just for older adults because everyone benefits from them, such as if the hot water or water pressure causes dizziness or when needing to be extra careful following an injury or surgery. It’s best to install three to four grab bars in the following locations for safety, or at least as many as possible in the available space.
Next to the Door
For free-standing shower stalls with doors, start with a vertical grab bar located right next to the jamb. This allows the shower user to keep one hand on the bar while opening and shutting the shower door. This bar can be relatively short of just 12 to 18 inches, but make sure it’s the correct height for an easy and natural grasp by installing it at about the same height as the door handle.
Inside the Side Wall
Whether working on a shower stall or tub enclosure, the longest side wall is the most important place to put a grab bar. Make this grab bar as long as possible, with installation stretching from one end of the stall to the other. This allows the shower user to move back and forth without removing their hand bar, ensuring continuous support.
Above the Taps
Since it’s easy to get dizzy and fall while bending down or reaching up to adjust taps, a vertical grab bar is best located right above the temperature controls. One hand can stay on the bar while the other is used on the taps to switch flow between the faucet and showerhead. A vertical bar is a better choice than a horizontal one in this position since it offers a more natural grip when bending down or over.
Opposite the Faucet
For bathtub enclosures or shower/tub combinations, install a final grab bar on the wall opposite the faucet. Most tub users climb in on this end since it’s free from obstacles and allows them to enter the water spray slowly if the shower is on. It’s optional in many configurations, but it’s helpful if there’s no other nearby bar to grip except the side wall support.