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How Many Grab Bars Should Be in a Shower?

Do you have seniors or people with reduced mobility living with you? You might consider adding some grab bars to your shower. They are designed to help people get in and out of the shower easier and safer. Because they provide a supportive element, having these bars in your shower can reduce the risk of falls and other accidents.

Ultimately, the number of bars you require for your shower will depend on its overall size and the user’s needs. Furthermore, if you have a bathtub-shower combo, you’ll need a different number of grab bars than if you have a spacious walk-in shower.

In today’s guide, we’ll look at specifications for grab bars in showers, from the different types of bars to the ADA recommendations for this home improvement.

handicapped disabled access bathroom

How to Determine the Number of Grab Bars You Need for a Bathtub or Shower

The correct number of bars for your shower or tub will depend on different factors, such as the reason you’ll be installing them and the size of your shower.

Before determining the number of grab bars you need, you’ll first have to consider who will use them. Seniors tend to require more grab bars to make the shower safer and more comfortable. Possibly, you’ll need to add other helpful shower accessories like a shower seat.

The other factor you need to consider is the overall size of your shower. The more space there is, the more grab bars you’ll need to make the shower safer and ADA compliant. We recommend using three grab bars in different positions and sizes to provide a more comfortable and secure shower experience. However, the minimum you should aim for is two grab bars, one of each type.

Remember that if your family member needs grab bars in the shower, they might also need them for other parts of the bathroom. Many seniors or people with disabilities will also need assistance with the toilet, so you should consider adding a vertical bar beside it. Adding a bar next to the toilet can help your family member stand up and sit down safely and without assistance.

The Types of Grab Bars for Bathrooms

You can choose between three different types of grab bars for your shower to make it safer and ADA compliant.

Each one of these bars has a different purpose and can help in a different situation:

  • Vertical grab bar: The vertical bar is helpful if you have a shower chair because it allows you to stand up and sit down easily and safely.
  • Horizontal grab bar: Horizontal bars are ideal for getting in and out of the shower because they stretch along the side wall.
  • Diagonal grab bar: A diagonal bar is the most versatile choice. You typically use it to improve safety while showering.

We recommend having one of each grab bar model or choosing two to install in your shower. The more options you provide, the better and safer the shower will be.

Grab bars also come in various lengths, ranging from 9″ to 42″. The grab bar size you need will depend on your shower’s total length and height. You should also consider the height of the person who will use it.

Shower grab safety bars in a handicap bath tub

Shower Grab Bar Placement: Where to Place the Grab Bars

The area where you’ll place your grab bars depends on the size and width of your shower. You need to think about functionality and safety. Typically, grab bars sit between 33 to 36 inches from the floor.

If possible, get the person who will be using the bars to help you determine where they will need them to be installed. Then, you can design the safest and most efficient system for your bathroom.

Grab Bar Specifications for ADA-Compliant Bathrooms

Grab bars are designed to prevent slips and falls. No law forces you to have them in your house.

However, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires them for commercial purposes. These are the ADA specifications for grab bars:

  • An ADA-compliant grab bar needs to be made of heavy-duty 18-gauge brushed stainless steel or more. It should also have round snaps on the covers.
  • Grab bars need to withstand 500 lbs or more. They should provide the maximum strength and durability possible.
  • The diameter of the bar should be between 1 ¼ inches and 1 ½ inches width to allow an easy grab. When choosing the diameter, you need to consider the person using them. You should use narrower diameter bars for kids or adults with smaller hands.
  • Finally, the space between the bar and wall should be at least 1 ½ inches.

Most manufacturers will add an ADA-compliant tag to their bars to let users know whether their products are safe or not. At American Bath Enterprises, we’ve got you covered with ADA-compliant shower systems. We have the right equipment and products to make your shower safer and more comfortable while remaining stylish!

architect look and working on blueprint with architect equipment

How to Install a Grab Bar

Although we recommend hiring a professional to do the installation, you can tackle the job yourself if you have the right tools and prior experience. If you know how to do this type of DIY project, you can easily do it in a matter of hours.

Before starting your installation, you should consider what type of enclosures you have. The process is different for fiberglass enclosures than it is for tile ones. Fiberglass and tile are difficult to drill through and need a more careful approach.

You might also need a special toggle bolt if you add the grab bars to a hollow wall. These bolts allow you to screw in the bars and keep them tight for continuous use.

This is how your shower grab bars should be installed:

  1. The first thing you need to do is mark the location where you’ll place the bars on your shower. This step will make the installation process easier and faster.
  2. Remember that you should always install grab bars with wall studs. The studs provide better security while protecting your shower walls.
  3. Drill the necessary holes to install the grab bars on the previously marked points.
  4. Put the bars where they’ll be installed and screw them into the holes.
  5. Ensure that you’ve done this step properly and that the bars won’t move if you use them. Use all your strength and weight to test the bars before finishing the job.
  6. Once you finish the process, you can begin cleaning the waste.

Find the Right Grab Bar for Your Shower with American Bath Enterprises

At American Bath Enterprises, we have everything you need to make your shower ADA compliant and safe. It doesn’t matter if you want to remodel or update your shower; our products are suitable for both residential and commercial bathrooms!

Our team of experts is ready to help you with every step of the process. Contact us today at (888) 228-4925 or visit our website for more information about our services and products!