Can you get to the other side of the wall? If so, you could open it up
enough to get some blocking between the shower enclosure and the studs. You
should fasten your grab bar TO the studs. Yes, you'd have to repair the
wall you opened, c'est la vie.
You could do the same thing from the shower side but the plastic enclosure
would be more difficult to patch neatly.
Still another alternative would be attaching something - could be wood,
could be an aluminum plate, etc. - to the shower enclosure after you
attach - through bolts - the grab bar to it. The idea is to spread the load
from grabbing the grab bar over a larger area of the enclosure. If I were
to do this I would want the attachment plate to be at least 12" longer than
the grab bar and 12-18" wide. How to attach it would depend on the wall
thickness of the enclosure; it is probably too thin for self tapping screws
but rivets might work. Regardless, I would also epoxy the attachment plate
to the enclosure.
A simple solution is to use mounting screws that are 3/8" longer than what
would be needed if the shower wall was tight against the studs. Put the mo
unting brackets onto shower wall, and just don't tighten the screws the la
st 3/8 inches. That way the same amount of screw is into the studs and ho
lding the grab bar mounting material. If the whole area is then caulked or
silicone-rubbered, it will still be waterproof and the grab bar should be
just as strong as if the screws were fully tightened into the studs. If I
were me, I would use the largest diameter screws I could get, assuming that
the size would not be so large as to shatter the stud into which it is bei
ng screwed. The hardest part of this is to find the center of the studs.
On Sunday, July 31, 2016 at 10:14:20 PM UTC-4, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
mounting brackets onto shower wall, and just don't tighten the screws the
last 3/8 inches. That way the same amount of screw is into the studs and
holding the grab bar mounting material. If the whole area is then caulked
or silicone-rubbered, it will still be waterproof and the grab bar should b
e just as strong as if the screws were fully tightened into the studs. If
I were me, I would use the largest diameter screws I could get, assuming th
at the size would not be so large as to shatter the stud into which it is b
eing screwed. The hardest part of this is to find the center of the studs.
Are you suggesting that the grab bar just basically float on the ends of th
screws with nothing more than caulk securing it to a wall that has no
solid support behind it?
If the shower wall currently moves inward 3/8" when he pushes on it, don't
you think that the grab bar is going to push the shower wall in when any
inward force is applied? The screw heads stay stationary, the bracket moves
away from them.
Oh, there will never be any inward force, you say? How about the fact that
wall around the mounting points will flex when force is applied in *any*
direction since there will be nothing solid behind the brackets?
On Sun, 31 Jul 2016 19:14:16 -0700 (PDT), email@example.com wrote:
will accurately locate the edges of the stud. When the edges of the
stud are properly located, finding the center is childs play. Then to
the basics - a screw has virtually no strength in "shear" Not having
the handle screwed tight to the back is just begging for the screw to
break Also, leaving the handle "loose" and gluing it to the plastic
shower liner/tub liner is just begging for the plastic to break around
the handle. Just screw it in tight, pulling the plastic back "where it
belongs". Finally - using a bigger screw, requiring the holes in the
handle bracket to be drilled out MASY weaken the bracket - which added
to the stress from not being properly mounted, is liable to crack the
bracket in a short time.
I hope your personal liability insurance is adequate and up to date -
and if you are a "proffessional" or anyone who ever gives advice for a
fee, I hope your "errors and omissions" insurance is also paid up.
Please note that I talked/wrote about using 3/8 inch longer screws going in
to the studs that were 3/8 inches spaced away from the back wall as describ
ed by the OP. The caulk/silicone rubber was to prevent water getting into t
he space between the shower wall and the studs so that there would be no wa
ter damage. If reasonable sized screws, such as those provided by the grab
bar manufacturer, but 3/8 inch longer are used they will not break off if
someone grabs the grab bar.
On Monday, August 1, 2016 at 11:09:07 PM UTC-4, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
ibed by the OP. The caulk/silicone rubber was to prevent water getting into
the space between the shower wall and the studs so that there would be no
water damage. If reasonable sized screws, such as those provided by the gr
ab bar manufacturer, but 3/8 inch longer are used they will not break off i
f someone grabs the grab bar.
I still don't see how the gasb bar is firmly attracted to anything. For the
moment, let's make
believe the (flexible) shower wall isn't there, just open studs. Now insert
the screws through
the mounting bracket and screw them in until 3/8" is left exposed. Isn't th
e grab bar loose since
it is not pulled flush to the studs? Can't it move in 3/8” and flop
side to side when used?
Now, imagine that the flexible shower wall is there. As far as I see it, no
t much has changed.
The flexible wall is not going to provide any support since there is gap be
tween it and the
studs. The OP has already said that he can push the wall back to the studs.
grab bar is still loose.
Please explain what I am missing (if anything).
I am assuming that the mounting brackets for the grab bar have holes thru w
hich the screws are used to fasten it loosely to the wall with the 2/8 inch
spacing. If a person is falling down and grab for the bar, the screws sho
uld be strong enough to keep the grab bar at the initial elevation. If the
bar moves or goes down a half inch or so due to the 3/8 inch air spacing it
will still prevent a fall.
