How to Install Shower Grab Bars

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You can install a shower grab bar.
You can install a shower grab bar. (Image: Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Grab bars can provide added safety for anyone, young or old, when they take a shower. The key aspect of this task is anchoring the bar securely so that it is able to support weight when it is grabbed. However, drilling into tile and supporting a lot of weight can be tough. Here is an easy step by step guide on how to install grab bars.

Things You'll Need

  • Stud finder
  • Pencil
  • Power drill
  • Tile drill bits
  • Wood drill bit
  • Screwdriver bit
  • 3-inch stainless steel wood screws
  • Bath caulk

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Find the studs in the wall. Stud finders will not penetrate through tile. Either try to find a stud above the tile where you have drywall or drill small exploratory holes in the tile at an angle and use a thin wire to detect studs. Once you find your studs, mark them with a pencil. Be careful not to drill into wires and pipes.

Hold your grab bar against the wall and center the screw holes over studs. Use a level to make sure the grab bar is at equal heights on both sides. Mark the screw holes with a pencil.

Drill the holes out that you marked earlier for the screws with tile/glass bits. Start with the smallest bit you have and work your way up. This will prevent cracking in the tile.

Drill pilot holes into the studs with a drill bit that has a slightly less diameter than the screws you will be using. Attach the grab bar by sinking in 3-inch stainless steel wood screws directly into the pilot holes using a screwdriver bit on the end of your drill. This will give a firm and sturdy mounting surface for the grab bar. When all the screws are in place, test the bar with your body weight.

Apply a bead of bath caulk to the outer rim of the section of the grab bar that is touching the wall.

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