Installing grab bars in an acrylic shower

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I've got to install some grab bars in the shower for mom. I've seen the kind that mount with suction cups but we need something sturdier.
Can anyone who has installed some give me pointers? I am thinking what I will need would be a:
level drill caulk stud finder measuring tape
and that I should look for the kind with long screws that will bite into the (hopefully) wooden studs that should be mounted on 16" centers. I'd appreciate any thoughts or input and/or sources for the grab bars. Not sure if the local Home Depot or Lowe's handles such things. I bought clamp on tub bars there, but don't recall seeing screw-in bars.
TIA
-- Bobby G.
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Look for a medical supply store, they will sell them. Online, too, of course. Good luck, sorry I can't help you with the installation.
nancy
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wrote

Good idea. I found a few on Ebay (almost all were suction cup types) if I can't scrounge one up locally. It's the installation part that's really got me worried. I saw them do a set on This Old House a long time ago, at the grab bar they used had an umbrella-like toggle bolt that expanded when pushed through the hole and then you screwed it in tight. Darned if I can find it on their website, now, though! (-: I am not even sure if this type of shower wall can withstand that sort of stress, even with that umbrella thing.
I've had enough suction cup experience to know I don't want mom's bones depending on them maintaining a vacuum. I keep finding my toothbrush holder lying in the sink in the mornings after it's suction cup unsucked.
Thanks for the suggestion, Nancy.
-- Bobby G.
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wrote:

Nancy: If you can't find and or do not use that 'umbrella type expanding bolt', suggest you use good quality stainless steel screws etc. Other kinds may rust or corrode.
There is sort of clear plastic bar in our tub/shower enclosure. but it's too low to be much help. In our case did not wish to try and fasten anything to the less than one quarter inch thick enclosure tub walls*.
However I was able to mount a substantial stainless vertical handle with four long ss screws just to the side of the tube enclosure. The ss screws go through the plasterboard and into the two by four structure around the tub opening. I can use the right hand while stepping into the tub and can reach it with left hand stepping out. Helps my my 73+ year old knees etc. Very solid and it looks like short but vertical towel bar. In fact it could be used as such.
* If you do have to attach something to the wall of the tub/shower and do not know where there is any wood behind to attach to, is there any way to reach in and place say a piece of scrap plywood against the back surface of the acrylic in order to spread the loading? How far away from say a wood studded wall is the back wall surface of the tub. You could use some pretty long (four, six inch etc.) ss screws; right?
Can completely understand the dilemma; cos once having drilled hole through the tub wall if it's in the wrong place .........!
Anything substantial above (unlikely?) that could support a stainless steel chain-handle-grip? Just a thought anyway.
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I wouldn't go to ebay for this, I would google. I see many sources there from medical supply places.

Sounds to me like a situation where there weren't studs in the right place. I'm no expert, but I would look for a stud to attach it.

Heh, yeah, you don't want to find your mother lying in the sink.
Google on shower grab bars if you can't find a place near you. One of those places that sells all kinds of walkers and whatnot. I hope they come with good installation directions. This is important.
nancy
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Nancy, try wetting the cups first. Works on hanging stained glass doodas on my windows. I usually spit on them.
--



BetsyB



"Robert Green" <ROBERT snipped-for-privacy@YAH00.COM> wrote in message
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Thanks for the suggestion, betsy, but it's Robert's toothbrushes giving him a hard time.
nancy
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wrote

(-: Usenet's always been a little like that kid's game where messages get whispered up or down a line of people. "The bear went over the mountain" becomes "bend over mouse man" or something similar.
I'm the one with the grab bar problem and the unstuck suction cups. And yes, I do wet them, I scrub the tile with alcohol, ammonia, bleach and more but it doesn't make any difference. I suspect the cups themselves are slightly porous (they are clear, not black rubber) and over time air gets in and it pops. Not so bad for toothbrushes but disaster for grab bars!
-- Bobby G.
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On Tue, 12 Jun 2007 09:30:22 -0400, "Robert Green"

Umbrella=like are not toggles. They might be mollies, I forget, but not toggles, which go up and down like toggle switches. But you don't want to use them. Especially in the case of a shower or bath tub where water might get in and ruin the sheetrock which is all that mollies and toggles hold to. Find a stud.
Shame on This Old House. I'll bet Bob Villa's mother wasn't going to live there.

If we're only talking about the acrylic shower wall, it can't take any stress. It's plastic.