On Tuesday, August 2, 2016 at 12:23:53 PM UTC-4, email@example.com wrote:
Of course the brackets have holes for the screws. However, they are there to
attach the grab bar *firmly* to the wall, not loosely.
What about every day use? Grab bars are not only installed to catch a person
that is falling, they are also used to steady a person to limit the
possibility of a fall. Every time it moves, it is going to flex the wall,
the primary thing the OP is concerned about, and rightly so.
I won't even get into the visual clues and feedback loops that the brain uses
to control our bodies. I'll just say that it isn't good if the object the
brain wants to use in an emergency situation *moves* upon contact. Have you
ever lifted up or pushed something that you thought was really heavy but
was actually very light? The brain sure gets fooled when that happens. Imagine what could happen if a person with slow reaction time grabs a support object
that moves when they grab it. It might not be pretty.
Let me ask you 2 questions:
1 - If you were climbing into a hotel shower, put your hand on the grab
bar for support and discovered that the bar was loose, would you just
accept it as a proper installation or would you say to yourself "They
really ought to fix that"? Me, I'd be on the phone to the front desk ASAP.
2 - If your Mom/Dad or other elderly relative/friend asked you to install a
grab bar, would you be comfortable leaving the screws 3/8" out from the
studs so that the bar moved around every time they used used it? Me, no way
The longer screws are on option I proposed. If it was my house, I would probably figure out something better. But, if I knew that the flexing would occur, I would not be upset when it happened if I took hold of it.
What do yo suggest based on the OP's information?
On Tuesday, August 2, 2016 at 10:52:45 PM UTC-4, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
I see that you did not answer either of my questions. I'll reduce it to one:
Would you install a grab bar in the manner you suggested for an elderly/unsteady loved one?
First off, without seeing the shower wall, I do not know if flexing the wall back to the
studs is even an issue. That would be the first thing I would look at. It might not be a
problem at all.
The next best solution offered was the insertion of a backer board between the studs and
the shower wall. I don't know if that is possible, but if this were my house or if I was doing this
for a loved one, I would not hesitate to consider opening a wall and see what other solid
means of attachment I could come up with. Maybe opening a wall is not possible...only the
OP can tell us that.
Bottom line is that I would never install a safety device that flopped while around in use.
Wow. This seems to have ignited some controversy. Thanks for all your
suggestions. I think I am going to combine solutions.
1) Use a suction type temporarily.
2) I was considering remodeling the bathroom anyway with this:
That will definitely solve the problem.
PS: I am 72. No real balance problems but I do have a really bad ankle
so slip recovery is pretty iffy.
Protect your civil rights!
Let the politicians know how you feel.
I went out and bought one of the suction devices from HD for my shower.
My wife says hers is real solid for the tub where she uses it.
I tried it yesterday. I have no real problem but at 76 don't have the
agility of when I was younger. I might hold it to soap a foot and it
does appear very solid. Also has the advantage of testing it out where
you might want to place it. I had it on what I thought was the best
wall but it ended up feeling better on another.
On Thursday, August 4, 2016 at 8:08:36 AM UTC-4, Frank wrote:
It should be clear from my earlier discussion with Mr. Pawlowski that, in
general, I am not a fan of suction cup grab bars, but to each his own.
However, the OP has the added issue of a shower wall that apparently
flexes when pressure is applied. Since suction cups typically prefer
a flat, solid surface to ensure a good seal, I'd be really concerned
that the flexing of the wall will create a gap behind the suction cup
at the most inopportune time.
I would agree with you that his shower could be a problem. I was in a
hotel a couple of weeks ago in a flexible tub shower and it felt
unstable. Mine is ceramic and had to be replaced many years ago as
builder had used regular drywall instead of water proof dry wall or
cement board. The suction cups appear so solid that I might be afraid
of pulling a tile off a wall before suction failed.
My next door neighbor with aged parents had bought the house that had
just had bath redone, ripped it out and put in a new one with all the
senior bells and whistles. Too bad all showers aren't built with this
in mind because all of us become seniors.
On Thursday, August 4, 2016 at 9:24:03 AM UTC-4, Frank wrote:
Soon after moving into my first house 30+ years ago, I was doing some
landscaping in my backyard and stepped back to admire my handy work. My
joy was short lived as my eyes drifted to the basement window and I saw
water dripping down *inside* the window, along the wall directly below
the 2nd floor bathroom.
SWMBO was taking a shower so I opened the access panel in the hallway
and saw water coming through the side wall of the shower. These were 3/4"
thick walls, with a 3/8" gypsum board and 3/8" of plaster, then the tile.
The grout had gone bad in the shower and the water was seeping through to
the wall itself. When SWMBO was done with her shower I pushed on the tile
and the wall felt like mush. We showered with a plastic drop cloth covering
the wall until I was able to rip it out and do it right.
Yet another reason I don't like suction cups. It doesn't matter what
fails, the suction cup or the tile. From a safety perspective the result
is the same. From a repair perspective, it's never good to rip a tile off
of a shower wall. ;-)
I don't disagree with you, but...
Obviously there's the added expense involved for homeowners that don't
know if they will grow old in the house. In addition, while some senior
issues are consistent, different folks have different needs. You said it
"I had it on what I thought was the best wall but it ended up feeling
better on another."
One size does not fit all.
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