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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
Keep the whole world singing . . . .
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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