There are many different of types of grab bars. They are commonly used by the elderly or disabled to help maintain their balance while bathing or to assist them when getting up or down from the toilet. Grab bars can be mounted on different types of surfaces, and the hardware used to mount them will vary accordingly.
Identifying grab bar types
There are basically two different types of grab bars and how they are mounted. Some grab bars have the screws exposed. Some other types of grab bars have the screws hidden by an escutcheon. In both cases they will be mounted to a stud inside the wall with either a Phillips head, slotted, or lag screws. Lag screws are commonly used and require a wrench or socket to remove them. Before getting started it would be a good ideal to line the floor or bathtub with a drop cloth, some cardboard, or a piece of wood under where you will be working to protect those areas.
Removal of grab bars
If the screws are hidden by an escutcheon, use a slotted "flat" screwdriver to pry the escutcheon away from the wall. Sometimes there will be a slot at the base in the escutcheon to insert the screwdriver into to aid in its release. After identifying the type of screw, choose the proper tool to use in its removal. Most grab bars will be mounted with three of four screws on each end. Remove the screws, being careful not to drop the grab bar after it is released as damage to the tub or tile flooring could occur.
Finishing the job
If the grab bar was mounted to a tile wall, you will need to fill the holes left by the screws. Latex caulk or silicone can be used to achieve this. The best method for concealing the screw holes on a tile wall would be to use some tile grout that best matches the color of the wall tile. If the grab bars were mounted to drywall, use latex caulk or joint compound "drywall mud" to fill the holes. Touch up the paint and the task is complete. If the grab bar was mounted in a fiberglass or acrylic shower/bath stall, use the silcone to fill the holes left from the screws.
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