How to Install Grab Bars in a Bathroom
LESLIE: Next up, we’re going to have Jane from South Carolina and this is an interesting question because a lot of us have older relatives moving in with us and you need to make sure that your homes are up to standards for somebody who might need a little bit of assistance.
Jane, is this what’s going on in your house?
JANE: Yes. I need to put up grab bars in the bathroom.
LESLIE: OK. Are your walls in the bathroom – are they – is it like a drywall, is it painted, or is it tile?
JANE: It is ceramic tile.
LESLIE: So the ceramic tile is in the shower, it’s on the wall by the toilet.
JANE: Right. Everywhere.
TOM: So it’s a tricky question because you’re not quite sure where the studs are here; you just want to make sure that you get them. So what you’re going to need to do is you’re going to need to use a stud finder and the good news is that stud finders today have – a particular one made by Zircon I know has what’s called a deep scan which basically means it can go through an inch or so of ceramic tile and find the stud in the wall behind that. So you’re going to have to use a little technology here because you want to make sure that you identify the stud if you can.
The other thing is if you have an old house, it might be that the ceramic tile is on a concrete back. And typically, that is thick enough that you can drill through the ceramic tile and install what’s called a lead shield and it’s an insert that goes into the hole that’s made of soft metal, made of lead. And then once that is in the hole, you can attach the grab bar right to that.
So there’s two ways to attach that, Jane. You can use a stud finder and find the stud behind the ceramic tile. Or if it turns out that the tile is thick enough and is on a concrete back, you can simply use lead shields and attach the grab bar that way. Either way, you should be in good shape and that grab bar should be plenty strong enough to handle normal, daily use.
JANE: OK, well that’s what I needed to know.
TOM: OK, Jane.
JANE: Thank you so much for calling me back.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.