I need to attach a grab bar for a bathroom wall that is tiled from
floor to ceiling. It is not inside a shower.
It is an exterior concrete block wall, then about 1/2" or less space
(with insulation or furring strips) then the 5/8" drywall, then the
I would like to find the furring strip and use that, but using a stud
finder over tiles are not reliable, and where I think I have them, it's
not in the right place anyways, plus furring strip may not be strong
So I need to go to the concrete block. Can use Tapcon. However my
previous experience with Tapcon is not good. I have a box that comes
with the masonry bit. I will use it then drill, and when I am done I
will screw in the screws and normally I will get to the end and it will
still be spinning easily. I have a hard time getting a tight turn at
When I used it last to hang drapery rod fittings I had a real hard
time. Someone told me may be I ended up hitting "weak" spots of the
concrete or the joints. But I found more weak spots than I found good
spots. I am using the right tool (hammer drill) with right screws and
bit. For the windows in the bed rooms if I messed up I can easily
patch up the hole and repaint later. For a tiled wall if I make a
mistake it is not so forgiving. Plus I wonder if the Tapcon screw
having a section of empty space and drywall and tile, it will need a
lot of depth inside the concrete to bite into it enough, or else I
might mess up the tiles.
I was thinking toggle bolts between the tile and sheetrock, but for
grab bar this will not be strong enough? Plus I don't think there is
enough room between sheet rock and concrete block to fit a toggle
without drilling into it anyways.
Drill the hole deep, backfill with epoxy (the kind used to put bolts in
foundations) insert a long screw and wait for it to harden.
If you want it removable, epoxy a threaded insert like the tapcon or similar
and wait for it to harden then assemble. You could also leave a little stub
of threaded rod sticking out and use a cap-nut to fasten the bar to the
wall. (is it a covered screw version)
Do you think the space behind the sheet rock and block wall (currently
stuffed with insulation) will affect the stability of the grab bar?
Also, if use the epoxy approach, is there a specific epoxy? How is it
applied? with a syringe? I need to get that behind the tile, behind the
sheet rock under the tile, through the insulation space, and deep into the
I'm not sure what the Tapcon folks envisioned with their product but to me,
even though it turns, it doesn't come out which satisfies your need.
You could always put just a touch of epoxy under the bolt head, tighten it
down and let it set. That way it can't come unscrewed by itself.
The other idea of using epoxy in the hole itself is probably the best idea
for a very solid, long term solution.
Grab bars need to be very securely attached. I think you are asking
for trouble if you try to attach it through the tile, through possibly
air space behind, and then to the block wall. You won't be able to
really tighten the bars down solidly because the wall will deflect
into the air space, either right away or gradually over time.
If it were me, I would remove one tile at each end where you want the
bar to attach, cut out most of the drywall, leaving perhaps 1/2 inch
around the edge, and then fasten solid wood (pressure treated would be
best) blocking to the wall with flat head tapcons. Size the blocking
so the front face is flush with the front surface of the drywall.
Reinstall the tile, fastening it to the lip of drywall and the front
of the blocking, and then fasten the grab bar through the tile to the
blocking, or through the blocking to the wall.
A lot more work, I admit, but it will last.
I have a feeling you are right, but I want to avoid the work. I think I
will try to epoxy solution first, and see if the grab bar when done will
hold my weight, and if it does not, I will rip it out and do it your way. I
hate to crack out the tiles...wish there is something I can inject behind
the sheet rock after I drilled the holes that will harden and serve the same
purpose as the wood blocking you suggested.
If not in hammer drill mode, that bit does not advance! I tried. I also
think the hammer drill was doing too much damage, but the way it is, no
hammer drill no movement, with hammer drill it chews through like knife
through butter and probably weakened the hole.
I assume the grab bar has some sortof flanged attache point on each
Your CMU exterior wall is not grouted so it has hollow sections,
Any kind of mechanical anchor is sub-optimal for CMU (esp non-grouted)
Hilt makes a product esp for hollow CMU, it has a screen device that
does intot he drilled & and acts as a substrate for the epoxy to nest
You can take a look at
In a pinch I have "fudged" the concept with screening material.
SIKA makes an awesome extremely fast setting (~5 miin ge time) epoxy
that can be dispensed from a standard caulking gun. The stuff is
avavialbe at HD (at least in Tustin, CA)
I suggest doing the screen dance with the SIKA Sikadur AnchorFix
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