I'm getting ready to install a safety grab bar on the wall of my shower,
which is lined with ceramic tile.
The house dates to the early 1960's. What am I likely to be drilling through
between the tile and the wall studs?
What thickness is it likely to be?
You should be hitting the studs or you will be installing a towel rack,
not a safety grab bar. Some people will tell you that toggle bolts or
some such will be adequate, but you'll be compromising safety that way.
The only time I would use toggle bolts would be on one of the L-shaped
grab bars that wrapped a corner or had a vertical and horizontal leg
and you couldn't hit a stud every time.
I'm not sure why manufacturers insist on making 18" grab bars when
studs are on 16" centers. Pretty silly.
Yes, I definitely intend to drill into a stud. But my original question was
I expect to encounter on the way to those studs, and how thick.
It's important in helping me locate the studs behind the tiled surface.
Does the ceramic tile top out below the ceiling? I would take a
small drill bit and find the studs with a series of holes. The
holes can be concealed with a bead of caulk.
No one knows what you have. It can be regular gyp, green MR gyp,
cement board, or a full plaster bed. The gyp type products will
probably be 1/2" thick. The full portland bed will be thicker and
may be so stout you won't necessarily need to find the stud.
Depending on the exact type grab bar you have, you may have to
angle the screws to get a good purchase in the stud. Make sure
you add a heavy dose of good caulk under the grab bar to keep
moisture out of the wall. You can hang the bar straight up and
down in the same stud. I have been installing longer ones
diagonally across 2 studs, sometimes one high (shower) and one low
(bath). The diagonal install seems to work well for most clients.
(top posted for your convenience)
Keep the whole world singing . . . .
DanG (remove the sevens)
Sorry. I misread your post. You wrote exactly what you meant and that
can be confusing. ;)
If your house is relatively new, say within the last thirty or forty
years, the odds are great that there's a half inch substrate with the
tile on top of that. Figure 3/4" - 7/8" for that scenario. If your
home is older than that, it might be a bit thicker. Figure 1" - 1.5".
How do you intend to locate the studs?
Could be anything. Last weekend I helped a friend renovate his 1950's
bathroom. Behind the ceramic tiles, there were one inch thick cement "tiles"
cemented on a metallic grid that was stapled to the studs. Since they were
roundish and somewhat irregular, there were lots of holes, i.e. the ceramic
tiles had backing on about 80% of their area.
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