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What Are the ADA Grab Bar Requirements?

Shower grab safety bars in a handicap bath tub

If you have seniors or people with disabilities living at home, you might be looking to make your house safer. Unfortunately, one of the most dangerous places in the house is usually the bathroom.

Showers and baths, especially, can be tough to use. So, to make everything easier for your loved ones, you can install grab bars on your shower walls.

What Are Grab Bars and Why Are They Necessary?

Grab bars are stainless steel bars you can install on shower or bath walls to help people get in and out safely. They can also improve safety in other ways, such as reducing the risk of falls during showers by building an ada compliant shower system. Multiple grab bars in a single shower or bath are ideal because they offer even greater safety.

These bars aren’t only for showers or baths. They are also necessary for accessible toilets, helping users stand up or sit down without putting too much strain on their knees.

Benefits of Grab Bars

Grab bars offer a wide range of benefits for households with seniors and people with reduced mobility. For instance, they can help users feel more independent with increased confidence and safety.

These are the main benefits of installing grab bars in your bathroom:

  • Grab bars can increase stability inside the shower and bath.
  • They can help seniors and disabled people feel more comfortable and confident.
  • Grab bars can help prevent accidents like slips and falls.
  • Using grab bars can make seniors feel more independent and improve their self-esteem.
  • Depending on the grab bars you install, you can increase your home’s resale value.

Overall, installing grab bars in your shower or bath can quickly make your house safer for seniors and people with reduced mobility. The bars can also help caregivers do their jobs more safely. Additionally, they can be helpful for everyone in the house, reducing the risk of accidents during showers.

bathroom handle for the disabled and elderly.

Sizing Your Grab Bars

Most grab bars are made of stainless steel to avoid rust and corrosion. Furthermore, these bars come in different heights, sizes, and diameters. The size you need for your bathroom depends on the user.

As a rule, the bar has to be comfortable to use while providing the necessary safety features. Here’s what you should consider when choosing the right grab bar size for your bathroom needs:

  • The most common length for a grab bar is 18 inches. However, you can also find a 24 inches (610 mm) grab bar. We recommend either size for vertical installation in tubs and showers.
  • Most grab bars have a diameter of 1 ½ inches. This is ideal for seniors because it allows for better grip.
  • For horizontal placement, consider installing a bar 32 inches long or longer. Horizontal grab bars are the most important for non-transfer tubs and showers.

ADA Grab Bar Requirements

According to government statistics, around 61 million Americans live with a disability. That’s why the government passed the Americans with Disabilities Act: to help disabled people enjoy life without worrying about their safety at home or in public.

This act discusses home safety, including building codes. The ADA covers the correct use of grab bars, from installation to proper measurements. The act also outlines the number of grab bars a bathroom needs to be safe for seniors and people with disabilities.

Here’s what you need to consider when installing ADA standards for grab bars in your showers and bathtubs:

  • Transfer and roll-in showers must have at least two horizontal bars installed on the walls. However, this requirement only applies to transfer showers with no space for wheelchairs or shower seats.
  • The horizontal and vertical grab bars need a minimum length of 46 inches. You should also install these bars 33 to 36 inches above the finish floor.
  • The headwall in a transfer-type shower is required to have an additional vertical grab bar. This type of shower grab bar should be installed 3 to 6 inches above the horizontal ones.

The ADA code requirements for showers and toilet grab bars are similar, except for the vertical grab bar. Toilets do not require a vertical grab bar—only horizontal ones to help users stand up or sit down.

ADA Grab Bar Installation Tips

When installing grab bars, you need to consider where to place them. Ideally, they should be installed in the most convenient area of your shower or bathtub.

However, you’ll need first to install wall studs to properly install grab bars on your shower walls. Once you have the studs, the rest of the process should be pretty straightforward.

Here are our shower and bathtub grab bar installation tips:

  • The vertical grab bar should be placed near the shower door jamb. It has to be easy to access because seniors will use it to get in and out of the shower safely.
  • Horizontal grab bars should be installed along the side walls. Depending on your shower or bathtub size, you can have multiple horizontal bars.
  • You can also install a vertical grab bar near the faucet handles. This additional grab bar can provide extra safety.

Interior of bathroom for the disabled or elderly people.

The grab bar placement for bathtub/shower combinations is slightly different. For instance, you should install the vertical entrance bars opposite the faucet wall.

Also, the horizontal bars should be installed alongside the side walls and be as long as possible. This horizontal bar should be 30 inches above the tub floor.

You can check out our video guides and instructions for more information about ADA-compliant installation tips!

Make Your Bathroom ADA-Compliant with American Bath Enterprises

Are you looking for the best ADA-compliant shower systems and grab bars? Look no further than American Bath Enterprises. We are committed to providing you with the best accessible baths and ADA-compliant shower systems.

To learn more about our high-quality shower enclosures, bathtub combinations, and bath surrounds, contact us today at (888) 228-4925!