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wrote:

I
got
the
I know. The umbrellas work by the same principle though: a nut with wings which close for passage through a small hole and spring open after passing through the hole to keep the bolt from slipping back through. In this case, think of the toggle as being rotated 360 degrees so that the force against the plastic shower wall is distributed over a much larger number of square inches than the standard toggle bolt.

mollies
These looked to be designed to distribute the force over a large area. Anything like this needs to be appropriately caulked to prevent water ingress, I agree. Things could get pretty grim if I drill holes where I thought there were studs but there weren't or if I don't get a solid bite on the studs I do find.
I still might be tempted to go with the umbrella bolt (if there is such a term!) because that depends on NOT finding a stud, and that's always easier than finding one just because of the probabilities - you're looking for 2" of matter against 14" of empty space. I believe that makes it one in seven chances to hit a stud randomly.

It was the new guys. IIRC, it was this episode:
http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/video/bathplumbing/article/0,26206,1192720,0 0.html
http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/video/print/0,26239,1192720,00.html

can
type
Pretty sure the above technique used the board behind the shower wall for anchoring.
-- Bobby G.
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Do it right. Please, try to get at least one end is properly anchored in wood.
Here are some other types of bars to consider http://www.barrierfree.org/categories.php?cat=showerbars http://www.diadot.com/catalog/index.php/cPath/25_41_43?DDSid 0a4c4ce5f2901a3a0472bcac6daa00
If you can't find a stud, don't use some cheap Home Depot anchor, use something made for the purpose http://www.ocelco.com/products/bathroom-and-shower_c20/toiletgrabbars-safetyrails-portablegrabbars_c83/mounting-hardware-for-grab-bars_c697/wingit_c697_p3277.html
http://www.ocelco.com/products/bathroom-and-shower_c20/toiletgrabbars-safetyrails-portablegrabbars_c83/mounting-hardware-for-grab-bars_c697/moen-drywall_c697_p9112.html
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On Tue, 12 Jun 2007 21:58:13 -0400, "Robert Green"

Stop relying on chance and don't be tempted. Do it right.
We've all warned you, but you can't give up on your original plan because you thought of it and so you're in love with it. It's all about you, not your mother.
Save your umbrella bolts for hanging a painting or a shelf some day. (Although even a shelf I would put into the studs.)
Not only don't bars have to be horizontal or level, most of the ones I've seen aren't.
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Robert Green wrote:

They have them at Home Depot, in several styles and lengths.
I'm remodeling my bathroom, and at the back of the tub where the towel rack goes I put a medium-duty grab bar that *looks* like a towel rack. And on the side wall where the soap dish normally goes, instead I put a heavy-duty grab bar (that looks like a grab bar) for Wife and DD to line up all their bottles of shampoo on.
Both had long wood screws to fasten to the framing. You're supposed to make sure 2 of the 3 screws at each end go into a stud. HTH :-)
Bob
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I
the
sure
on
We're probably going to end up having a contractor do it that's already done several others in my mother's condo. But it's nice to know what to look for. Thanks!
-- Bobby G.

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I've seen them at Lowe's, so I know they carry them. They had a whole line of "accessibility" items for the bathroom in one aisle.

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Thanks. Sometime's I can never find what I am looking for at the BigBox stores until I go again, looking for something else!
-- Bobby G.
wrote:

I
the
sure
on
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On Tue, 12 Jun 2007 08:41:55 -0400, "Robert Green"
Locate the wall studs by checking above the enclosure. Use a level or plumb bob to get yourself close for the handle..and find the studs. I would follow the stainless steel screw comment.
BTW, you may have a specific local code too abide by.
-- Oren
"The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good ideas!"
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wrote:

Good idea. I probably would have (foolishly) tried to find the studs right at grab bar level. Your way makes more sense.

the
Yes. I intend to look for SS screws and some good silicone caulk to make sure water doesn't get in through the bolt holes.

Very good point. Another reason to have a local contractor perform the work.
-- Bobby G.
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On Tue, 12 Jun 2007 22:10:35 -0400, "Robert Green"

I wouoldn't have called it foolish. I think you'll get the same reading, and in your shoes even if checked above, I'd check at grab bar level also just to see if the plastic shower wall interferes or not. To know for future situations.

Admittedly the one bar I have direct experience with was outside the tub and probably never got wet, but I think at least with the more expensive bars the included screws are plated well enough. I used the included screws and I think their plating matched the bar. I know they were long, and I drilled my hole one size too small, and it was a bear when I had to remove them when my mother moved.
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wrote:

Not foolish; but not a thought out DIY job, so he asked....
Sure, studs needs to be checked at handle level. The plumb bob I mentioned is to approximate the stud location behind the enclosure. Sure to get him close.
For the OP.. do not tighten screws so far as to pull the wall of the enclosure and create spider cracks out and away from the screws.
The idea of material from the backside of the wall is also good advice! Solid... -- Oren
"The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good ideas!"
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