Grab bar in shower

I am installing a 16" grab bar from Liberty Hardware inside a fiberglass shower stall for a 6'4" 220lb man. More information here:
http://www.libertyhardware.com/search/detail/?searchType=retail&ID=SHA5316SN&FIN=SN
I have two questions:
1) Do I need to do anything to re-enforce the space between the shower stall and the wall stud? There is an air gap of approximately 1/2" between the outside of the fiberglass enclosure and where it is going to enter the 2"x6" stud. The installation instructions do not refer to this. Do I need to do anything besides drill the holes and use the anchor bolts that were included in the package?
2) The fiberglass shower unit is not flat. There is no place to mount the bar where it is flat, like shown on the installation instructions, since the whole enclosure is curved slightly. Therefore if I follow the instructions, the wall mounts will not be flush against the walls of the shower, making a leak possible. What would you recommend using to provide a gasket between the wall mount brackets and the fiberglass shower encosure? I was thinking of just finding some 1/2" foam rubber with sufficient compression to make a good seal, and possibly caulking just in case. I would want this to last a long time though...so no shortcuts if I can help it.
Please provide guidance on this type of installation as soon as possible, since my father-in-law will be out of the hospital and in his home on Monday afternoon. I would like him to be able to take his first shower without worrying about the installation.
Thank you in advance!
Joe Sines snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com
*Also posted here:
http://groups.google.com/group/uk.people.disability/browse_thread/thread/ca239707d95741bb
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OrkoPolo wrote:

http://www.libertyhardware.com/search/detail/?searchType=retail&ID=SHA5316SN&FIN=SN
for awhile. 1. What is on the backside of the wall? A closet or dark corner of a bedroom, hopefully? Can you cut an access panel directly behind where the bar needs to go, and either shim the gap with plywood, or just tape some plywood to the back of the shower until you can get some bolts through the handle and plywood? Stainless bolts with bigass fender washers under the nuts will last for years. That is basically how we used to mount hardware on the decks and gunwhales of fiberglass boats. If you can spread the load over, say, a 1 foot square panel behind the fiberglass, that should be plenty strong to prevent cracking. Cover the access hole with a masonite panel, and maybe hang a picture over it, until you can patch the wall.
2. How to make a flat mounting flange fit a curved surface- local dealer for the grab bars may sell matching gasket sets. If not, you can fake it with gasket material from auto parts store or industrial supply. Or if you have the ability to machine hard rubber, carve down a couple of hockey pucks to match the curve, and bolt through them.
-- aem sends...
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1. Definitely reinforce the wall so the bar is solidly bolted to wood. If that means slipping a wood shim between the fiberglass and stud, then that's what you have to do. When you tighten the bolt it will pull the shower wall to the stud and cause problems elsewhere if you do not.
2. Just fill the gap with 100% Silicone caulk when finished and smooth with your finger. If it is a big curve, you may want to grind away part of the trim plate to match the wall. you can do that with a bench grinder but you need a bit of skill.

http://groups.google.com/group/uk.people.disability/browse_thread/thread/ca239707d95741bb
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On Sat, 31 May 2008 20:15:43 -0700 (PDT), OrkoPolo

Ideally, you want a 2x4 with no gap between the wood and shower stall. Molley or other anchors should not be used. You may need to remove some drywall on the other side of the wall to install secure backing and this will be the most difficult part of the job and there will be some drywall repair work. Grab bars need to be secured and should hold 500 pounds to prevent or catch a fall. You can mount the bar vertically or in a slant, but think about where it would be convenient to use getting in and out of the shower. For units that don't have much of a flat surface, use two short grab bars, rather than one longer one.
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In article

Can you bend the bar slightly to make it follow the curve of the shower?
Free men own guns - www(dot)geocities(dot)com/CapitolHill/5357/
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Yes, it _has_ to be a 'hard' mount. If you leave the gap, the mounting screws will try to pull the fibreglass in, If you stop just as the fibreglass starts to 'suck in', then the fibreglass will flex every time you use the bar.
Harry K
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Thank you all for the information. I understand now that I need to make the installation "rigid" with no air gap between the shower and the wall studs.
Since the bar will be on an outside wall, I'm afraid putting re- enforcement behind it would involve taking the shower out...which I'm trying my hardest not to have to do. The bar will not bend as suggested by nick.
What do you all think of the suggestion by Sue, here?: http://groups.google.com/group/uk.people.disability/browse_thread/thread/ca239707d95741bb/21dd5fd2f54017da
I think that this would provide a solution that would be very strong. The only thing I would be worried about would be leakage around the rubber U-gasket material that she suggested. Any thoughts?
Thanks again!
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In article

Everything bends. Try a bigger hammer, it might be easier than taking the shower out. Your local blacksmith/welder can bend it easily.
Free men own guns - www(dot)geocities(dot)com/CapitolHill/5357/
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It would work but the appearance might be a factor.
I was faced with the same problem. My solution was to mount the bars (one high for shower, one low for tub) just outside the shower/tub. Not the best but so far it is a workable solution. If my wife gets too much worse I might have to resort to replacing the unit with one of those 'walk in' tubs. I don't even want to think about what one of those costs.
Harry K
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Recently they have been advertizing on TV about a suction grip grab bar that would work perfectly here. Should work fine for occasional balance or support even if the wall does flex a bit. Just warn him not to use it for any gymnastics.

http://groups.google.com/group/uk.people.disability/browse_thread/thread/ca239707d95741bb
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Pipedown wrote:

always let go at some point. Like when person in tub has one wet foot on shower floor, other wet foot in space trying to find bathroom floor. No grab handle is better than a handle you can't trust.
-- aem sends...
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I haven't seen the ad but I not only 'seriously doubt' but will say it is BS if they claim they meet OSHA and handicap regs.
Harry K
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