I need to install a grab bar in a plastic tub surround. The
surround is about seven millimeters (0.2756 inches) thick. The
person who will be using the bar weighs less than 155 pounds.
What is the best way to install the bar? I do not know how to find
the studs in the wall. Can I just screw the bar to the plastic
surround? Thank you in advance for all replies.
When I am in the kitchen, I often kick one of my cat's balls.
After I kick it, he will sometimes play with it for a few
It MUST go into the studs. Borrow or buy a stud detector, drill a
pilot hole and use the proper screws.
If you go into the plastic, you risk injury when the screws pull out
of the flimsy plastic and you risk damage tot he surround.
And I will add this....
If you can't locate the studs and firmly anchor the grab bar into the
studs then don't put the grab bar up! It is better to not have the
grab bar there than to have it there expecting it to hold only to have
it fail when needed.
And for the benefit of newbies that didn't see the grab bar thread the
last hundred times, don't even think about one of those suction-cup grab
bars like they sell on TV/Sunday paper/Harbor Freight. Like he said
above, NO bar is better than a bar you can't trust. If you can't bring
yourself to drill holes, go to the medical supply house, and get one of
the grab bars with the big U-shaped things on the bottom, that fit over
the room side of tub.
Side note- there is often air space between tub surround and studs.
Sometimes, you need to use a larger hole and a bushing around the bolt,
to avoid making the plastic shower look all funny. A longer bolt than
comes with the grab bar may be required, and the usual precautions about
a dab of silicone over the screw hole in plastic, before you dog the
screw down, apply.
aem, who is starting to wish for a grab bar some mornings, sends...
My mother had one of those, and though it never came off, I was
concerned about it. The outside of the tub was vertical, but the
inside not quiite, and I knew if it budged up at all, it would be
loose after that. Knowing my mother, she probably never put much
force on it, for that very reason.
I also put a grab bar on the stud just outside the bath. I didnt'
drill the holes big enough and it was hard to get the screws in. But
when I removed it, it was far harder to get them out. It was a rented
apartment and though they face worse damage for much less reason, I
really wanted to leave the apartment the way my mother found it, not
because of the money they would charge me, but for some other reason.
I almost failed but I did get them out. .
The hole should be about as big as the shamk of the screw, not
counting the threads.
I do not think the plastic is flimsy. I think it is the same
material that the vanity countertop is made of. Also, it is more
than a quarter of an inch thick.
The surround goes all the way to the ceiling. Can you recommend an
electronic stud detector brand and model that would work well to
detect the studs through the surround and the drywall under it?
When a cat sits in a human's lap both the human and the cat are usually
happy. The human is happy because he thinks the cat is sitting on him/her
I don't care how thick it is. Plastic surrounds are too flimsy to
screw a device used to take a person's weight. Plastic cannot take
machine threads or screw threads well enough. It can cause serious
I've only ever used a Stanley and a Zircon and they worked for my
needs. In any case, I'd locate the stud and drill a 1/16" hole to
be sure it really is a stud. Then the proper pilot hole for the
1/4" plastic is still too "flimsy" to support a grab bar. A Stanley
stud detector will work. So will a Black and decker - as well as many
much better units. Mine is a Stanley. It has 3 thickness modes -
1/2", 1" and 1 1/2" Mine is the intellisensor 77-255
If wood were only 3/8 or 1/2", it woudl be too flimsy also. I think
the screws I put into the studs were 1 1/2" long, but maybe 2". A
half inch is like nothing.
I have a Zircon also. My brother bought it for me for my birthday. I
thought I would never use it but it's so gooood.
Everyone here means an electronic stud finder. They really work and
they work well.
Were you to borrow or find for sale a magnet on a pivot, like in a
clear plastic windowt, what used to be used as a stud finder, I
consider them very hard to use and unreliable.
(They still sell those, don't they?)
On Sun, 04 Dec 2011 00:02:11 -0500, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Good to know (although the electonic stud finders find them too,
iirc). Since I never throw anything away, I still have this nail
finder deep in the bottom of some drawer.
Okay, they call it ia nail finder now, but didnt' they call it a stud
finder 30 years ago?
I tried to use one where the studs were wood, the drywall wasn't glued
nor had the nails rusted at all, and it was all but futile.
There may be one more thing to consider. And that is that
the tub surround may not be tight against the wall behind it.
If that's the case, when you tighten the screws into the stud
you will deform the surround. Apparently there are some
products designed to deal with that:
Back when there was no better technology they were better than the
alternative (punching holes till you found something solid). The
method was scanning 24 inches or more across the wall, back and forth
every half inch untill you got a hit. Then you mark the "hit" and scan
up and down from there looking for another "hit" to confirm and
establish a pattern. To be sure, you would go 16 inches each direction
and try again to RE -CONFIRM what you had found was, in fact, a stud.
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