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Unread 01-06-2005, 03:19 PM   #1
Roger3125
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Tub grab bars

Well you guys talked me out of demo'ing the fireplace and I thank you. Now onto second project.

I have 40-year old ceramic tile shower. Its in fine condition and I'd like to attach a grab bar on one of the walls. Can someone tell me the easiest proceedure to do this. I understand there is a special type of drill bite for ceramic tile and my concern is by drilling into the tiles would I be possibly creating a spot where water can seep into the iinterior of the wall?

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Unread 01-06-2005, 03:22 PM   #2
Rd Tile
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A carbide masonry bit should work fine, is ceramic and not porcelain, try to drill through the grout joints.

The biggest problem here is, when a grab bar is going to be installed, I make sure there is blocking behind it, to drill and anchor it to.
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Unread 01-06-2005, 04:26 PM   #3
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I saw, on Ask This Old House , I think, a system designed to install grab bars where no blocking was installed. Involved using a hole saw to drill through the tile and the wall. A special expanding anchor that distributes forces onto the tile substrate. The bar and escutcheon cover the whole thing when done.

Went to Google and found it:
http://www.wingits.com/
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Unread 01-06-2005, 10:21 PM   #4
Roger3125
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Tub grab bars

After reading your replies and looking further through past posts on the subject I beleive I'll be alright. There is about 2 ft of wallboard above the top of the tile in the shower. Thus I should be able to find at least one stud to screw one end into. This bar will be used primarily as a handle for balance in the shower and not to have to bear weight of a body so I think I'll be ok anchoring one end into a stud and the other into the tile with a plastic shield (anchor) or whatever they're called.

Is there something I'm over looking?
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Unread 01-06-2005, 10:55 PM   #5
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Just remember that when someone falls, they grab for whatever's handy. If you can hit studs on both ends, great. Otherwise, I'd be more cautious.
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Unread 01-07-2005, 08:56 AM   #6
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I was in a hotel that had recently been remodeled. In the process, they put safety bars in the tub area. One end was (probably) attached to a stud, but the other end definately wasn't. Depending on the length, there is a significant lever effect. ANyway, the bar nearly came off in my hand, and I didn't pull on it very hard...blocking or the proper fastner really matters. I was intrigued by the wingit device - meets the req (300# I think), quick and easy to install. They've got a fair selection of styles, and it isn't particularly expensive. Looks like a good retrofit solution.
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Unread 01-07-2005, 09:41 AM   #7
muskymike
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Any grab bars I put in were always screwed into solid backing. When I put the bar in, I will show the customer that I can hang on it.
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Unread 01-07-2005, 10:03 AM   #8
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As a pro, you can't be too careful. Just watch a couple of injury lawyer on TV.
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Unread 01-07-2005, 10:24 AM   #9
ewstan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muskymike
Any grab bars I put in were always screwed into solid backing. When I put the bar in, I will show the customer that I can hang on it.
What size wood do you recommend for backing

Wray
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Unread 01-07-2005, 01:13 PM   #10
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I think what they mean by backing is actually using stud material (turned vertical) in between the wall studs flush with the outside of the stud as backing. You can probably use 3/4" plywood, but the stud material will actually be easier to get in there and nail/screw in.

If you don't use backing (and I wouldn't recomend not using any) make darn sure you use the right anchors. Those plastic ones that expand into the substrate are great for things like mini shelves, towel racks, and toilet paper holders, but they won't hold a cabinet with a bunch of stuff in it. Use toggle bolts that will open up and distribute stress over 2-3" on the back side of the substrate instead. I used those to hang my medicine cabinet.
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Unread 04-20-2005, 04:58 PM   #11
jdkimes
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I wondered if anyone had actual experience with these Wing-Its for grab bar attachments.

They look pretty good although the price at 24.99/fastener is a bit steep.
I volunteered to do some Handyman services with the local Volunteers of America and grab bars are one of the top requests. The seniors have to pay for supplies, but hitting a stud every time behind tile is a little dodgy. Those WingIts will hold at least 800lbs with 5/8" drywall.
What's the alternative?
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Unread 04-21-2005, 11:22 AM   #12
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Bump this thread up before it falls off..

Wanted to bump this back up before it falls to the second page.
Any experience w/ the WingIts?
Pretty pricey but what's the alternative when installing a grab bar? Can be tough to find the studs behind tile?
Any thoughts?
Remember these are for seniors that will definitely be putting full weight on and also have limited $ for supplies. But rather have solid bar than saving a few $ I guess.
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Unread 04-21-2005, 11:31 AM   #13
larry528
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A senior citizen slipping in a tub, falling and breaking a hip can spend long days bedridden. If you dont hit a stud, put the anchor in. I see it as a no brainer; stud or anchor, not hope and pray.
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Unread 04-21-2005, 06:12 PM   #14
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I'm not a pro, not even a very experienced DIY tiler, but as someone with severe knee injuries, I DO have experience with grab bars. Even if the bar is to be used "only for balance" it should be solidly attached to studs or crossmembers (blocking). What will happen when the bather loses his/her balance and grabs the 'grab' bar? How often will the bar be grabbed, continuously putting pressure on the anchor points and loosening it over time? This is a serious safety issue, especially in what will be a wet and soapy/slippery environment. Please, use long, strong screws and attach the bars securely to a solid surface. It's a really scary feeling to begin to lose your balance and have nothing secure to latch on to to save yourself, and you don't even want to think about the injuries from falling in/out of a tub. Use caulking around the screw holes and the escutcheon plate to prevent water seepage.
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Unread 04-21-2005, 07:19 PM   #15
Taylor
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....and let's be careful how we fasten blocking for grab bars.... I end-nailed blocking and found out later that toe-nailing is much stronger....
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