Grab bar in our shower stall

We are getting old and need a grab bar in the shower stall. The walls are covered with 2x2 ceramic tiles, probably over sheetrock and standard studs (standard construction).
How can I located the studs under the tiles in order to fasten the bar securely? My little magnet gizmo for finding nails in the wallboard does not seem to work through the layer of tiles. My clairvoyance is also not working today. :-)
Once I know where the studs are, I can drill holes through the tiles with a carbide drill and use lag screws to fasten the grab bar.
Thanks
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Walter
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On Sun, 09 Aug 2009 09:21:25 -0700, Walter R. wrote:

I had to try this for myself because I may be interested in the same project, I have an electronic stud finder that just beeps the whole time while I searched for studs in the shower. The only way I could find the studs was to go to the adjacent room and locate the studs on the back side of the shower. If it is located on an outside wall maybe someone else has a suggestion. Mine doesn't work through brick on the outside either. I got this a few years ago and it was low cost at Home Depot. Some possibly are better but this served my purpose at the time. http://www.zircon.com/products/edge_ss.html
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Consider going through the studs from the other side if the wall structure permits it. Drywall is easily removed, replaced, patched, painted, whatever, to make other side access possible. It is even feasible to remove a fair sized area of back side drywall and install blocking for lag screws after having drilled mounting holes first exactly where you wish on the tile side. I would prefer epoxy adhesive for the blocking, but a good construction adhesive should work. If mechanical fastening of the blocking must be done, avoid hammering that would harm the tile by using construction screws with an impact driver. HTH
Joe
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Joe wrote:

If you do go through from the back side, let me suggest that you use blocking screwed to the stud(s) and bolts for your grab bar rather than lags. True, lags are unlikely to pull out but bolts are nice insurance. You'd have to drill an over sized hole on the back side of the blocking to recess the nut and washer.
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Walter, if your tile does not go all the way to the ceiling use a nail or small drill bit to find the studs right along the top of the tile. The holes can be filled and hidden with a bead of caulk once you find them. Once you know where they are you can plumb down, though not all studs are perfectly plumb. I would make an undersized hole in the tile to verify the stud, the escutcheon on the grab bar will cover a small change. One or two very good screws are more valuable than worrying about using all the holes. Fill the back of the escutcheon plate with good caulk ( I would not use silicone) to prevent water from entering the wall at that point.
When I have done this for people, I find it works best to use a bar that crosses 2 studs at an angle rather than just a horizontal or vertical bar. It seems to offer more choices and work for different height people.
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DanG wrote:

My house came with such a bar and it is very useful.
Lou
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Thank you, all.
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Walter
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Walter...Firefox reports www.rationality.net as an "attack site". Why do you suppose that is?
bob_v
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I took out a section of drywall on the other side of the wall and installed 2x4s. That may not be practical, but the bar should be able to hold 400 pounds of force. Each end of the grab bar has three holes, so at best you can get two screws into a stud. Nobody is too young to use a grab bar, makes it much safer for guests too.
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Walter R. wrote:

I thought I saw suction cup grips on TV once or twice.
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Van Chocstraw wrote:

Uh, not only no but Hell No. You do not use suction cups for anything where injury can result when (not if, when) they fail. Better to have NO grab bar, than a bar you can't trust.
If OP can't work out how to do it on their own, they should hire somebody.
-- aem sends...
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aemeijers wrote:

Absolutely!
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aemeijers wrote:

Wouldn't hand grip stirrups hanging from the ceiling be better? Easier to hold yourself with arms straight up than out to the side.
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Van Chocstraw wrote:

Nope, needs to be something solid. Anything hanging down from ceiling, unless it is on a solid pipe, would still let your feet get out from under you. And many people who are in the grab bar generation have trouble raising their arms that high any more. Best grab bar arrangement is an angled one on back wall of tub, and a vertical one on the corner, at the end of tub people get in and out on. If tub floor is higher than room floor, the grab bar climbing over the edge of the tub is especially useful when getting out.
-- aem sends...
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there is plasterboard above my shower enclosure where i drilled a string of 1/16" holes from left to right and put a screw in the ones that find studs. buy an assortment of returnable stainless steel grab bars and install as many as you like, including grab bars to replace all your towel bars. the day will come when you'll be patting yourself on the back for having done the work while you're spry. bonus idea: install extra toilet paper dispensers. and another wife pleaser: add on an additional handheld shower to run off your new diverter tub spout without disturbing the showerhead she likes on your three- handled tub/shower. -b
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Can't help with the stud locating (others have though). In addition to the shower grab bar, install at least one to assist getting off the toilet. I put one up years ago for her but found how nice it is for me. If I ever moved houses that is the first thing I would install.
She had a major problem last Dec and even the grab bar wasn't enouth. I put a "trapeze" handle hung from the ceiling and that did the trick. Not needed now but it is still available.
Harry K
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